Posts filed under ‘home life’

seasons of life

I really like looking at photos and exploring the sometimes hidden story they tell.  I’m full of curiosity about other people’s pictures and love how someone’s face can light up as they re-experience the sights and sounds of a single moment or point out some small detail barely noticeable in the background.  ”Goodness look at my hair, what was I thinking”.  ”He kissed me for the first time under that tree”. When I look at baby photos of my beloved boys it taps all my senses including reminders of milk coma smiles and that beautiful indescribable scent of a newborn baby’s head!

The photo above of a peacefully sleeping 5 day old baby Luca brings up all sorts of memories for me about the first week of his life, not least because I wasn’t actually there when it was taken. It’s titled ”Luca with Katherine while I was in hospital” on my laptop and was sent to me by a very special friend.

I didn’t realise the enormity of it all at the time.   I’d had a terrible night with my post-natal body cycling through fevers and chills and was almost relieved when my midwife said she needed to send me back to hospital to be checked out for a probable infection.  I felt wretched but found it a surprisingly easy decision to make. The phrase ”put your own oxygen mask on first’‘ sprang to mind and I understood for the first time what that really meant.  The best way to Mother my boys was to let someone else do it temporarily so I could focus on getting the medical attention I needed.  It was a decision made easier to bear knowing I had someone I totally trusted with the care of my newborn baby.  Luca would not go hungry as I was cup feeding him expressed milk due to his tongue tie.  Most importantly he would be held and loved and sung to by K while G took care of his brother.  Every Mum needs such a friend for the days when two hands and one heart just don’t seem enough!

So this is post is dedicated to all those beautiful people who step in just when we need them most.  The friends who are always pleased to hear from you even when it’s been a while and who never make you feel bad for asking for help so soon after your first ‘‘hello, how are you?”.  Katherine wrote a beautiful article about life on the other side of such friendships and as it was published a year ago today on BritMums.com it seemed a fitting time to share it here.  Katherine wrote:

“To you, with the children, who let me in.

Do you believe in seasons of life? I do.
So many articles these days are written by (and for) people in specific seasons of their lives. Some from Mums to other Mums, lamenting the sleepless nights and vomit in their hair. Others from single women to single women lamenting the loss of friends or irritation of endless baby photos on social media. Some also from women trying, but not able, to become a Mummy. Heartbreakingly honest letters of the raw grief and the painful jealousy that envelopes them when they see another scan photo of social media.

This, however, is a letter from me. Katherine. 32, single, no children. It’s not how I’d hoped I’d spend my 32nd year and certainly not what I’d planned, but I’m learning that it is what it is, my season of waiting.

My season of waiting
When your friends begin to have children it’s an exciting, amazing time. You wonder how you became old enough for this to be a reality, secretly glad that you aren’t the one staying up all night feeding yet still desperate for the first cuddle. When the next friend, the friend after that and the friend after her have a baby you begin to realise that this is your reality now. Your friends are settling down and starting their own families. This is a strange, limbo era for me. One which I trust will, as all seasons do, come to an end. But trusting in that hope, which for me comes from my faith, does not mean that it hurts less.

To the many I’ve drifted away from, it’s ok. I know that you exist in a strange new world now. One that terrifies and delights you in equal measure. Once someone carelessly uttered the phrase, ” you wouldn’t understand, you’re not a Mum.”
Do you know what? You’re right, I have no idea, but I pray every day that one day I will. They didn’t mean it with any malice intended but boy did it hurt. I’m fully aware that something untouchable now separates me from those who’ve started this wonderful and exhausting new journey and for some of those relationships the foundations weren’t there to sustain the difference. Thankfully, you are different.

Who is this ‘you’ I’m referring to? You are the women who let me in. You are the many women of my life who became Mothers before me and didn’t shut me out. You are the ones who shared your scan pictures with me, knowing that I would genuinely get joy from seeing your fuzzy little shadow of a tiny but perfect human. You are the ones who allowed me to rest my hand on your tummy knowing how excited I would be by a single kick. You are the ones who allowed me to visit the hospital in those first few precious days and spend time holding your pride and joy, breathing in the unbeatable smell of milky baby. In the early days I try not to interfere, afraid to intrude on this intense and wonderful time but you invite me in. You breastfeed on a rocking chair while I lie on the floor beside you chatting aimlessly. I listen, genuinely interested, to your stories of nappies and weaning and in turn you then listen patiently to the stories of my day. You don’t need to do that, you could make an excuse or yawn a lot and I would leave, but you don’t.

Mummy friends
We walk around parks and you manage to multitask, juggling a toddler, an ice cream, a stuffed rabbit and still holding a conversation with me. I know that your priorities have shifted but I don’t feel like a nuisance. As your children get older I delight in the school uniform pictures and the trips with you for school shoes. You don’t think twice about having me with you. You welcome me into your home wholeheartedly at the end of a long day. You are back at work, exhausted but you, your husband and your children behave as though I am meant to be there, part of the family. Birthdays, New Years Eves, holidays are no different, you share your family, your precious ones. You give me the honour of entrusting your child in my care, knowing that I will love every second of imagining, just for that evening, that I could do the immense job of motherhood.

