Saturday, 31 March 2012

Why, Hello Summer!

This week, the weather decided to pretend that it was summer, and so we decided to play along.

At first, we were cautious in our welcome, tentatively discarding our coats and warily leaving jumpers in the car. But as cloudless day followed cloudless day we gradually slipped off our shoes and socks, began to seek out sun cream and sunglasses, and eventually grew so confident in the constant warmth of the world that I scrubbed down the paddling pool, pulled out the sandpit and accepted the warm embrace of summer.

For one glorious week we abandoned all our usual trips and tasks and committed ourselves wholeheartedly to soaking up the sunshine.

We read outside, played outside, ate outside, and John even decided to skip his afternoon sleep so as to maximise the amount of time he could spend outside.

And even though everyone I've met all week has told me that "it won't last" and "we'll pay for it later" there has been no space for misery in my mind, because my whole being has been saturated with sunshine and I feel as though I'm glowing from the inside out.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Letting Myself Think

All weekend I baked and cleaned and busied myself with the business of his birthday. I made jellies in little moulds, hung bunting and streamers from the ceiling, bought stickers to place between the layers of the pass-the-parcel and didn't let myself think.

I talked endlessly about the party and John's little friends and the way that he kissed them goodbye;  and even when my mother-in-law tried to take me back to that birth day two years ago I smiled and shrugged it off and talked instead of last year, and the chocolate cake that I baked.

But when the guests had gone, the cake was boxed up, the rest of my family were asleep and the house was totally silent, I couldn't help but sidle over to the bookshelf and take the album in my hands.

I looked through those well-loved photos of my fat baby boy, and for a moment I could almost feel his weight in my arms. I could almost feel the ache in my breast as he snuffled and whimpered at my chest and I could almost capture the drowsy contentment of sitting with a sleeping baby in my lap.

And in the last few minutes of my little boy's birthday I finally let myself think. I allowed myself to ache for those baby days with an intensity that I never would have believed possible two years ago, and I allowed myself to cry just a little. To cry with loss, to cry with longing, to cry with regret and gratitude and tiredness, and a whole lot of other reasons besides that were too tangled to fully unwind.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Sweetest Thing

It took two tubes of Smarties, a pack of Dolly Mixtures, a bag of jelly beans, many, many bowls of multicoloured butter icing, many strands of strawberry laces, a smattering of star-shaped sprinkles, three cakes, a bag of mini Jammy Dodgers and even a couple of Lliquorice Allsorts.

But watching his little face light up as we placed his train cake in front of him and helped him blow out his candles - well, that was the sweetest thing of all.

Monday, 26 March 2012

He's Two

It's true. He's two.

This weekend we marked John's birthday and threw ourselves into celebrating the boy whose second year has brought such inexpressible joy to our lives.

There was a cake, there was a party, there were bright piles of presents. There were grandparents and a table-full of friends. There were many rounds of 'happy birthday' and many minutes spent showing him how to blow. There was brilliant sunshine and a picnic lunch and a shiny green tractor with fresh mud on its wheels. There was a bike and books and smiles and so, so much sweetness that it was almost too much to take.

And in the midst of it all there was John.

This unflappable little boy who has a capacity for contentment that I have never quite managed to capture. This boy who could spend all his days happily digging in the mud and all his evenings silently piecing together jigsaw puzzles.

This little person who can sit quite still in intense concentration one minute and run wild with unleashed freedom in his bones the next; who sings himself  to sleep in the blackness of his bedroom and hums happily to himself as he munches his cereal in the morning.

His world is full of jumbled songs and inarticulate chatter, trains and farmers, mummy and daddy, hello's and byebye's.

His smiles are full of mischief, exuberance, pure joy and the greatest tenderness that I've ever seen.

And his contentment is contageous. For he makes me smile many, many times a day. And the days that I spend quietly in his presence and at his pace, are the happiest days that I've ever known.

Monday, 19 March 2012


Happiness is: a chocolate-coated, pyjama-clad toddler smiling at you from the doorstep.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rooted in Love

Every day, since the day he was born, this boy of mine has been loved.

He's been kissed. He's been held. He's been laughed at and laughed with. He's been squished and flung about and snuggled and raspberried. He's been talked to and listened to and told that he is loved. 

For almost two full years my whole life has centred around loving this small boy. And even though he's just one small person, he's soaked it all up, and stored it all away, and buried his roots deep in the security of our love.

Of course, he'll never stop to think about the fact that his early days were rooted in love, any more than the daffodils bother to ponder the creeping white tendrils that bury themselves in the soil whilst they open their faces to greet the sun and wave their heads wildly at the wind.

But the roots will be there nonetheless.

And I can't help but think that whatever mistakes I may make in the future (and I'm sure there will be many) and whatever trials may come his way (and I pray that they may be few) this boy will always be alright.

Because his first few years saw him planted in love - and the roots are deep and strong.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


These two were made to explore the world together.

Friday, 2 March 2012

A Big Boy's Vest

After a full year in which many sweaters made it on to the needles but none managed to make it off, I've actually finished a simple yet satisfying vest.

This morning, I slipped it over John's head, and the vest, that looked so enormous on the needles, seemed suddenly to look rather small.

And I was faced with a boy who looked grown-up, handsome, self-possessed, and nothing at all like the squidgy blond toddler that ran at life in a frenzy of aimless enthusiasm just a few months ago.  

All day, as I caught sight of him, I kept asking myself who this big boy was who walked so sensibly and worked so purposefully, and yet still brightened the world with his joyous moments of aimless enthusiasm.

And I had to remind myself that its my almost-two-year-old who is growing up so very quickly.

Somehow it took a new vest for me to notice the big boy that he has become.