31 December 2016

A new year begins

The other day I read an old post from when you had just turned three. I can't quite believe that are now six. Six whole years old. To me, you are the most brilliant, caring and wonderful six year old. You cherish everything and I never want that to stop. School, family, friends, home, learning, adventures, music and stories. 

Whilst I had a coffee the other day, you decided to read a book filled with paintings. Well, you looked at the pictures. You said that one picture you looked at made you think of somewhere really calm. Where the day goes slowly and no one needs to rush.Then you got to one which made you feel lonely, tired and empty. "It kind of makes me feel invisible Mummy." I could listen to your chatter for hours. Your six year old thoughts are so mesmerising to me.

There is a lot being written at the moment about kids being kids, toys being toys, and gender stereotypes being outlawed. I want to see us really letting kids be kids. I have an overwhelming desire for us all to stop intervening. You should pick your own toys, pink or blue, dinosaur or princess. I want, more than anything, to just let you be. Sometimes I want to shout out loud for people to give you some space. I don't because interaction with other people is important and, well, it would be rude! I am also very aware that my need for peace is not yours. It is just a very strong instinct in me. I am most relaxed when you have the space to exist at your own pace and in your own way. 

I want you to relish in a nature documentary as much as in an episode of Paw Patrol. To watch Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Sound of Music and Frozen. To visit art galleries and antique shops as well as toy shops and funfairs. I just want you to see, hear, smell and feel all that the world has to offer and not just a wrapped up, glitzy version of what grown-ups think is entertainment for you. It is a fine balance. I type this as we finish watching Minions together on a rainy day.

We spend the last day of 2016 in London together. A lot of people say that 2016 was a really bad year. There is a lot going on in the world right now and you'll learn about it soon enough. I just want you to always remember to not to be scared, to be proud, to care about people and to give everything to what you believe in. Gently change the world by giving everything that you can in your little corner and through positivity and hope. There isn't enough of that stuff and you, my little girl, are brimming with it. 

At six years old you mean the absolute world to me. I love every fibre of your being and can't bear the thought of you being disappointed or being scared and alone. But I do know that you will feel these things. It will shape you as a person, a brilliant and wonderful person. I will keep giving you as many experiences as I can. That is what I feel that my job is right now and I will never tire of your expectant little six year old face asking me, "where are we going to go next Mummy?" I can trace the outline of my heart and soul in your face. You embody all of my hopes and dreams and I just can't wait to see where you take them. 

Happy new year my darling little girl. Let's go and make some more memories.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice" - T. S. Elliot

28 August 2016

An ordinary Sunday

Nothing much happened today. I love you more than I am capable of every single day but, today, I loved you a little bit more. I don't know why. I wanted to cherish the feel of your little hands in mine, the smell of the top of your head and your arms around my neck. 

You and me today, in the hanging egg chair

You chatted incessantly on the way to the cinema today. You asked me if my car was a front or rear wheel drive and then explained the benefits of a 4 wheel drive! You told me that you still wanted to be a chef but asked if it might be possible to be an astronaut too. And anyway, you do like space so that might be the better option, and, if you were a chef too, you could cook in space. 

At the cinema you sat transfixed for the whole of Finding Dory. Afterwards you said that you were so happy for Dory as she finally had her friends and her family. You said that Dory's mummy and daddy must have loved her a lot to have stayed at home laying shells out for her to find her way back. 

We painted pictures and chilled out together for the rest of the day. It's my struggle, not yours, but today I didn't want you to go to bed, or grow up. I wanted to hold you near me forever. Having you has taken me to places in my heart that I didn't even know were there. I'll always lay shells out for you. We're not so different, Dory's mummy and me x

“We will never forget you, Dory. And we know you will never forget us.” ~ Dory’s mum

12 July 2016

The end of a chapter

So, here you are, days away from the end of your first year at school. I am wrestling pride and excitement with the sadness that comes at the end of something special. Like the last day of a holiday where the happiness is tainted by the knowledge that it's nearly over. Like the warmth of the sun fading into the night after a neverending summer's day. The end of an era. The promise of a new day awaits however. There is always a new day.

I feel so lucky that we have your school so close by. The absolute heart of our community it takes all of the children into its arms and gently unfolds their wings giving them the room to fly. You have flourished in your first year at Burrough Green grasping every opportunity with both hands and I could not be prouder. 

We've watched you learn and grow. You've transformed from a baby-faced little person who says 'inservatory', 'vasagne', and 'jungle sale' into a proper schoolgirl who says 'conservatory', 'lasagne' and still calls 'jumble sales', 'jungle sales' before our eyes. From having a desire to play to having a desire to learn you have more compassion for all of your friends than I thought possible for one little girl to have. You have a strong sense of justice and you show visible delight in learning. You have found your place in the hierarchy and I love that you care as much about your friends being there with you as you do about yourself. I will cherish every single memory of you coming home, excitedly telling me what you've learnt that day and still worrying everso slightly about the lack of toys in Year 1......

