I once read an article which said that parenting was just a constant series of letting things go. Very true. I also read a quote recently that said “To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you means you have done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own”. Also very true. But for me even though I know these things are true, it doesn’t stop me from having the ‘Hurty Heart’ as I like to describe it.
When I was at my very worst with post natal depression, I couldn’t see past the grey fog to get to the end of the day. So to picture myself in 5 years time with a boy about to start school and another going into primary 3 seemed impossible. In those days when I felt exhausted to my very bones, I couldn’t wait until the days passed and I could crawl back into bed. ‘Make the most of every moment, they’re not babies long’ was a phrase I used to hear all of the time. I used to think ‘I really am trying my very best to’ but when your biggest wish is just to go to the toilet without having someone follow you it’s hard to ‘treasure every moment’.
Don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved my boys being babies and I have photos documenting every part of their lives (just ask any of my friends and family who will tell you I am forever taking photos!) but I always maintain you never know the value of photographs until they are all you have left. And now for those precious pre school years that is all I have left.
I recently spent time printing off photos to make albums from 2012 to the present day. As nothing beats physically looking at photographs. The boys love it. what struck me whilst doing this task was how much the daily things which seem so monotonous at the time grow to be the things you look back and your heart longs for. I looked back through the albums to see the boys playing with toys, wearing clothes that I had almost forgotten about.
When they were 2 and 4, every night when they came out of the bath the boys would take their towels off and run around naked for us to catch them. It was one of their favourite games and me and my husband every night pretended to be horrified only for them to giggle more. I found a picture of this, and realised I had almost forgotten about it. This was only 3 years ago and it happened every night, yet some how I wasn’t reminded until I saw the picture. When I looked at picture I could hear them giggling and longed to jump through and squidge those babies one last time.
I recently put on a jacket that I hadn’t worn in a while and found a dummy in a pocket. I showed it to Matthew and he took it in his hands and stared at it like he remembered it vaguely from some sort of distant memory. I said ‘that was yours when you were a baby’ and he asked me ‘what do you do with it?’ I remember just after he turned 2 tying myself in knots about getting the dummy off him as he was getting too big for it. It was such a huge issue. And here we were 3 years later and him not even remembering what it was.
Those pre school years are so precious, when you are no doubt the most important person in your child’s life. Then as they start school they begin to have other outside influences and you find that you have no control over. Seeing your child become their own person is such a fantastic feeling and I count my blessings every day that I get to see my children learn and grow in this way. But as they grow I realise they need me just a little bit less.
Isn’t parenting such a funny thing? Of course we want to treasure every moment and know that one day you will blink and your baby will be starting school. But on the flip side we feel guilty for wanting just five minutes peace. You find yourself all consumed trying to work out how you can juggle everything, then the next minute both children have a party at the same time on a Saturday afternoon and you find yourself alone for 2 hours having no idea what to do with yourself. But 3 years earlier what you would have done for those 2 hours. So to you mamma, who is reading this now maybe with a baby and a toddler or 2 pre schoolers, know that those hard, hard days won’t last forever. And the fact that you are worrying about doing a good job probably means that you absolutely are.
So here I am officially saying farewell to the pre school years. I know I can put my hand on my heart and gave it my best shot. I know that I must continue doing the best for my boys for their next chapter and not spend too long looking back and longing for what used to be. But for now I have a summer to look forward to and hope I can fill more albums with photos of amazing memories. And if my boys happen to read this when they are older they will know that their Mamma gave it her all and would do it all again, good and bad, in a heartbeat.
With love, Lauren