So summer is sweeping to an end. There are only a few days left until the wains go back to school and we have to accept that the weeks of running to the beach, playing in the park and getting out the barbecue we were promised are not going to materialise.
I’m quite fond of Autumn but I can’t help but feel a certain sadness at the end of summer – and of this summer in particular. This is the one summer I’ve had the chance to stay at home and be with my son instead of dropping him off each morning to my auntie while me and his daddy go out to work.
It has been an all together lovely – if at times exasperating – experience and I’ve felt like a proper mammy and enjoyed relishing our time as a family.
I have spent my days hoping the boy (and the girl, of course) will sleep in past 6.30am. I have watched an inordinate amount DVDS from Ben 10 to Star Wars and Hotel for Dogs. I have struggled with the cries of “I’m bored” (from him and me) and had to become creative with what we do to pass our time.
I have been, as the summer has progressed, a plethora of characters from Princess Peach, to Janine from Ghostbusters and Queen Amidalla. I have become quite adept in talking in a faux American accent when necessary.
I have also become adept at calming a tantrum without necessarily resorting to bribery and corruption – although at times a bar of chocolate has worked wonders. Sometimes I have even let the boy have share.
I have congratulated myself on getting creative with painting sessions or cooking sessions. I felt particularly smug when I managed, for perhaps the first time ever, not to mess up one of those wee ready packs of bun mix. I was even more smug when I made my own cupcake icing and decorated said buns like a true pro. There hasn’t been a Rice Krispie bun in sight.
And when I cooked a spinach lasagne from scratch – with not a jar in sight – I was so lured that I even took pictures. (Yes, I know this makes me either sad or slightly insane, but seriously, given that my usual cuisine is basic pasta and Dolmio this was an achievement.)
My son and I have sat up at night, chatting and singing and having discos in the living room. The boy has cut some moves to 70s classics while I’ve done my best to not entirely shame myself with some mad leaping about to ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by D:Ream.
We have cuddled, and chatted and read a jillion books. He has learned to send emails and ride his scooter. He has been brave enough top jump into the swimming pool and allow his head to go all the way under the water. He has grown about a foot, or at least it seems, and grown into an even more caring and lovely wee boy who makes me roar laughing at least once a day.
But I think I have learned more from my summer at home with him – and I’m not just talking about learning a whole new appreciation for a glass of wine at the end of a long day.
I’ve learned a whole new appreciation for him – and for being a mammy. I’ve been forced to slow down and do things at his pace. I’ve been privileged to learn more of his quirks and habits. The last time we spent this much time together was when I was maternity leave when he was tiny - and in many ways he was much easier as a newborn. I could put him a cot and he would sleep. I could take him to town in his pram and he wouldn’t demand to go to the toy shop or get bored after fifteen minutes.
Now, I admit, he sets the agenda and I tag along doing my best to keep him in check and make sure he doesn’t turn into a spoiled article.
When there have been times I would have been happy to sit down and relax in front of the TV or with a good book (or, indeed writing a good book) he has encouraged me to head out to the park and whiz down the slides with him or push him higher on the swings.
My summer has definitely been richer for it and I know that when I return to work the memories of the last two months will be even more important to me. Sure I might have donned my rose tinted glasses already and be pushing the memories of the hour long whining sessions to the back of my head – but isn’t that what motherhood is ultimately all about? Take the rough with the smooth – remember the good times and congratulate yourself on surviving another day.
And when all is said and done, the good times are well worth remembering.