Monday, 31 January 2011

For Granny

For my Granny who longs to see heaven and may soon be granted her wish.

Two simple snowdrops to bring her the magic and hope of Spring.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Big Steps


Sometimes his growing is as gradual as the lengthening of the days; other times, it's like the daffodils flowering on my windowsill; one minute a tightly-closed bud, the next a beautiful bloom.

Yesterday he was a crawler - today he's taken his first, wobbly steps.

We feel awed, humbled and exhausted having witnessed this miracle in motion.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Stop the Clock

If I could stop the clock this very second he'd always have layers of chubby dimples on his arms,and his feet would always fit in the palm of my hand.

When he woke at night his breath would always smell sweet and milky, and his tears would always be stayed at my breast.

If I could stop the clock today a 'boo' would always bring a smile to his lips and his excitement would always be vocalised with squeals.

He'd always clap when we waved him goodbye and his hair would always be as soft and fluffy as down.

If I could stop the clock right now he'd always babble to himself in whispers as he played and he'd always sleep with his bottom in the air.

He'd always bury his face in my neck when I pulled him in close for a cuddle and he'd always dribble grape-juice down his chin in his hurry to gobble them down. 

If I could stop the clock this very moment I'd never have to tell him off and I'd never have to leave him.

I'd always have him on my hip, he'd always sleep beside my bed and he'd always need me for love.

But if I could stop the clock this very second I'd never hear him say 'mama' or see him take a step or watch him grow tall and strong.

I'd never know his favourite colour or hear his greatest dreams or learn what he loves in the world.

We'd never share a secret, we'd never build a den, we'd never chase the waves, and we'd never watch the stars.

And so even if I was able to stop the clock today I'd probably leave it to tick.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Most of the time I feel like a child pretending to be a grown-up, convinced that I'm not really managing to fool anyone.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

He's Mine

I abandoned the buggy at the foot of the stairs and when I turned around a small group of admirers had formed around my boy basking in the blessings of his smiles.

I hovered behind them as they gushed and grinned, until a lady turned, noticed me and asked me: "Is he yours?"

"Yes," I said instinctively, and then flushed crimson as the word dropped from my lips.

Because in that instant, the reality hit me afresh and the pleasure and pride that coursed through my veins was physical.

I live with the reality of this miracle each and every day and yet I don't stop and marvel at it nearly often enough.

Yes, he's mine. He's mine.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

On His Terms

Before my babe was born, I envisioned days of constant cuddles.

I imagined curling him up in my arms and feeling the warmth of his little body pressing against my chest, and I anticipated adoring eyes looking up into mine as I cradled him on my knee.

But now that the baby days have passed, his cuddles are fleeting and few.

Of course, there are times when he needs to be held, and my arms are the only refuge from his tired tantrums and tears.

But these times inevitably happen when I'm trying to cook the dinner or speak on the phone and so they're rushed through and dealt with and then swiftly forgotten again. 

And then, at the times when I'm so overcome with love for my boy that I want to scoop him up in my arms and hold him tightly to my heart, he's happy and busy and wriggles his way from my grasp.

I'd thought that motherhood would bring me unconditional cuddles and uninterrupted closeness but I'm learning that his affection is already bestowed on his terms and that I must savour it whilst I can.

So when my drowsy boy fell asleep in my arms this morning, I decided not to think about the list of jobs that I could be doing downstairs or the endless projects that I could be beginning in the quiet of an empty house.

And instead, I held him tightly as he slept, with my face buried in his hair and enjoyed the wonderful closeness of a cuddle that would be finished far too soon.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Fragments of Joy

Back in October when I picked up my tile cutters and tried my hand at mosaics, I had completely forgotten about the unbearable bleakness of January.

I'd forgotten the misery of shivering at breakfast and the exhaustion of endless grey afternoons. I'd forgotten the despondency that descends with the darkness and the unimaginable remoteness of spring.

And so, as I shaped and stuck the tiles to this little pot, I had no concept of the joy it would bring, sitting on my windowsill in a rare pool of January sunshine, with iris bulbs stretching their necks towards the light.

And I had no idea that fragments of glass reflecting fragments of light could bring such brilliant fragments of joy to my day.

Monday, 17 January 2011


When sadness crumples his happy little face and tears set in for the day, I reach into my magicians hat and search around for the white rabbit inside.

My conjurer's cape holds many tricks and treats; but one of our all time favourites is bubbles.  
Because the second they begin to float to the ground, his whinging is always subsumed with wonder.

Friday, 14 January 2011

A Quiet Life

Sometimes life picks us up and sweeps us along in a clamour of noise, but mostly our days are suspended in silence.

The quiet hangs over our house like a film of mist and the hours are punctuated with simple sounds that are so familiar that I barely notice them at all.

The laptop whirrs contentedly, the dishwasher digests its dirty breakfast, the pram wheels rumble against the road, a tower of blocks tumbles to the floor, a plastic toy bursts the silence with a startlingly garish tune, the heating throbs through the upstairs pipes, a baby squeals and babbles from the floor and my own voice cuts through the quiet, my words falling endlessly on uncomprehending ears.

There will come a day when life is so full of comings and goings, shouts and laughter, chatter and games that the silence of these days will feel as surreal and distant as a dream and I will wonder whether they were really thus at all.

I'll yearn for the calm of these quiet moments and I'll seek solitude and silence as though they're long lost friends.

But for now I sit quietly listening to the self-satisfied humming of the fridge, watching the clock as it ticks soundlessly forwards and wondering how much more quiet I can possibly take before I get up and put on a CD.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Good Morning Gift

When I was a little girl, I used to wake up and pretend that there was a present at the foot of my bed. I would lift my head off the pillow and imagine it wrapped in shiny silver paper and tied with an elaborate bow, and I would wriggle my feet under the covers, trying to feel the weight of it against my toes all the while wondering what wonderful gift it could hold.

I'd imagine that the rest of the day was wrapped up inside that box and I'd try to capture the excitement of Christmas morning as I waited to unwrap it.

These days, when I lift my weary head off the pillow, I don't have to imagine a beautifully wrapped box to get me through the day, because I have John's face smiling down at me instead.

I see his eyes twinkling merrily as mine open to greet him, I feel the warm weight of his body as I pull him sideways into my lap, I hear his steady gulps as he latches on for his early morning feed and then I feel his body soften against mine as he slips gently back into sleep.

I circle his little body in my arms and lie with him breathing quietly beside me amid a messy tangle of sheets, and the two of us drift drowsily in and out of sleep in the safety and warmth of one another's love.

And no matter what the day might have in store for me; whether an appointment that I don't want to keep or just an empty expanse of hours that I have no idea how to fill, I know that it will be alright, because I've woken up to find that I've been given the most wonderful present of all.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A Sorry Start

New Year's Day began with a baby burning with fever and now we've fumbled our way into the new term amid a fog of phlegm and flu.

The snow has melted leaving the world a muddy shade of brown and for a long, quiet week we've hidden ourselves away and waited for time to make all things well.

It's an inauspicious start to the new year, but things can only get better from here.