My little boy turned seven a few days ago and with it, I turned a new corner in my life. It was a day of celebration, a day of happiness and a day in which I was quietly noting the beginning of a new stage in my life. At least that’s how it seems.
Seven years old!
I imagine I’m speaking for millions of parents when I say I can hardly believe the passage of time.
On our bedroom wall, Frank and I have two separate framed photos of Liam and Matthew, both taken on the days they were born.
There they are: two little boy babies, lying sleeping in their cots, the photos taken just hours after their official arrivals on the planet.
I look at these photos and it seems, maybe not quite like yesterday, but more like three or so years that we’ve had the pleasure of knowing Liam – not more than double that.
Where, where has the time gone?
Well, the short answer is that it has gone on many happy hours and days, with a few times of illness, fear, tiredness and trouble and a few moments of worry and doubt – but mostly on many more moments of happiness.
I have been so blessed.
Placed into my temporary custody I have received two marvellous little children, full of optimism, laughter, joy and courage. I have revelled in their babyhood; I have cherished the moments watching those literal and metaphorical first baby steps. I trust and hope and pray I will have many more first steps to come.
And recently I realised, fully, that my first-born son at least is no longer a baby.
He is a confident, laughing, sensitive, kind, sociable little boy – supremely happy to have had his friends at his party to celebrate his birthday with him. He is becoming a leader in his own right: a child others listen to and follow (and this endorsed by his teachers, not just mom’s biased fond opinion alone).
And I repeat: I have realised that my first-born son at least is no longer a baby.
And I am getting too old to have more babies (at least easily and relatively safely).
And I must not try, in foolish compensation, to turn my younger son into the baby either, because he too is champing at the bit to be a ‘big boy’ (at the ripe old age of four, bless him…).
So I’ve been turning some corners in my mind.
And as I write this I am just a little bit sad, in the midst of all the happiness his birthday brought. It seems like the end of an era, somehow.
I am so used to thinking of myself as being the mother of young children and, with it, thinking of myself as being young. These past few days I’ve been feeling a little older. Suddenly. It has been strange and unsettling.
But even as doors close, they say, others open.
I have some new prospects on the horizon: some long-cherished ambitions may be coming to fruition. In more and more ways I am starting to feel not entirely ‘just mom’ and more like the old me: the me who used to write regularly; used to ride her bicycle and revel in working those muscles and feeling the wind on the downhills; used to dream of her own private ambitions.
It has been an emotional period lately, re-evaluating who I am, but I have finally come to accept that I am turning some corners.
I am leaving behind and also walking towards.
And even as I turn the next corner, I take a moment now to pay tribute to my two wonderful children and share a poem that I wrote for them before they were born, before I knew them, and whose words they embody every day even without knowing it.
May you never be Shadow, human child.
May you be born under
the sign of the dreamer.
May you know the mark
of saint and sinner.
May you reflect in your eyes
the changing face of man and woman.
May you celebrate Life, choose ever to
The more questing soul.*
(*copyright Vivienne Fouche 1990)
To those who are turning corners in any way, whether related to parenting matters or not, I say to you what I am saying right now to myself:
Then gladly move on.