“The problem with women having children much older…” My patient begins during a recent visit, I brace myself…..’‘Is that you can’t enjoy them as Grandparents, as much, when you’re older.”
I reflect for a moment, sad for my parents that they are still awaiting this joy and sad for myself that I’m the one responsible for withholding it. They will be wonderful Grandparents, I know they will.

Being on my own is the one part of my life that does not fulfil me. My friends, family, career, faith and home do and I’m proud of all that I’ve achieved but my ultimate goal is that of Motherhood, it’s yet to be reached and feels further and further away.

You have held me while I’ve cried for this missing part of myself and encouraged me in dating endeavours even when I’ve been less than enthusiastic. You have put up with me becoming periodically upset and lamenting the same point over and over without becoming short tempered with me. You have given up time that could have been spent with your husband or your children and spent it with me. For all of these reasons I love you, my Mummy friends.

Thank you for sharing the most precious people in your life with me.”

 

June 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm 2 comments

picture perfect (at Hanbury Hall NT)

Anyone with kids will know that asking someone to ”just take a quick picture of us” is rarely as simple as it sounds.  Sometimes the outtakes are exactly what sum up the hilarity of expecting kids to ‘smile‘ because we request it rather than because it captures their natural delight in something. E is largely a willing participant in front of the camera and loves nothing better than pulling silly faces.  On this occasion L was not so willing and just desperate to escape (that photo where it looks like I’m about to drop him… rest assured I didn’t!).  For me at least, the snaps G took on our lovely family day out at Hanbury Hall are picture perfect and sparkle with love and silliness which is how we roll.

We renewed our National Trust Membership at Hanbury Hall and are looking forward to exploring some local favourites as a family of 4 like Newark Park and Westbury Court Gardens as well as exploring a bit further a field (we’re feeling emboldened about travelling with a baby after the success of our epic Scotland trip at Easter!).

May 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm Leave a comment

bye bye baby

This week has been full of ”this time last year…” moments as we approach L’s first birthday (and mumbling, mostly to myself, ”I just can’t believe it, how can he be one soon?”.) We’re on the cusp of toddlerhood and while memories of life before L joined us are becoming hazy, it really does feel like his first year has passed in the blink of an eye while being filled with so many memorable moments. It’s been delightful seeing his beautiful, sunny personality emerge. If ever pictures could speak words it’s these of lovely Luca, our absolute ”bringer of light”.









April 23, 2017 at 9:38 pm 1 comment

for all who aren’t

IMG_20170326_102211I always wanted to be a Mother and at 23 when we got married I would have expected to be parenting children in double figures by now. Life didn’t follow the path I’d so neatly mapped out in my head and thirteen Mothers’ Days came and went before I finally got to experience my first celebration of Motherhood.  I am deeply thankful that I get to Mother my boys but I still hesitate to celebrate it proudly as I know the deep sadness many women (and indeed men on Father’s Day) feel for what lies just out of reach for them.  My first Mother’s Day would have been my second if my first pregnancy had not ended in miscarriage so on this day I think too of the Mother’s without children and the children growing up without their Mother.  This poem ”For all who aren’t” by Cheyl Lawrie speaks so beautifully of all these feelings that I have no need to write anything else!

For all who aren’t

There are few days so cruel
as mothers day

A prayer of love for those who aren’t mothers.
Today may you know all you are.

A prayer of love
for those who decided they wouldn’t
be a mother
because they dared not
for fear they would replicate a world
that tried to destroy them

A prayer of love for those who did
but not by choice
who had decision thrust upon them
and now live searching for a love
that will catch up to their truth

A prayer of love for those who couldn’t
who tried but it never worked

and for those who did,
but lost.

A prayer of love for those who never got the chance to even try
and who with all the other pain that lives inside
today bear the fear of being
someone else’s pity

A prayer of love today for those who hear the word
‘mother’
with resentment, disappointment, guilt
fear, rage, horror,
sadness, ambivalence
grief

a prayer for those who cannot love their mother
or their child
and who no longer have the strength to try

A prayer of love for those who have no day
that speaks their worth
that tells their story
that reminds them they are also gift to the world

A prayer of love for those who aren’t.
Today may you know all you are.

