Recently, I’ve spoken a lot about the harder and the funnier aspects of parenting. I’ve talked about the tough times such as the battle with PND, the funny times like the weird things that keep SB amused, and the times where you have to laugh, otherwise you’ll cry – like our little shopping trip last week. Now, I want to talk about something totally different – the moments that make me love being a mum.
When you’re a parent, there are a lot of ‘big’ moments and milestones. Things like birthdays, Christmases, first words, first steps – those are the big moments, and they may be the first ones to spring to mind when you think about times you’ve really enjoyed being your child’s parent.
If you think a little harder, and delve a little deeper into your memory, a different set of moments may come to mind. These aren’t the moments you’d often document through pictures or video; or the moments that you have big celebrations for. They’re the little things; the everyday moments where you pause and realise just how amazing your life is.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these moments lately. I’m trying to take as much time as possible to enjoy and remember the small things, because I know that in the end, those will be the moments we’ll have great memories of. Do I remember every childhood birthday, Christmas and Easter? No. But do I remember indoor picnics in the living room of my parents’ house, when they’d set up the picnic rug and serve tinfoil-wrapped sandwiches on plastic plates? Do I remember going to the beach after school at the beginning of every September and enjoying having the coast to ourselves again, once all the holidaymakers had gone home, and we’d just run and splash and paddle and shriek together? Yes. In fact, I remember them so clearly, and with such fondness, and that is what I want for SB and our future children.
Those moments weren’t planned down to the last detail. In fact, they were spur-of-the-moment decisions. A Living Room Picnic would keep us entertained for at least an hour on a rainy summer day; perfect for if my parents needed some peace and quiet. The beach trip would always be a surprise – we’d get home from school and be chivvied upstairs to get our swimming costumes on. They’re little everyday moments that we associate with family life, but they’re some of my favourite memories of my childhood.
Since I’ve started taking time to relish the little moments recently, there are some that really stand out to me.
Lately, SB has been having trouble sleeping. The culprit is a nasty cough which won’t go away – we’ll be popping to the doctors if there’s no improvement soon – and wakes her up every now and then in the night. Most of the time she doesn’t fully wake up, and will fall straight back to sleep – but sometimes she gets a bit panicky, so one of us will pop in and make sure she’s got her dummy and her teddy. Sometimes, I can’t resist picking her up for a cuddle. When she snuggles into my neck and puts her hand on my chest so she can feel my heartbeat, my heart fills up with so much love. I didn’t think it was possible to feel this much love for another human being.
I’ve posted quite a lot about SB starting to develop a bit of sass, and a very cheeky personality. I think she’s starting to realise that she can play one of us off against the other, and will choose which one of us is her partner in crime for that particular day. She’ll then make it her mission to drive the other one crazy. Today, I was the partner in crime and Daf was the unfortunate victim. When I was in the kitchen, she was winding him up doing something or other, and I heard him say “No”. I turned around to see what she was doing – and she turned to me and gave me the most evil, mischeivous smile I’ve ever seen; her nose crinkled, her eyes wrinkled, and I could tell she was so proud of herself. In that moment, I realised that I love our family so much.
When we’re out and about, people compliment SB on her demeanour a lot – we get a lot of remarks about how happy and smiley she is, and those are little moments where I feel a little swell of pride too. It feels like an affirmation that we are doing something right – after all, we’re the ones raising this little ray of sunshine, so we’ve contributed to that smiley face – even if only genetically!
When she has her bowl of raspberries as an afternoon snack, she’ll sit down with a teddy or two, and attempt to feed the raspberries to them. It’s so adorable that my heart melts a little – but I also burst with pride, because she wants to share. She’s all about sharing – she’ll constantly offer us sips of her drink, food from her plate, her toys and her toothbrush and anything else she loves, she wants to share it with us. It makes me so proud of what a lovely little girl she is, even though it’s such a small moment.
Singing in the car, and watching her bob her head along in time to the music, a big cheesy grin on her face. Watching her smile and wave at random people when we’re shopping – I know she’s got no concept of stranger danger, and that’s an issue we’ll need to address pretty sharpish, but she’s so polite and friendly and it never fails to make me smile. Our ‘mad 10 minutes’ every night, where we chase her around the living room and tickle her until she shrieks with laughter. Snuggles on the sofa watching Disney films. Watching her dance on her Daddy’s feet.
These are the moments that make me remember how much I love being a mum, and they’re the moments I’ll look back on to get me through tough times. Sometimes, life moves so quickly, and we’re so focused on getting to one big milestone after the other, that we forget to stop and look around. Life is happening all around us, all the time, and there’s so many beautiful moments intertwined with the mundane – and if you blink, you’ll miss them.
Trust me when I say, you don’t want to miss a moment.