Monday, 30 July 2012

Letter to The Baby on his first birthday

Hello Baby,

Today is your first birthday.  Wow.  A whole year since you arrived safely into this world.    Before that day, when you were growing inside me, I made you a promise.  I promised you that no matter what, I would love you and look after you.  That I would do all that I could to put a smile on your face each and every day for as long as you will let me.

What I didn’t tell you was about my concern.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to love you as much as I love your older brother.  You see, I couldn’t imagine how I could feel about another human being the way that I feel about him. 

And then you arrived.  And you weren’t exactly how I imagined you would be. You had more hair than I had expected. Very dark hair that framed your crumpled little face, your perfect little button nose and those crinkly eyes that searched my face trying to make sense of what was going on.

I loved you instantly and my priority was to protect you and keep you safe. But nevertheless, I needed to get to know you.  Just as I had got to know your brother all those years before.  In those early days me and your Dad would spend what seemed like hours just looking at you and marvelling at how very clever we were to have made you.  We would wonder what you would be like as your personality began to reveal itself.  Your brother would cuddle you and ask when you would start to talk and play.

And now, here we are.   It feels as if we have all worked each other out a bit. From those first gummy smiles of yours to the cheeky chuckles and cuddles you now reward us with.  You have just learnt how to kiss and you make us laugh as you fix your open mouth upon our cheeks before smiling proudly at your achievement.  You can clap and wave.  You are almost walking having attempted your first tentative steps.  You have recently discovered the delights of homemade cake which make the mashed up foods of the past seem far less appealing.

My heart is so full of love for you that I feel as if I could burst.  I love you every bit as much as I love your brother - in the same, and yet different, way.  I look on in wonder as I see the two of you together, the bond between two brothers getting stronger as each day goes by.

When we are all together, your Dad, your brother, you and me I feel as if we are invincible.  As you move in to your second year of life my gorgeous boy, know that you are loved as much as any child could be loved.  You are surrounded by a family and friends who will look after you and guide you.  Who will have fun with you and who will always try to put a smile upon your face.

Happy birthday Baby.  Today you become The One Year Old.

Love from

Friday, 13 July 2012

Very sad news

Hello lovely people. 

It's been a while hasn't it?  Life is very busy right now.  Mainly in a good and fulfilling way.  Sometimes in a bit of a manic way.  Always is a mildly chaotic way.  And very occasionally in a 'I may be about to lose my grip on reality' kind of way.

Sometimes though.   Things happen in life that stop you in your tracks.  Just like that.  No matter how busy life is.  A thing like that happened to us on  Monday of this week.
The Eight Year Old came out of school with a letter that each of  the pupils had been given addressed to their parents.  As he handed the letter to his Dad he said "there's been some very sad news".
The 'very sad news' was, and is, shocking.  Too much to take in.  Almost incomprehensible if you're only eight.  A girl in The Eight Year Old's class has died.   It has happened suddenly after her being ill in hospital for a short time.

The Eight Year Old knew and liked the girl in question as a classmate. She had been his partner in their ICT lessons where they had worked together to produce some fantastic project work.  The Eight Year Old had invited the girl to his last birthday party.

I don't really think the Eight Year Old fully understands what has happened. He has spoken of her now and again over the last week. It's as if she suddenly pops into his mind as he remembers what his teacher had gently, sensitively and openly explained to his class this week.  But I really don't think he realises the gravity of the situation. 

I didn't know the girl or her family well, but I do remember chatting to the girl one day when parents had been invited into class to see what our children had been working on.  I remember being instantly aware of the beauty and elegance of this young girl with her life stretching out in front of her. The Eight Year Old had spoken often about there being only one person in his class who was taller than he was 'and it's a girl!".  And there she was, the tallest person in the class stood before me.  She was chatty and bright.  She smiled a lot.  I left my encounter with her thinking that I had met someone who would really make their mark on the world.  I could see her becoming someone with influence who would create an impact and leave a strong impression on those who met her.  Just as she had left a strong impression on me.

And now she is gone.  Just like that.

I feel stunned by what has happened.  As do the other parents from the Eight Year Old's class.  It's as if we are all reminded about how fragile life can be.  And how unexpectedly cruel life can be at times. I  don't think I've been alone this week when I've felt extra thankful for my healthy sons.  The frustrating moments of parenthood have felt less frustrating as I reflect on how very lucky we are. 

Our thoughts go out to the family of the girl who has died.  Her parents and two sisters.  We can only begin to imagine what kind of pain they are feeling right now.  And as we parents remember the girl and think of her family, we hold our own children a little closer.  The hugs go on for a little longer.  And we realise that every single moment counts because we never know how many of those moments we may have left to enjoy.

I  have suggested to The Eight Year Old that as well as feeling sad, we also need to feel grateful.  We have been lucky to have known such a warm and beautiful and intelligent girl.  She touched our lives.  The sadness however will remain, because no matter how you look at it, the fact is that the time the girl had was cut short.  She was stopped in her prime.  And that, is something that we will remember as we move on through our own lives.