Keep learning, keep caring and cherish every single moment. These years really are the best years. Try your hardest and keep grabbing those opportunities. I know that you will be the very best that you can be. Don't ever change. If you approach the rest of your school years like you did this one then I know that you'll be just fine. You'll be better than fine. You'll be brilliant. 

I love you more than you will ever understand. 

Sweet dreams darling x

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." ~ Nelson Mandela

21 May 2016

Beaches (1988)

You were doing some pottery with Daddy today so I stole some time to watch my (second) favourite film, Beaches. I first watched it with my mummy, your nana, when I was quite young and I've loved it ever since. It's a sad story but the strength and importance of the friendship dominates the film. Not the heartbreak. An insecure extrovert finds strength from her overshadowed, intellectual best friend throughout the film and the decades portrayed. The ultimate test of their friendship comes at the end and pulls them together, paving the way for the new chapter as the credits roll.
What interested me was that, at 5 years old, I presumed that you'd find it boring. You finished your pottery and came through at the start (I didn't have as much time to myself as I'd planned!) and you did not move until the end. You were utterly transfixed and I'm not sure why. With grown up content and nothing traditional to hold a 5 year old's attention I am left wondering if I try too hard to second guess what you want? Holidays, entertainment, television, play? You constantly show me that you can be entertained in many ways. You can have as much fun in an art gallery as in a soft play centre. 
At the Saatchi Gallery in March this year

I have always enjoyed human interest stories (especially about female friendship and relationships) and maybe you're the same. I talked to you about the end before it happened and offered you the option of putting Paw Patrol back on but you wanted to watch it all and you wouldn't be distracted. You seemed to 'get' the important bits and you talked to me about everything going on. You even recognised the songs as "the ones you sing to me Mummy." The ones I've sung to you since you were born. 

"Baby Mine"

Baby mine, don't you cry.
Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine.

Little one, when you play,
Pay no heed what they say.
Let your eyes sparkle and shine,
Never a tear, baby of mine.

If they knew all about you,
They'd end up loving you too.
All those same people who scold you,
What they'd give just for the right to hold you.

From your head down to your toes,
You're not much, goodness knows.
But, you're so precious to me,
Sweet as can be, baby of mine."

Whilst I'd never have set out to watch this film with you today, I am so glad that I did. I have a new respect for your capacity to appreciate more than is prescribed to you by children's television. And to enjoy Beaches with my own little girl was pretty special for me too. 

"Be sure to keep in touch CC."
"Well sure, we're friends aren't we?"

1 May 2016

Life is tough, but so are you.....

I am 39 years old. I've never been confident about my body or my physical abilities. I've never been sporty. I've never owned a bikini. I was never good at PE and it's the only part of school that I look back on and remember, as clear as day, that all-consuming feeling of inadequacy. That was just me. 

In 2011 something else happened to me. Your thyroid is a tiny little gland which plays a huge role in how your body functions. It regulates your metabolism and without it you gain weight and feel sluggish and fatigued. The thyroid gland also controls the chemical messengers that your brain uses to communicate with your nerves. Without it the messengers go all over the place leading to depression and anxiety. Sometimes the thyroid gland slows down. Mine is defunct. Completely gone. No thyroid function at all. 

Me in 2011

So here I am in 2016. With some determination of my own and a lot of help and support from the wonderful people around me, I now cycle, I run, I go to the gym, I eat healthily and more importantly, I'm happy and confident. I've filled that void. The one that grew and consumed me in young adulthood.

I sometimes feel judged for the choices that I make now. It's a funny thing. I find that really hard but I put it all out there for the sake of the stronger feelings. The positive ones. On top of combating all of my symptoms of Hypothyroidism and actually getting good at lifting weights, running and cycling, I can also help others. I can help friends who feel like I did. I can encourage the struggling nine year old girl who thinks she can't do it at Parkrun to run to the finish with us. I can help all of those people who think that they can't do it, or don't know how to. I can show the nervous new girl at the gym how to do a dead lift. 

Most of all though, I can give everything I have to being a role model for you. You run because I run and your competitive spirit is fierce. You are determined and brilliant and I want to keep fuelling that for as long as I can. If I don't believe in myself then you won't believe in yourself. If I reach for the stars, then you will too. You can do whatever you want to sweetheart and, as I have learnt along the way, so can I. 

You completed your 21st Junior Parkrun today. You finally got your marathon wristband baby x 

"Though she be but little, she is fierce!" ~ William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream