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Articles tagged with: Love

We Didn't Get The School We Wanted.

on Thursday, 16 April 2015.

Until you become a parent you don't know the true emotion that comes with truly knowing you would do absolutely anything for another person.  That overwhelming feeling of raw love that meant quite simply life wouldn't ever feel the same again.  Of course, it doesn't come instantly.  When my eldest daugther was born and was placed into my arms on that cold Christmas Eve morning in 2010, yes, I had never felt anything like it.  But that true love, that fierce, protective motherhood instinct- that develops over time.  It happens quickly and you only really notice it unless it has reason to show itself.  It may not even be over anything particularly worth being concerned over, perhaps your only just toddling little girl may get pushed over in soft play, but even that stirs a tiny feeling deep down inside.  Those butterflies, that raw emotion, that protectiveness that comes wtih being a parent.  The one that you can't quite put into words, even if you tried.

As parents we just want the best for our children.  The very best.  We want them to be happy.  We want them to have the best start in life.  Ultimately it's about choices.  Do we breastfeed or bottle feed?  Do we sleep them on their backs because that's what they tell us to, even though they go down happiest on their tummy?  Do we give them 'food from a jar' when all their friends are being baby led weaned organic vegetables?  More often than not it's about guilt.  The guilt is a constant part of being a parent.  Are we doing it right?  Are we being the best we can be?

We all have that dream for our children.  That dream of them doing the things we didn't quite manage to do.  The things that may have made us sad in the past, we don't want them to have that.  Name calling, teasing in the play ground, the bullies at school- we pray that they don't go through a similar fate.  We want them to fly.  To soar.  To be the very best they can be.  We want them to have the opportunities that we didn't, whatever those opportunties may be.  Way in the future, I have a funny vision of sitting round a table somewhere with my girl's, just as I myself do with my own Mum today.  We are chatting over a glass of wine, and there are little grandchildren running around our feet.   Of course, that might not be what they want.  Their dreams may be different, they may pursue a completely different path.  But whatever happens, whatever they want to do, as a parent ALL we want is for them to be happy.

As I write this post it's 1.10am.  A few minutes ago I tiptoed into my girl's bedroom, as I have done almost every evening for four years.  Nothing out of the ordinary, except this time I pause a little bit longer when I kiss my biggest daughter.  She has kicked off her covers and her legs are contorted into a funny shape.  Her arms are thrown over her head and her wild, unruly curls are splayed out across her pillow.  I place my hand on her chest and feel it rise and fall slowly.  As I often do, I marvel about just how much she has grown up, it's hard to fathom her as that tiny baby we bought home from the hospital that day.  I remember being absolutely terrified of putting her in the car, even though we live about five minutes drive from the hospital.  We must have checked the car seat about ten times, and I hobbled my post c-section body into the back of the car, just 'in case'.  I didn't even want to let her out of my sight for that five minute journey and sit in the front.  It felt a strange mixture of emotions- utter joy and sheer fear, taking this little being home to start our lives together.  

That strange mixture of emotions is back again.

Like countless parents up and down the country, I have waited up to check on our primary school application.  Refreshing the screen about a hundred times even though it wasn't yet midnight, that strange feeling of emotions that so often comes on my motherhood journey is there again.  And after one more refresh, at 11.57pm we were told the news.  We didn't get her into our first choice school.  Nor our second.  We got into our third and final school, our catchment school, one that we really only put down because we were told not to waste a choice.   My intial reaction was disappointment, real disappointment.  So I cried.  That feeling in the pit of my stomach knawed away at me, making me feel truly upset.  Because yet again, it comes down to that same old thing- we would do anything for our children.

It was inevitable we we were going to get that school.  Deep down I knew we would, but I was still hoping and crossing my fingers that we would at least get our second.  We are lucky to have an education system in place for our children, I know that.  We are lucky for a lot of things.  This isn't about that.  But walking through that school a few months ago, both myself and my husband didn't think much to it at all.  It's under achieving in all areas according to it's reports, but again I don't know enough about the education system to know what this means.  All I know is walking around there, we just didn't get a 'feel' for it like we did with the others.  There were parts we just weren't keen on at all.  It just didn't feel like the vision I had of my little girl going to school, I couldn't imagine waiting at those school gates for her to come out, in her little school uniform, her hair blowing behind her, and her face all flushed red with excitement as she ran to me at the end of the school day.

