As the sun sets on what has undoubtedly been the best summer of my life, I’m feeling so very full.
To say that Harry came along and turned both mine and Adam’s lives upside down is an understatement, and yet it was absolutely in all the best ways, without exception. This year has been absolutely full of firsts. Our first cuddle, first feed, first nappy, first cold, first holiday, first bump and bruise, first word, first tantrum, first steps. It’s also been full of laughter, full of love and yes, occasionally some of the toughest moments of our lives too. But spending my days gazing at the baby I so desperately longed for and dreamt of was the greatest remedy to any hard time.
Without question, being Harry’s mama is one hundred percent what I was put on this earth for. Before he came along, our lives were already full, but now with him along for the journey they are overflowing. These past 365 days have been the absolute best days of my life. Truly, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
Harry is, in one word, wonderful. That is to say, he is absolutely full of wonder. And I am beyond privileged to see the world anew, reframed through his big blue eyes. He’s given me a healthy dose of perspective, and more than ever I know what matters to me, where my lines in the sand are drawn, and what quite frankly, I couldn’t care less about. I’m more focused on channeling my energy into people and experiences that bring myself and our family joy. I’m less bothered about what I can’t control, and I’m learning to say no and mean it – without apologising. It’s been pretty liberating. As a family, we’ve made memories I know will stay with us for the rest of our lives. I can’t wait to add to them as Harry grows, but as with all good things, change is inevitable.
Tomorrow I’ll return to work, in a role that I enjoy, on a part-time basis. As a family we don’t need me to go back to work, but I do want to and I’m very aware that I’m fortunate to have that choice. In recent years I’ve worked hard to progress in a career that I’m proud of, and I want Harry to grow up in a family where he sees both his parents working and contributing equally to all aspects of our life together.
My return to work also affords Adam a choice too. To that end, Adam will be reducing his hours at work too so that he can share more time with Harry, something I couldn’t be more excited about for him. They have the most beautiful relationship, and I’m sure Harry will love ‘Boys’ Club’ as it’s affectionately come to be known in our home. They even have a theme tune…
We will essentially both be working a three day week (albeit three very long days) and between us, his grandparents and nursery I think Harry will have a great balance of time with Mama and Dada, as well as some room to grow and develop independently. I know it will be good for him, and for us.
But goodness me, my year of maternity leave has just flown by in a haze of dribbly kisses, sweaty, limpet-like cuddles, heart-melting smiles and contagious gummy giggles. It felt like forever before he arrived, and I even kept putting off going on leave as I felt fine and wanted to keep working. But now it feels like I’ve blinked and it’s almost over. I will miss my little sidekick more than anything – no amount of time with him would be enough. I question whether this is the right decision for us on a daily basis as I have just adored spending every day with my sunshine boy. The feeling of leaving him is completely gut-wrenching, but my hope is that it will ultimately help him thrive and broaden his horizons, not to mention continue to develop his already *fairly* good social skills – face slapping, hair pulling and glasses stealing especially, though he branched out to feeling up waitresses on holiday last week – eeek. Joking aside, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I’ll likely miss some of his firsts, that I won’t be there to kiss him better when he bumps his head or comfort him every time he is sad and I’m still totally not okay with that, but I also know with unwavering certainty that he will forgive me, he will be ok and that he won’t forget me for two days a week (I’m totally going to be popping down for cuddles on my homeworking day).
I know there’ll be a few deep breaths needed on that first day back, and more than a few tissues to dry my tears. I’ve already shed enough to cause flash flooding across the south west. But they’re also tears of gratitude. I’m so grateful to be Harry’s mama and I know that this is just the start of a brand new chapter in our adventures together. I’m just not quite ready to turn the page yet.