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Well …

January 9, 2013

… a rare quiet moment with a little time to reflect …

who’d have thought it … not just did I have a baby, I had a baby a whole year ago … we’ve celebrated Christmas and New Year together and her first birthday … is she still a baby? I guess she always will be to me … she’s not toddling yet so I can’t call her a toddler, but she seems far more than a baby now, not quite a teenager, but an opinionated, feisty, funny, stubborn little soul who at times seems wildly independent and other times clings on to me  feasting and snuffling in the manner of a new born feral creature. I now have a one year old daughter and that makes me absurdly happy, extraordinarily humble and very proud.

We celebrated … we waved wooden spoons together at New Year, we ate and walked and laughed together at Christmas and for her birthday we painted on cups, put our handprints on plates, we ate pizza with remarkable women and wonderful children, we gasped and giggled as birthday balloons broke free and floated away on the breeze, a remarkable photographer and very dear friend took some wonderful photographs of our family, we shared cake (no not mine) with the congregation at church and we enjoyed welcoming old friends for a ‘party’ … I let the candle on her cake (yes the one I made) and together we blew it out and then shared the first slice. It really didn’t taste too bad at all … must have been all the love that went into it!!

up up and away ... the birthday balloons

up up and away … the birthday balloons                              Photo credit Paul Clarke (c) 2013 all rights reserved

Friends and family were so so generous, our thank you letter list goes onto 4 pages, I was quite overwhelmed by the love and kindness that people showed … (not quite so much by the plastic mobile phone her Uncle gave her and the even louder plastic music cube her adventurous Godfather sent via Amazon (he must have typed ‘noisy plastic baby toy’ into a search engine to come up with it!!!) Hope was given some wonderful books, beautiful clothes, lovely wooden toys, a perfect embroidered sampler and a knitted snowman … Hope loves her new wooden drum, the knitted snowman and predictably the noisy music cube and mobile phone, “you can never have enough plastic” was the triumphant comment my brother made when he gave it to her!!! Just wait til next Christmas and he has more than one child!!

I think Hope’s favourite part of Christmas and her birthday was the opening of cards, she loved it, waving envelopes, tearing paper, pulling cards out, examining them, opening, closing, touching the pictures and the writing and then piling them all up on one side of her. She also liked to eat wrapping paper, or try to!

She wasn’t phased by the many people who came and went throughout the last few weeks and probably was the happiest I’ve ever seen her on her birthday when we were sitting in a basement studio with a huge bunch of balloons with 5 of my favourite people and 8 of their children. She sat up in her high chair at the centre of the table and beamed at everyone it was wonderful.

The whole last month has been an emotional roller coaster for me … the joy of firsts (Birthday, Christmas, New Year) and so on and the at times crippling exhaustion which comes from doing so much and often with little sleep. I’m not sure if I mentioned that Hope contracted chicken pox on Christmas Day … only very mildly thank goodness but badly enough for her to have a high temperature and an outbreak of spots and to feel really rather grim… that in turn disrupted her sleep pattern … that and having cousins staying which was huge fun … end result was that I didn’t have the most sleep I’ve ever had over the last few weeks and needed to do more night feeding than I have done, so my shoulders ache, my arms ache, my knees hurt and I do feel very weary physically. Emotionally I’m on a high, buoyed up by my love for my very engaging small person and the aches and pains do fade away, but at times I do crave a massage or a swim … trouble is that those times tend to be when I have to get work done or do the mundane things like washing, cleaning, bed making or joyful things like thank you letters!! I’m not complaining though, I’d rather ache all over and have broken sleep for ever than be without my girl…

I think probably the highlight of this incredible time has been sharing it with friends and family.

proud family at the end of a happy birthday

proud family at the end of a happy birthday                                       Photo credit Paul Clarke (c) 2013 all rights reserved

The love that both of Hope’s grandmothers have for her is so special, the joy I have felt at having my own child at family gatherings is something I never imagined I could experience and feel very humbled by, and the fun of seeing friends children with Hope is again something quite magical. My most personal joy has been the quiet times spent just with my mother and my daughter together … they have their own special gang of two which I’m not part of but I love watching them together and so cherish this time we have had this last year.

Hope is now very much her own person which has caused me to reflect on what I write about her and our lives here.

This is my blog, not hers and while she and The Spaniard have been a main reason for the blog’s existence … my pregnancy, her birth and our first year, I think that it is right to bring it back to me as the next year unfolds. It is inevitable that my girl will feature from time to time as she is such a vast part of my life and fills my world but I think now is the time, one year on, to bring it back to me, my experiences as a very geriatric old mother, my coping with the joys and challenges I face and my response to them and the wider world.

So then … here I sit … 48 1/2 years old, one of the oldest first time mothers in the UK … with a one year old, with a great need for freelance work and for some more sleep. Happy, tired, inspired, a little daunted but confident as I look forward to the year ahead … older, hopefully wiser and hoping to be the best mother I possibly can be.

I still wonder, is it all real or will I wake up sometime and find it has all been some kind of a dream….

maybe …

or perhaps, just perhaps, it is true and now I really am living in the land of Hope and dreams (to steal Mr Springsteen’s song title). I count my blessings on a daily basis and feel so so fortunate.

Hope and dreams

Hope and dreams                                    Photo credit Paul Clarke (c) 2013 all rights reserved




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