I wake in the mornings around 6.30 or 7, by Daisy walking in. She still needs to say she is up although she will head out and fend for herself. Some days I wake all by myself, a miracle in itself, and approximately 345 times better than having someone yell at you or for you, the very first thing in the morning. I clamber over a sleeping Harper who sleeps on a mattress on the floor next to our bed. I gave up a long time ago fighting that battle, or giving a shit about what should or shouldn’t happen when it comes to children and sleep. She sleeps there. I get sleep. We are so much better for it, letting go of the expectations and just being. As soon as I move though, she sits up, still it seems connected to me by some invisible trip switch when she sleeps. We rush for dressings gowns and slippers as we head down the hall way rushing to get the central heating on, or to see if there are still some coals burning away that we can start up again. Rob always follows after, always after, but makes up for it by presenting me with a hot cup of coffee as I read my emails ready to start the day ahead.
Once we hit 7.30am the mornings are busy, frantic even. Calling out the time and counting down the minutes until we have to leave. The pitch and loudness increasing as each minute passes as we both get the girls to get dressed for School, pack their bags, lunches, check they have what they need for the day whether it’s library books, news, a reader or sport. There are fights about hairbrushing, and tears every other morning, eye rolls about home work and questioning every single time whether teeth brushing really is necessary or important. The beds get made, the hot water bottles emptied, the breakfast cleared away, washing on the line and even a quick sweep/vac before we head out that door. I swear my need for order to greet me when I get back from School drop off will be the death of me.
By 8.55am the house is quiet the girls are hopefully off and I can start my day.
The days fly by – seemingly by magic – all of a sudden it can be 11 and then 2 and I know that I won’t get back to my desk until 8. They are filled with time spent online at my computer, deadlines and work, coming up with ideas, creating content, working on projects, emailing, planning. They are so busy, so much to do with no time at all it seems. I remember the days of parks and coffee and filling them stuff just so they could be over like a distant memory, and I vow that I will get back to them sometime soon. I say yes too much. I want to get time back, time that seems to run through my hands like water that I cannot hold onto.
Harper is creative and smart and funny and shy. We have just a few months left – her and I – and every time I think about next year hot tears prick my eyes. My baby, my small children, they are leaving me and I am resigned to the fact. Daisy is so grown up, so confident and self assured. She is smart but needs to be pushed, I don’t want her to be lazy. There’s just SO much that you want for your children isn’t there? I see where we have come from and into this magical phase that we are about to enter where the nights are easy, the time spent together is just so damn enjoyable and I am just plain proud. Letting go might be hard but there is just so much right there to look forward to.
Rob is working hard, doing good, being patient, always kind. Over committed and yet always ready to make me laugh. He will wander in from his office at any given time in the day and even when it’s to completely wind up one of the girls and then walk out that door back to the quietness of his studio, I don’t ever stop being grateful for the fact that we are here, working together from this place we can now call home.
I see this other kid, often in the corners of my mind, sitting there, waiting to be born. And I cry for them because I don’t know that I have it in me to do it. To go back. To start all over again. I think about that chubby, laughing baby of all the joy they would bring and yet I can’t see beyond all the sleepless nights. The feeding. The going back. I just don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know.
I might not ever know.
The afternoons are routines and order. Whether it’s driving to that sport or that activity, getting the wood stacked and the fire on. The home work done, the dinner on the table. The rhythm is constant and it’s comforting. That dinner still hits the table at 5.30 or thereabouts and we all still eat together as a family – a precious thing that I don’t ever want to let go of. Bottoms are still warmed by the fire each night, pyjamas at the ready, as is Dad with a funny story or cuddle to give. My goodness what a privilege that is.
While it might have been time together at nights for Rob and I it’s usually a committee meeting, some more work, time on my computer trying to get stuff done that didn’t make it in the day. Sometime after 9 we might catch a TV show, or just collapse onto the couch before loading up that fire and heading down that hallway to bed, to do it all over again.
These days are busy. They are filled to the brim. Yet they are such good days. Days that are filled with hard work, but worth every minute. I feel proud of what we have achieved – all of us individually and all that is to come. Life with a family is always changing, whizzing by quickly, holding onto what you can and looking forward to what will come.
It might be busy, but life is indeed good at 36 years, 11 months, and 3 weeks. And even better when right up until last week I thought I was turning 38 this week!
Here’s a flashback to this very week a few years ago.