Nothing's ever perfect, but sometimes it's just right
The last few hours of 2017 are gently ticking by as I type this blog entry and I have no doubt that billions of other people out there are looking back over the last 12 months and the trials and tribulations they have been through as a family. The euphoria, the exhaustion, the surprises and the times you feel you don’t know how you’re going to cope (we felt that all in 1 night when I went into labour early, before I’d even had my scheduled C-Section pre-op…) In some ways it feels like yesterday that I was sleeping through the last new year, heavily pregnant and full of the excitement of pregnancy, in some ways it feels like I am a different person altogether. But one thing I do know is that all of us should be proud of what we have achieved this year.
Aubrey's comment of the week*: “I’ll just have Leo’s present too because I think it’s a bit too grown up for him - he might hurt himself” One of the cuter times you hear your own words coming out of your toddlers mouth - especially when he could hardly contain his giggles, knowing I would find this cheeky suggestion hilarious.
*just to give you an insight into my world; since I have written this paragraph Aubrey asked me if I want to go on a donkey walk, if we can send Leo to monkey land (if this is a real place I want to go there) and then announced in the voice of a weary, 60 year old, member of parliament “It’s been a long day Daddy”.
No of times I have had an alcoholic drink in my hand before mid morning: Nowhere near enough.
No of turkey sandwiches I have eaten: If I piled them all up, my boys could jump of them like a bouncy castle (just realised as I wrote this that this would probably be their absolute dream…I wonder if there is a company anywhere out there offering this service for birthday parties???…).
Lightbulb moment of the week: An unexpected result of parenthood for me has been that I somehow manage to deal with quite stressful or unexpected situations with a degree of coolness I never used to be able to muster; Aubrey had quite a vigorous nose bleed earlier today, totally out of the blue and I found myself simply leading him calmly to the bathroom, using my BARE hand to catch the globs of blood and snot along the way. If this situation would have happened to a friend or colleague pre-kids I’m pretty sure I would have simultaneously: backed away/shielded my face from blood spattering/thrown up in my mouth a little bit/gone weak at the knees/failed to get anyone who could actually step up and help. So even though post kids I have no stomach muscles, weirdly dry skin on my hands (so many hand washes needed, sadly not enough hours in the day to moisturise the poor little blighters) and only own clothes that would look more at home on the floor of Primark during the January sales (you know the thing you stand on and nonchalantly kick under the rail - it’s usually a noncommittal greyish colour, covered in fluff balls and has a long loose thread trailing unappealingly from it), I have overcome my squeamishness and can now react in an almost normal way to small medical emergencies - so I guess that's something.
The C word
I have to mention Christmas with this being my first blog post since the big day - I won’t go into all the tantrums and tears (but I DON’T WANT to wear a helmet on my new bike, sob sob, along the road while passers by probably felt sorry for this poor boy crying on Christmas day and I explain that wearing a helmet is a RULE that we HAVE to follow now that you have a big boy bike (which by the way was a nightmare to wrap up - not that you noticed how well we had succeeded in this near impossible feat)).
But I will mention the moment for me which was the best moment of all (apart from that both boys by some miracle slept through and had a lie in (!!)). The moment was when I hear Aubrey come out of his room and call out “Father Christmas HAS been!!!!!!! and then without missing a beat “Daddy did Father Christmas bring you and Mummy some presents as well?”. I did do a little silent dry cry at this point because I thought it was one of the cutest things ever that he said this - I mean I know he didn’t seem too bothered if his brother Leo had been remembered, but no one's perfect are they?
A Family Affair
In the evenings following turkey day, I lay ensconced on the sofa, remnants of the Christmas nibbles surrounding me and balanced on every reachable surface, while I watched the three parts of the BBC adaptation of Little Women.
Needless to say I was blubbering into my nuts and port for most of it (in hindsight nuts were not the best snack to choose as mid crying they can become a choking hazard). I definitely interpreted it in a different way to when I read the book; which I did long before I was a boring grown up and a lifetime before I had children. I found this quite an interesting fact when I came to reflect upon it afterwards; it was almost like a different story. It is astounding how much we all change over time; as each year passes, experiences and memories are added to our personal history and as a new year appears fresh and clean, it holds unbeknownst to us, challenges and decisions we are yet to discover. With each year we see things differently and react to things differently which is pretty fascinating when you think about it (and depending on how much port you have unwittingly sipped your way through).
As the closing scene came to an end and I tried to compose myself mid-blub so I didn’t miss anything important, I found myself experiencing a shiver of recognition when Jo uttered the final lines; I found these words very grounding and very apt; especially poignant and reassuring to hear in the perfection-striving world we are living in:
Jo asks “Nothing’s ever perfect is it?” to which her mum answers “No” and Jo goes on “but it can be just right can’t it?” and her mum smiles “Yes. Yes it can”.
So to all of you out there who have had all kinds of experiences this year and are celebrating this New Year's Eve in all sorts of different ways, I hope you enjoy a trip down memory lane this evening (as you try to keep your eyes open past 11pm if you're anything like me) and give yourself a pat on the back for all of the things you have achieved...and I hope that your 2018 will be JUST RIGHT.