But fate has done it's thing and Mads will be going there in September.  It's the next morning now and I am a little embarrased to admit that I have shed a fair few tears.  I know deep down how lucky we are that she even has the opportunity to go to school in the first place, but I can't help but feel a huge amount of disappointment.  I have spent the night tossing and turning, discussing possible solutions with my husband- but deep down realistically I know that I need to resign myself to it now and accept the fact.  I need to start seeing the positives.  

Because that's the thing.  That little girl asleep in the room next to me- she doesn't know all of this.  She doesn't know that her Mummy spent half the night crying.  She just knows that come September she is going to 'big school'.  We drive past the school that she got into every morning and she always points out 'the big boys and girls'.  She doesn't know what the future holds for her, what school entails, what she will do all day.  She just is excited and happy about the possiblity of going.  She's completely innocent, unaware of the bad in the world, and just perfectly happy to give anything a go.  She sees the joy and positives in everything.  

So that's what I need to do.  I need to suck it up and see the world through my little girl's eyes for a change.  To be excited about the next chapter of her journey.  Yes it's not quite the journey we had planned for her, but she will continue to make us proud as she does every single day.  I will stand there with all the other mums, waiting for her to excitedly to run out the doors and tell us what friends she has made.  She will pull artwork from her bag that she has done that day and we will display them on our kitchen wall like they are masterpieces and works of modern art.  We will help her with her writing, her reading and her maths, and do the best we can by her, just as we have done every day since she was born.  We will have life experiences, make memories and raise her the way we are already doing so, outside of those classroom walls.  

We will continue to be the proudest parents alive.

Really, I think I am just feeling a little nostalgic and sentimental right now.  These milestones are passing us by at a rapid rate and it's hard to fathom that it wasn't yesterday that we took her out of that car seat on that first trip back from the hospital.  When school seemed like an eternity away.  I'm not entirely ready for this stage of our lives to be over, and I am not sure I ever will be.  But that's life and we will enjoy this Summer and make it a happy few months of memories.  Although I am a little sad about it all, I'm also incredibly excited too.

And come September we will start this new chapter in our lives.  And I know my little girl will soar and grow in whatever environment she is placed in, of that I am confident.  

Because we will continue to support her always.

 

the grove hotel 26

 

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #14 'Mr E'

on Sunday, 05 April 2015.

On Good Friday morning myself and the girls went to soft play with some friends while Mr E did a bit of work that he had to do.  While we there we were chatting about our weekend plans, when I suddenly realised that the long weekend would be a perfect time for Mr E and I to go out on a 'date night'- we were long overdue one and with not many plans for the weekend it seemed a great idea.  One quick call later and we found out our 'babysitters' were free.

We rarely take advantage of the fact that all my family live nearby.  Considering my girls are so close to my Mum they have only ever stayed over at her house once in the whole four years that we have been parents, and they have only stayed at my Dad's twice.  This is in part us not wanting to worry anyone and also in part the fact that we are happy to take our girls away with us and have adventures as a family.  Coupled with that my sister is always around to take the girls off our hands for a few hours too.

For the first couple of years of Mads life, and indeed pretty much until last year, I could seriously count on one hand the amount of nights out we had been out just the two of us.  A lot of it was due to being pregnant, saving money, breastfeeding or the fact that we are always pretty busy going away or seeing friends or family.    But the last few months I would say we have started trying to go out more, even if it's just out for dinner or the cinema.  I still wouldn't even say it's once a month but it's definitely more regular than it was.

A few years ago I actually sat and wrote down what I called  'My Little Love Story'- it was a series of posts about how I met Mr E and the start of our relationship.  It actually makes me really cringe reading it back, it's really soppy and a bit OTT, but the sentiment is still there.  Even after all these years I still can't believe how lucky I am to have my husband.  Our relationship has changed a lot over the years, of course having children will do that to you, but he still is my best friend and that is one of the most important things I think.

