I’ve been writing this column for over a decade and every time September rolls around I wonder where the year has gone but this year it’s different…
Life happens so intensively and so rapidly we don’t get many chances to reflect on it. Parenting is a long and important part of our life, so when we live it every day, it’s easy to feel things will always be this way – homework, bedtimes, first times and those singular moments of joy.
But things won’t always be this way. Time flies when you have children and I realised this last month when Charlie received his A Level results and it dawned on me that, in less than a month, he will be taking down his movie posters, storing his guitar and Amp and packing his bags to embark on a brand new chapter of his life, university life.
This reflection has made me think of just how precious every moment we have with our children is. As a working mum, rushing to drop the children at the school gate before the epic dash into the office, you don’t see just how precious.
Hardly a day went by without an older woman or man saying, “time flies” and they “grow up before you know it”. Now, as I look back, I finally understand what they meant. The years when your children are young and full of wonder should be some of the best years of a parent’s life. And they do go fast. Too fast.
I can remember lying with Charlie when he was a baby, for hours on end. We would just lay there, nose to nose, as I listened to him breathe, taking in that little milky smell – you know the one – the scent that only a mother can appreciate and love.
I remember when I held him for the first time and promised that I would love him forever. Where did that time go? Eighteen years later and he has become precisely what I knew he could be… smart, witty, handsome, respectful and the best big brother! I am sad to think of the years that are gone, but thankful for the time I have had with him and proud of the young man he has become.
Of course, if I’m being honest, there were challenges that went with raising my children – like the time he ran headfirst into a radiator, decided to showcase his expansive colourful vocabulary to his P1 teacher, paint my brand new cream rug a lovely shade of green or the time he took a running jump to greet the babysitter… and missed. At the time, en route to casualty, these seemed a big deal but time teaches you that they are not. They’re no more than a story that raises a smile and any so-called “problems” are actually insignificant and quickly forgotten.
Children grow and then they are grown and they can never jump into bed with you for a snuggle or giggle at silly nothings ever again.
This reflection also made me realise how much my life is going to change in a month’s time. Jim already works away during the week so now it will just be Tara and I at home during the week – oh yes and Star of course!
Tara is 16 now and I can already see it happening but I’ll try to soak up every minute, because as I’ve learned, children and babies don’t keep.We only have 18 years with them until they are off to make their way in the world, only 18 summers, 18 Christmases, 18 birthdays. Make the most of these moments because they seem to be going faster than we realise.
Where’s this month’s fashion report you may ask… This month, I want to help people and the planet and have pledged to say NO to new clothes for 30 days.
Did you know, every week, 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill? Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people and this is unsustainable.
Why not join me? More info at oxfamapps.org/secondhandseptember