Well, along with some of you, I have no idea how we can possibly be on the last day of January. Nor can I believe that my son and daughter-in-law are about to have their first baby. She is due in a week. And so the new phase of my life will start.... being a grandparent.
Some of you reading now, are young parents yourselves, and some are grandparents, and then there are others of you who fall in the middle, with growing children. Teenagers. All of you, in one way or another, are related to, or interact with families though, and yes, each and every one of us was a child once.
When you look at those little ones of yours, the thought of being a grandparent one day is borderline ridiculous, isn't it? You can no more imagine the voice of your little guy breaking than you can imagine that sweet girl playing with her dolls one day going off to university. And thinking that the little tot in the pram will one day walk down the aisle? Ludicrous.
You may look at your 3 year old daughter and think that you will never let her go on a date, and that no-one in your family is ever going to walk home in the dark, and hey, you are never going to let your 11 year old go shopping alone......
You may be shattered from sleepless nights, and teething troubles. You may have a teen who thinks he knows it all. Everything. That you are an idiot. You may be sick to death of being the family's resident taxi-chef-laundress-maid-mediator-creative director-finderoflostthings..... the list is endless. Time may be dragging. Days may seem monotonous, with just the company of little ones who can't really have a conversation with you about current afairs, now can they.
But you know what? I have been there in all those places, and I have struggled, and laughed, and cried, and screeched, and longed for time to myself. I have dreamt, and picked up, bathed, read endless stories and played every game imaginable. Cuddled, fed, rocked, held, stroked, touched, loved, fought for, bandaged and relished every single day of being a Mum to my 3 children. There they are over in the sidebar. See? All grown up now.
They are the reason I live here now. They are the reason I chose not to have a career outside my home as they were growing up. I was fortunate to be able to do that. They are the people I pray for daily, and miss when they are all over the place. They are imprinted on my heart. Yes, I could have done many things, but I CHOSE not to. I have never regretted that choice. Not for one single second.
I am about to become a Granny, and I can't wait for this next stage, as you may have gathered. This child of our family is already loved beyond reason, and will be such a blessing. But for the rest of my days, you know, I will still see myself as a Mum, no matter how old my children may be. My memories of all those years you are battling/sailing through now are crystal clear and as much a part of me as my leg is. I smile to myself as I read your posts about your lives with your little ones, and sometimes I sit and think how it can possibly be so long since I had the same problems or delights?
Time marches on exorably, though, and here I am...... a Mum who is going to be so proud to be a Granny in a few days time. Those thoughts I never wanted to consider, like the dates, the driving, the wedding, the walking in the dark, my little boy's voice breaking??? I could no more have stopped them from happening than I could have stopped the world from turning.
They came, and they went, and I changed, as my children grew and changed too. And finally the nest was truly empty and I looked around a home which echoes with memories. Their toddler paintings are framed on the wall of my kitchen. Their books are among mine in the bookcase here next to me. There are traces of them all over my home, and those traces are deeply etched in the confines of my heart too.
The circle keeps turning, and I don't really want it to stop. I can't freeze time, although a multitude of memories are frozen in my mind for all time. I want to keep moving, to feel my heart grow even bigger, as new people, like this little one, burrow their way inside of it, making new etches, new memories.
Daughter, sister, wife, mother - I have been them all ...... and now soon, Granny.