He used to be my favourite person to go out with.  We would of course go out with friends, but we would also go out just the two of us all the time and drink for hours.  Nowadays my hangovers last a lot longer and to be honest I don't really go what we call 'out out' (when did I get so old?!) and have a few drinks all that much anymore, especially not with him, but when we were younger with no responsibilities, we would go out most evenings.  I have such fond memories of that period in our lives, and some such funny stories to tell.  

Nowadays on our 'date nights' we usually go for a meal and then to the cinema, but there wasn't anything on that we wanted to see on Friday, so we decided instead to go for a meal and a few drinks- something we haven't done in absolutely ages.  We live on the outskirts of our town and it's not exactly the most exciting place to go out in, but we visited a couple of the pubs and bars after our dinner.

We laughed all night long and I drank more than I have in ages, but above all it was just a really nice evening.  At the end of the night we decided it would be a good idea to walk home, which is a couple of miles, and on the way we discussed so many different things.  We are both at a really exciting point in our lives at the moment having just started working together, and it was great to have one of those deep and meaningful, and slightly silly chats that you only do when you have had too much to drink.  Of course we laugh and chat every day, but there's something about a good drunken evening that reinforces just how much fun you can have together.

At the start of the night we took this photo and it's one of my new favourites- we rarely have photos of just the two of us anymore, inevitably there is usually a small person in the frame somewhere, but I really like this one and it's now in the 'privileged' position of being my new phone screensaver.  I love that after all these years, I still get butterflies in my tummy when I go out with Mr E, and I love that he still can literally make me cry with laughter all night long.  I don't want to get too sentimental or soppy, but I really am so very lucky to have him.  Day to day life isn't always sunshine and happiness- it can be stressful, we can argue and I know I can take him for granted sometimes, but I really am glad that my most 'ordinary moments' are with him.  

MrEmeapril15

 

The Countdown...

on Thursday, 05 February 2015.

dadmads

Yesterday lunchtime the girl's decided they wanted to have a 'carpet picnic' for their lunch.   They had been so good when I had taken them out shopping earlier that morning and as a treat they wanted to get the picnic blanket out and have their lunch on the floor of the living room.  So that's exactly what we did- it's one of their favourite things to do.  After lunch, I was messing about with Mads.  She was being cheeky, so I was play fighting with her on the floor, tickling her and pretending to nibble on her little bottom and ears.  I buried my face in her long curly hair, and she was squealing and giggling in delight.  Then without being a tad dramatic, all of a sudden I felt this huge pang of emotion that nearly took my breath away.

I felt tears prick at the back of my eyes and I had to blink a few times to stop them from freely falling down my face.  Mads was none the wiser, still laughing, joking and jumping on me, and smothering me in 'Mummy cuddles and kisses'.  She was climbing on my back, wrapping her little arms around my neck, while whispering in my ear 'I love you Mama- forever and ever.'  But my heart was still beating that little bit faster and it took me a few seconds to actually pin point why.

We are on the countdown.

Like with any countdown, when you want it speed up and come quickly, say for a holiday or a special occasion, time seems to go so slowly and drags on and on.  But for a slightly less appealing countdown, it seems to whizz past and before you know it the time has arrived.  And that's whats happening now.

The countdown to school.

In many ways Christmas Eve 2010 feels like yesterday.  The day I first held that slightly wrinkly, gunky little person in my arms.  Her little black eyes stared deeply into mine, blink blink blinking as she adjusted to her new surroundings.  In that instant life as we knew it changed.  Everything I thought I knew about myself before changed when I became a mother.  This tiny creature arrived in our world and completely turned it upside down.  Although it feels like she's always been here, I can still feel the enormous range of emotions that came with seeing my eldest daughter for the first time.   

