The move from preschool to primary school has become a biennial routine for us. Isaac went off to ‘big boy school’ for the first time two years ago (although it feels like only a couple of months in my mind’s eye). Toby started this week. And in two years’ time it will be Kara’s turn.
So much has happened in each of their lives in those 24 months since Isaac trotted off to school in his pristine uniform with his book bag tucked proudly under his arm. Wobbly teeth, chicken pox, summer holidays no longer taken in ‘shoulder season’, good days, not-so-good days, lives that increasingly resemble an episode of Outnumbered – a million and one little moments, 99% of which are soon lost to the fallibility of human memory.
But for every moment that is forgotten, there is one which sticks in my mind. There are the big milestones – birthdays, Christmases, holidays, great days out – but there are also the little ones too.
For me, it’s the little moments that dominate in the chaotic collage of images that is my memory.
Included in the sample of images above is a wealth of happy memories. The boys’ day out of no special significance, but which both Isaac and Toby independently thanked me for afterwards as being “the best day ever”. The instant bond both boys developed with their sister after she was born. The time Toby gave himself the mother of all black eyes after running into the frame of a sofa bed. (Social Services *not* required!) A reminder of Isaac’s intense ‘pink period’. A sledding crash with speed-freak Toby which left me missing patches of skin on my left arm but which both he and I laugh about now.
All of these mental snapshots are trivial in the grand scheme of things – I rather doubt historians will be rushing to record the minutiae of my ordinary life for future posterity – but equally they are uniquely personal to me.
And it’s no coincidence that so many of these images involve displays of affection between family members. While Toby is more the stoic type, both his older and younger siblings regularly dip into their never-ending suitcase of cuddles and kisses. It’s moments like those that make being a parent so rewarding, and it’s why I’m grateful to live at a time when capturing such snapshots with modern phones is so easy to do.
Research conducted for Fairy shows that the thing that mums with school-aged children miss the most about their children’s pre-school days is their kisses and cuddles, something that brands such as Fairy have been contributing to for decades through their laundry products.
I get that. A cuddle is a small thing, but it matters. It’s one of the few constants of the last 6½ years since we became parents. From sleepless nights to teething pains to those nappy ‘incidents’, from transferring to their own bedrooms and from cot to bed, from first steps to toilet training to that first moment where they take off on two wheels unassisted – we have always had cuddles to offer both comfort and congratulations.
So when I ask myself the question, “Where does the time go?” I know what the answer is. I’ve been spending it building special relationships with each of my kids, one cuddle at a time. It just goes to show, time really does fly when you’re having fun. Enjoy this time while it lasts and embrace those little moments!