Yesterday I had a day alone with the twins, thanks to various social arrangements keeping the big boys out of the house all day. What bliss it was to spend the day with my two babies, without the constant interruptions and demands of their older brothers.
After our long and much needed naps for both me and the babies I took them out for a walk in our local park. The leaves on the trees are all turning so the horizon is an dazzling blend of shades, with bright golds blurring into darker umber and vibrant red, all sprinkled with the odd prickle of acid green from those trees determined to hang onto their summer finery until the bitter end. Those leaves that have fallen from the branches crunched under the wheels of the pushchair and the light was that unique mix of day and dusk with a dark, rose pink sunset just peeking out above the clouds. The air was chilled without the bitter bite of cold that is just around the corner. In short it was my perfect sort of a late afternoon.
As I wandered past the playground where both my big boys have spend many happy hours since they were little, filled at this time of day with the after school and after nap crowd of little children and their parents, all enjoying the last few afternoons where the park is still a tempting prospect, I got to thinking about what a lovely phase of life we are all in right now.
Of course us mums of little children have it hard, they are a lot of work and I am certainly not immune to days when I long for my boys to be grown up and able to wipe their own bottoms, make their own meals, stay in bed past 7am and go out and leave me in peace. But if I am honest I suspect this is the happiest I will ever be in my life.
I don't mean that the rest of life is a bleak canvas, but I think that for me my little sons add such a vibrancy to life that once they are grown and gone I will spend the rest of my years reminiscing about the glory days of their youth. I have a sneaking feeling that everything else one does with life is just filling in time, creating pleasure that is simply there in the gummy smile of a baby, the wobbly canter of a toddler, a cosy cuddle with a tiny child or the gushing adoration of a little boy.
I love a decadent weekend away, a good film at the cinema, a meal out or a cosy evening in a deux as much as the next person, and I do look forward to the days when these leisurely pursuits feature more prominently in my life. But I savour the days with my children in a way that I never have with any of these other transitory pleasures of life. I know my time with my little boys is finite and this gives it a profundity that is absent from the more indulgent joys in life.
I suppose I adore being needed, feeling like I am the leading lady in their little lives. I love watching them grow and develop, watching indistinct newborns turn into people in their own right. I love the silly words they pronouce with such gravitas in those early days of speech, I love the wobbly walk of a boy who has only just acquired this new skill, the shuffling crawl that gets them into all sorts of trouble. The baggy bottoms of those toddler trousers, swelled up with a nappy that sags and bags to indicate the dire need for a change. I love the empassioned cuddles, the limitless enthusiam and energy of the very young. The way that they can find fun in everything they do, from a baby in screaming fits of giggles as he bangs a saucepan with a wooden spoon to my eldest boy laughing with delight as he played chicken with the icy waves on a Welsh beach.
I wish that I could capture this time in amber, bottle it up along with that delicious baby fragrance of warm, sweet milk, crushed rusk and powdery talc, so I could take a deep draft of it when my life is tidily, peacefully free of little ones, just to roll back the years and step back for an instant into the happy chaos of mummyhood once more. I suppose that's what grandchildren are for.....