In those four years there have been long days.  Many of those.  Days where I paced around the kitchen, waiting to catch a glimpse of Mr E arriving up the driveway, ready to hand him a screaming baby or a defiant toddler, just so I could have a tiny break.  Days where I was so tired that I would just want to cry over the smallest thing.  Where I did cry over the smallest thing.  In those four years there have been tough times.  Many of those.  Times where it all got a little bit too much.  Sleepless nights, challenging behaviour, strained relationships.  Days where it felt like it was never going to end.  Days where the responsiblities of being a parent became almost overwhelming. 

For two years it was just me and her.  Two years of getting to know each other inside and out.  Fun times, sad times, tricky times, but most of all happy times.  Contentment and love.  During the week we were a pair while my husband was at work.  A duo.  A double act.  We learnt from each other.  She taught me that the simplest things are the most important.  She made me a better person- less selifsh.  More considerate.  She made me a mother.  Then in February 2013 our second daughter arrived.  I fell in love with her in an instant, but I also fell even more in love with my big girl.  The way in which she accepted her new baby sister without so much of a doubt, into our little club.  Our twosome became a threesome.  We became a team.  

And that's the way it is now.  We have our own little routine, our own little structure.  Mads has Nutella sandwiches for lunch, LL has peanut butter.  Mads likes to sit on the left hand side of the sofa when we watch television, LL sits on the right.  Mads is always Harry when we put on One Direction shows, LL is always Zayn.  That's just the way it is.  Yes we still have those tough days, or long days, but for the most part we love our days together.  And I am just not ready for them to stop.  I'm not ready for this period of our lives to be over.

In just a few short months, my big girl will be going to school.  The application form has already been submitted, we wait with intrepidation hoping that we have got into the school that we want for her.  Those days of constant nappy changes, those morning's sitting breastfeeding in a cafe gossiping to friends while eating the largest slice of chocolate cake, those times spent batch cooking copious amounts of pureed carrot and sweed ready to put into the freezer- they seem to have passed us by in a blur.  When did they stop?  And a bit later, those days where I begrudged paying an extortionate £20 to go to soft play, while she no doubt picked up every germ under the sun and all I got to show for it was a slightly soggy panini and a bowl of greasy fries- I wish more than anything I could rewind them all again.  

If I could, I would cherish every single second of the replays.  I would hold her in my arms for a little longer after her milk, breathing in her sweet baby smell and resting my chin on her soft dowdy hair, rather than putting her straight in her cot.  I used to like stroking the fontanelle spot on her head ever so gently, it felt as soft as silk.  I would play tea parties for that little bit longer, enjoying my seventeenth cup of tea and umpteenth wooden digestive biscuit, rather than going to clean up the kitchen.  I would soak in every single cuddle, every single morning 'just the three of us', I would be more present rather than being on my phone or checking my emails.  I'd read one more story.  And then I'd read another one.  I'd stay in our PJ's and let her watch one more episode of Peppa Pig.  I'd never stop cuddling her.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing.  This way I am feeling right now, it won't last forever.   It will come back, in periods, throughout their lives, that I am sure of.  The way it hurts a little bit loving them.  The way each new milestone and moment seem so bittersweet.  But no doubt next week or the week after that, I will get impatient again.  I will get tired of the same question over and over- I don't know why Tree Fu Tom and Mike the Knight aren't friends who hang out together.  Yes you can have lemon juice with two drops.  Yes two drops.  I don't know why the worm we saw on the road by the garden centre two weeks ago isn't wanting to be in the soil with his other worm family.  I'll inevitably get a little frustrated when she takes ten minutes to get into her car seat even though we are in a hurry.  I'll have days where I breathe a sigh of relief when they are in bed and I can sit on the sofa and just switch off.  

But in the back of my mind, I am all too aware we are in the countdown.

All too soon September will come and my little girl will be at school.  Five out of seven days of the week she will be with her teachers and her new friends.  They will see the way she scrunches up her nose when she yawns.  Or the way that she likes to play with her ear when she's nervous or in need of a comfort.  The way her little fingers go in her mouth and she sucks them when she's unsure of herself.  They'll experience the pleasure of my biggest girl- the little quirks and traits that make her who she is, the good and the not so good.  It's not that I am sad that she is going to be away from me, she goes to nursery three long mornings a week already while I work.  It's more that this period of our lives is soon going to be over.  It's a line under the baby days, the toddler days and the days of just being together.  That we will never be able to get it back.

