It has started to hit home the last couple of weeks that when Gaia goes off to school in September that's my last baby through early childhood and into the system. And I am guessing, seeing as I'm starting to feel it myself, that this is when women start getting broody for another baby. Oh if things were different, but for many reasons its not a serious consideration for us. Though early childhood has been intense, hard and has seemingly flashed by at lightening speed I am going to be sad to leave these pre-school days behind and though it is always a joy to see them grow and develop and shine, for me at least it is always bitter sweet. So here in these pre-school moments - this one and this one and that one - is an opportunity for me to mindfully savour and make the most of this time just me and her, hanging out. We have been spending each Wednesday back at the playgroup run by a local church where I have made many dear and great friends in the women who run it. We are spending more time in the library and in the parks, frequenting our favourite cafes drinking cheeky coffees & babycinnos (that's our thing, it's cafe culture - I read a few pages of the guardian whilst she chatters incessantly and charms the pants off the other customers) and perusing the charity shops trying stuff on together and having mama lunches & play dates with friends. She is excited, yes, and confident that school is going to be much more of a thrill than nursery. She very sweetly doesn't understand that she won't be in Zanders class, that they will always be in separate years; but they are both looking forward to getting together in the playground at break times and I just know Zander will be super protective and caring as she settles into her new environment. They adore each other.
What of me then? Well I shall hopefully work a 10-3 Monday to Friday job and sleep every night! I will go to night school some evenings to do the access course I need to secure me a place on the midwifery degree course in 2014 at Uni so there are upsides to leaving the pre-school years behind and I realise it is only natural to look back and assume you never made the most of it and procrastinate over what you would have done differently and pine for another shot at it all.
I don't know if there is any fool proof way of knowing you made the most of things. Does anyone ever? Being present in the present is definitely the way forward in theory, but how does that actually translate into a busy family home? Some days I know I am properly kicking ass and supping up every sweet drop of their young childhoods as we carve simple yet deeply satisfying elaborate memories and relish each others company and passions. Other days I know from the empty feeling in my heart that I have been distracted by worries and challenges, absent and seemingly 'not there'.
This mama-hood gig is by nature one that will always be riddled with either worry or guilt or both and just the other day I realised the security and stability of pre-kid days that I keep expecting to reappear again soon when things 'plateux out' (yeah right!) is never going to; the tide will always rise as sure as it will fall - this week there is one set of challenges, next week will bring different ones and it's my job to comb through all the weed and debris churned up on the beach to find the shells, the smooth driftwood and the treasures of life.
Some shells and drift wood that stand out from the last few weeks on the beach that is our lives ...
This first picture of her in this amazing jacket we were given by our friends Katie & Gwen - when we went into LUSH for my henna she wanted an animals rights badge after she'd heard my explanation of what it was all about, love my ltitle activist - she can njow be heard saying 'we shouldn't put make up on pidgeons'!
And she has been delving into yoga with me since we borrowed this amazing BKS Iyengar book from the library so I can deepen my own knowledge and repetoire ...
Her 4th birthday ...
I'm looking forward to the holidays - the rhythm I know we'll all find that my heart craves ... the one we are experiencing now as little Zander is at home for a while after his operation on tuesday.
Love and light X