September is going to be a big month for us. Not only is Belle leaving primary school this summer and moving up to big school, but Bee, my precious first-born, turns into a grown-up and heads off to university in London.
As if by way of a reminder, Belle bought this home from school this week. My last ever copy. It is a truly terrible publication, full of poorly designed ads, yet I can’t help but feel oddly fond of it all of a sudden:
They are actually growing up and it is leaving me feeling a teeny bit sad.
Of course it could just be the cold I’ve got this week. I did cry at our netball match on Tuesday night when I didn’t score any goals in the first quarter and had to come off not feeling well, (embarrassing), so it would appear I am a tad on the over-emotional side, but still, having children grow up is a thing I think you’re allowed to get a bit teary about.
As if by way of rubbing salt in the wounds, last weekend I worked for three days at the Baby Show in Birmingham, surrounded by glowing pregnant women and chubby cheeked babies. It was almost enough to make me, heart-of-stone-mother that I am, a little broody.
‘It might be quite nice,’ I thought to myself, ‘to have another go. This time I could actually make an effort and do it properly, make my own sweet potato purées and not hide on my own in a corner of the playground at school pick up time. It could be fun to have a baby with chubby cheeks.’
Then I have to make myself remember that evening when Belle was about three months old. We were both lying on my bed. We had been lying there for some time in fact. I was lying on my side, Belle lying next to me. She was breastfeeding, and every ten minutes or so she would appear to fall asleep. I would wait a little while, then delicately begin to extract my boob from her mouth. Sometimes she would let me get as far as the door before waking up and crying again, but not often. It would get to the point where your options were basically to scream or cry, where every gulp she took felt like having the life literally sucked out of me.
I can’t remember exactly whether it was a scream or cry moment, but I remember telling myself ‘If ever in the future you think about having more children, think about this moment and remember that you decided right here never to do it again.’ Those words have stuck in my head long past the memory of how I actually felt.
I know that it’s natural to feel sentimental, that having children grow up and move on doesn’t mean you need to replace them, but I can’t help but feel I might have a tear in my eye at Belle’s final sport’s day this afternoon.
Maybe it’s time to start my cat collection.
How do you feel about your children growing up?