I'm a little sad she won't be here every day with me, but I am excited to see her begin the next part of her journey.  I'll be there waiting to see the artwork she pulls from her bag, to hear her excitedly chat about what her and her friends did that day, or what she learnt in English class.  I'll be the one cheering the loudest at Sports Day.  I'll be there standing with all the other parents at the school gate, waiting to see her run out with her long curls blowing behind her and her cheeks flushed red with happiness.  She'll grow, she'll soar and she'll become the person she was meant to be.  She'll lose a little bit of that pure innocence that comes with being at home with her Mummy, that little bit of innocence that comes with being little, but she'll be full of potential and promise.  Whatever happens, she will continue to make me the proudest Mama alive, just as she has done since the day she arrived in the world on the 24th December 2010.  

I knew that this day was coming, way back when she was tiny, and school just seemed like a far off dream.  Something I didn't have to think about for a while.  But now the countdown is on.

Growing up hurts a little, I know that all too well.  I'm a little bit sad and feeling a little emotional about it all.  But why we may all too soon be finishing this chapter of our lives, deep down I know this is just the beginning of my little girl's story.  And I'm excited to see just what that story may be.

dadmads1

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #20 'My Grandparents'

on Sunday, 18 May 2014.

I have mentioned on previous posts all about my Nana and Grandpa- they live on the border of Wales and we don't get to see them very often, so when we visit them or they come down here it is often a very special family day.  However I don't often mention my other set of Grandparents, my Mum's parents.

My Grandma and Grandpa are without a shadow of a doubt, the most wonderful people I know.  They live within half an hour of us, on a beautiful farm and so many of my childhood memories are from adventures on their farm.  My Grandpa was a very successful farmer and I would spend summers riding with him on the tractors, or climbing and sliding in the massive wheat piles that were stored in the barn.  Or we would race up and down the road on my Uncle's quad bike, ride horses in the paddock that they rented out to a local riding school or make cake after cake with my Grandma.

Nearly every single Christmas Day of my life I have spent with them, bar if they were ever away or the twice I have been away, once in hospital having Mads and the other on my honeymoon.  My Grandparents are seasoned travellers, going all over the world a few times a year.  Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, India...there isn't a country they haven't been to or that isn't next on their list.  I definitely think that is where I get my travelling spirit from. 

Ever since I was at university and a supposedly 'poor' student (hello student loan to buy endless amounts of clothes from Topshop, more like rich!) my Grandma has been making me what she calls 'Red Cross Parcels' - just random bits and bobs that she would give to me every time she saw me in the holidays.  Just the essentials, like pasta, tomato ketchup, biscuits, washing up liquid and toilet roll.  That kind of thing.  However it became a tradition and to this day she still does it, whenever we go up to see her she will hand us two or three bags of bits and bobs.  It's progressed to chocolate and naughty treats for the girls too, as well as wipes and nappies.  Since my girls have been born we have only rarely had to buy a pack of nappies- if I think about how much that has saved us it blows my mind a little.  I love this little tradition, it is so sweet and caring.

But they also support me in everything I do and now they support Mr E and our girls too.  Mads and LL adore Great Grandma and Grandpa and we go there for dinner at least every other week.  Mads loves getting the box of old toys out and going to feed the 'big fish' they have in their pond.  And I love a good old home cooked meal, why is it that Grandma's make the best roast dinners? 

Like when we went over there one night last week.  LL was rather enjoying her rather large bowl of Vienetta (hello 80's does anyone else remember Vienetta back in the day?!) and Mads was sitting on Grandma's knee reading a story...

grandparents ordinarymoments

grandparents ordinarymoments1   

And even those are exceptionally ordinary moments for us, they are actually pretty extraordinary.  I feel privileged that my daughters get a chance to get to know their Great Grandparents and I get to make memory after memory with two people who I adore more than anything.  And who I feel so lucky to have in my life.

Because these ordinary moments won't last forever.  Nothing does.  

And so I treasure each and every single one of them.

 

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