Monday, 4 February 2013

All aboard the motherhood express

When I first started this blog it was when my twins were virtually newborn. They had just popped out all wrinkled and pink and I was once again negotiating my way through the thick fog of new motherhood. This is a strange time in a mum's life, when each filled nappy or broken night seems worthy of recording for posterity.

In my ignorance I thought this was the most compelling stage of motherhood. Perhaps because it is so intense, so physical and so all-consuming. As you wait on tenterhooks for all those firsts from smiles to steps, from solids to sleeping through the night, your days and month lurch from one noteworthy achievement to the next.

As your children get older it's not like that any more. Instead of time stretching out ahead of you measured moment by moment, it starts to speed up. It's akin to when a train has finally left the chain of suburban stations that continually halt its progress on the way out of a big city, and is suddenly out in the open countryside speeding along with the trees and fields blurring as you attempt to catch a glimpse of their beauty.

This is how it feels when as children grow up. Rather than waiting around to see what they will do next, I feel as if I am sprinting to keep up with each new development. They are visibly changing and before I have mastered one stage they are rushing off to the next. It seems just moments ago that I was agonising over selecting primary schools, but now I am worrying about tutors to get the oldest into secondary school.

Everyone warned me it would be like this. That their childhood would sweep past me like an irresponsible pilot doing a flyby. I wasn't convinced as my days dragged with the tedium of nappy changes and feeding routines. I already felt as if motherhood had lasted a lifetime.

As my parents in law pored over faded albums showing them smiling on holidays with the chubby toddler who had grown into my husband it looked as if it was a lifetime ago. But now I understand why their nostalgia was tinged with puzzlement over how the squirming little boy captured in the photo had become the man turning the pages of the album.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of that transition in my own son. I can still see the baby in him, but now I am also beginning to discover the man he will become and as I watch him grow I wonder how I could ever have thought the interesting bit of parenthood ended the moment they are no longer babies.

No comments:

Post a Comment