Sometimes, ‘adulting’ is just a bit, well rubbish. There are so many ‘little things’ to do and organise that it’s easy to get lost in it all. Somebody always needs clothes buying, washing or ironing; noses need wiping and nappies changing; the cupboards need refilling almost constantly, as do hungry tummies; cleaning is constant and the DIY list seemingly never ending. Life is busy.
Today though, in the middle of it all, my eldest boy sat on my lap and we enjoyed a decidedly ‘unbusy’ ten minutes. He leaned back into me, and I held and rubbed his bare feet in my hands. I’ve always done this, since he was a baby, just as I do with his baby brother now – there is something irresistible about babies’ feet. But today was the first time in a while we had sat in this way and I was shocked at how much bigger he had become. It was one of those moments where I wanted to freeze time, to stop him growing any more and cling onto him just the way he was. It wasn’t a big thing – a nothing moment on the surface. But it was my favorite moment of the day.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not usually the overly ‘slushy’ sort. Far from it in fact and I don’t buy into the old cliche that we should ‘cherish every moment’ when we have children. There are some moments that are frankly, a bit shit and better forgotten. But as I sat with my almost ‘threenager’ on my lap today, it WAS a moment to cherish, albeit a ‘little thing’. It’s these little things that I am most petrified of forgetting as I grow older, partly because they are easier to forget than say getting married, or a long awaited family holiday but also because they are so readily lost and overlooked in the slog of day-to-day life.
So I’ve made a ‘resolution’. Not of the usual wine-quitting, calorie-reducing, organic cooking variety. That would be ridiculous. I’m no quitter. I’ve made a resolution to take time to notice and to appreciate ‘the little things’ – the everyday blessings hidden among the chaos, starting with these:
The way I have never been, and will never again be, so needed.
This is a bit like one of those questions in a job interview where you turn a negative into a positive. At times, being needed can take its toll. It can leave you dog-tired and wondering if you will ever find time for yourself or to just be yourself again. But the truth is, one day I guess we will. And when the house is quiet and unnaturally tidy, and when our boys are men and turn to their ‘other halves’ before us, something tells me I will long for the days where I was needed to ‘kiss it better’ when they fell, or to read them the same story twenty times in a row. So for now at least, I will cherish it.
Admittedly, our baby is somewhat more innocent than our toddler. But each of them is innocent in their own way. Our baby is innocent in the way he doesn’t yet know there are bad people in the world. He greets everyone he meets with big wide eyes and a gummy grin to match. One day, another child will take a toy from him, or push him at nursery and he will never be quite so innocent again. Our toddler is innocent in that he has very little self-awareness. He loves to dance more than anything in the world. He will find any opportunity to show off his best foot-stomping moves and for him it is a physical impossibility to listen to the end-credits theme tune of any show without leaping up and doing his thing. I’d like to think we will help him to grow and maintain his hilariously confident demeanor. But at some point, probably at school, he will experience his first twinge of self-consciousness and will perhaps try for the first time to ‘conform’ so for now, I will cherish this too.
The list of course goes on.
The warmth of my baby’s skin when I lift him from his cot and he nuzzles into me; the way our eldest drops whatever he is doing at nursery and comes sprinting over the second he spots one of us at pick up; the way I can carry them in one arm, or on my hip and they seem to fit me perfectly; how peaceful they look when they sleep.
Should my memory ever fail me, THESE are the things I want reminding of because really, the little things aren’t all that little.