3-7-11 - picked allotment flowers 4B

(Pictures:  Euan’s Mother’s Day card made at school – complete with sucker in the centre of the rainbow heart ”to suck all the love in for you’.  Inside he wrote ”I love you Mummy bcus you maik me my yumbox”.  Flowers above from our allotment, grown in 2011 from seeds sown in memory of our first baby)

 

March 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm 3 comments

an earthside birthday

photogrid-earthside-birthday-9-2-17Whenever I ask G to take a specific picture for me he knows I’ve got some kooky idea in my head and that his snap probably won’t match the one I’ve already got in mind. These photos were an attempt to recreate the last one of me with bump and E, taken the day I went into hospital to have L.  We weren’t bouncing on a birth ball this time round so the background turned out differently and E wasn’t feeling the camera love in quite the same way after a busy day at school but the result is rather lovely nonetheless (thank you G).  And the occasion for this particular snapshot?  Luca’s earthside birthday which marks the same number of days spent earthside as I spent carrying him in my tummy.  (That’s 41 weeks and 4 days to those of you, who like me, can hardly believe 9.5 months have passed already).

I hadn’t heard of an earthside birthday before a Mum in Australia referred to it on her Instagram page.  It’s a shame I didn’t know about it for E’s earthside date but scanning my photo archive he would have looked like this at 41 weeks + 5 days…
14-11-12-e-playing-with-hangers-in-wardrobe-1-copy
There’s certainly a striking similarity between the brothers still but marked differences in their hair! How blessed we are to have these gorgeous little humans in our life.
collage-food-dudes-9-months

February 11, 2017 at 10:07 pm Leave a comment

never too late to start

3 years ago I wrote about a lovely New Year tradition of popping a daily gratitude note in a jar.  E was just turning 2 and I started with such enthusiasm.  Life became a bit busy and the habit slipped after just a few months.  The jar remained, gathering dust behind the herbal teas and last year I found it.  How I wish I’d kept it up.  It’s been so lovely remembering these delightful moments, especially finding the photos that retell their story!  My absolute favourite note was:
Telling E he lived in my tummy before he was born…”Yes, when I was a snack”.  
We might be two months into a new year but it’s never too late to start is it!
collage-2014-post-it-notes-copy

  • Crickley Hill walk with friends and their dog
  • feeding the cows with E at a friends farm
  • coming home from work to find G downstairs and E upstairs. G said ‘‘He’s just doing his own thing” (hiding and watching phone videos of himself)
  • playing peekaboo behind trees in the rain and E eating king prawns and chips afterwards
  • E’s very sincere ”thank you” when he hands you things… like mouthfuls of yoghurt while sat in his boat (a box)
  • E saying ”Squircle” when I asked what shape we should make the track
  • Daddy day – G teaching E to say ‘‘thanks” because his very sweet  ”fank you” sounds like something else!
  • tidal wave splashes in the bath – seeing the funny side when E says ”like rain”
  • E copying ”oh my word” with such expression and sleeping longer stretches at night
  • E and his friend R giggling at balloons being blown up and let off
  • Kindness of strangers – an elderly gentleman I see at the swimming pool giving me a very generous”token for E” for his birthday
  • E reading ”The places you’ll go” to himself in his cosy corner
  • Appreciation of being a two parent family and making a great team
  • Mummy day – going to the spa, blogging, time with G
  • E enjoying his books so much – heart melting
  • E jabbing blue berries with a fork while saying ”Boo”
  • Papa G and Nanny coming to visit – E sticking, playing and chuckling
  • Bimbling round the Quays, having a nice lunch in Portivo lounge and having a sleepy cuddle with E
  • ”Euan’s turn on the toilet”… E sat for a minute then put the toddler seat on his head
  • Video of E saying ”Oh no, it’s rubbish” in a Northern accent
  • Toddler world birthday party for E and having friends round for tea
  • Going to the Play farm with cousin Zac, excitement at cake and blowing out candles
  • Cuddles on the sofa and E falling asleep on me now he’s napping less
  • Nana’s birthday – E so happy and curious at out our meal out
  • ”Get in… Get out…Get in ….Get out” – E giggling directions to me, Nana and Grandad as we all hid in his ‘den’ (under his duvet)
  • First wee (and a bit of spray!) on the potty
  • E’s excitement at ”go see Dadda drilling”.  Thankful for such a handy husband.
  • Going to the bathroom to find E sat on the mat taking his own socks and trousers off
  • My birthday – cinema with G, tea at Zizzi’s, E to bed early after a no nap day, Epsom salts bath and in bed by 9.30pm!
  • Visit to the dentist confirmed E has all his teeth.  Really brave despite being spooked by the big chair. ‘‘Don’t want to” to dentist counting his teeth but enticed by stickers
  • Excited E helping with the washing up ”this one hot, this one cold”
  • E dancing with Milo,  cuddles, seeing his friend Noah
  • Being woken up by E singing ”Row, Row, Row your boat.  If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream.  Aaaargh”
  • Dancing at a friends birthday party, getting to the allotment even though it was clear out shed day
  • E popping balloons at a friends house
  • Going shopping and E saying ”I want to go up the eskimo” (meaning escalator)

February 10, 2017 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

first day at school

Full of excitement. Fearless.
collage-first-day-at-school-copy-4bHe never wants to take his uniform off!
In typical E fashion, taking it all in his stride.

And always excited to see his brother again.

September 23, 2016 at 11:38 am 3 comments

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