Dear Samuel… 265 days

530 days together

530 days together

Dear Samuel,

265 days. 265 days in, and here you are now: 265 days out.

265 days today

265 days today

I am so proud of you.

I took you to ‘The Little Gym’ playgroup today. The group was for 10 months plus, but the younger groups do not meet at the weekend. We decided to see how you would do in a group for older children. You tried everything. With only one other crawler (a strapping 13 month old), you still kept pace with the big kids. As the group was reaching the end of their semester, they were far into the moves; today was ‘finishing off’ tumbling. You have never tumbled, but you tried. You rolled over the blocks on your tummy, stretching your hands out for the ground. You were not so impressed at the idea of ‘tucking your head under’, but you let us flip your legs over your head. You looked confused – why were we doing this? Wasn’t just crawling sufficient? But, OK, you were game – and you even let us do it backwards. You let Miss Nicky use you as a demonstration baby for the class, although you kept casting glances at me to make sure it was OK. You sat in a large foam donut while we span you round and around on a parachute singing our ‘A, B, Cs’. Again, you looked confused [why do adults do such weird things?], but after a moment you looked resigned, and despite the crying toddlers around you, you smiled and clapped along. Thank you for humoring us. You were adventurous, you were fun, you were brave and you were sweet-natured.

I am so proud of you.

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When I think about what this day means to me, I think about independence. I think about 265 days you were in me. For 257 I knew about you. For another 5 I suspected you were there. I spent 262 days working so hard to keep you safe inside me. I fretted over every can of mini Diet Coke, I worried about your stress when I had dental surgery, I choked down vegetables when I could. Then you came into thid world and you were even more vulnerable. Tiny, so tiny. You couldn’t even control your eyes. As parents our job was clear: to love you and nurture you so that you felt safe enough to leave us and gain independence. As much as we wanted to hold you close to us endlessly, we saw our job, very clearly, as being to give you the skills you needed to function in this world on your own, although we are always behind you. And you have! You go to bed on your own, in your own room, with ‘Mr Wolf’ to keep you company. You play in your room by yourself, pushing your cars along and shaking your tambourine, for ages at a time.

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You feed yourself, and you talk: you tell us when you want breakfast, or your bottle, and when you need your Mama.

Mmmmm... sushi

Mmmmm… sushi

I see in you the ability to take the world on, to meet challenges head on, and step outside of your comfort zone and rise up a level when things are difficult.

Learning how to play

Learning how to play

I got this!

I got this!

I am so proud of you.

Putting your aquarium on for bedtime

Putting your aquarium on for bedtime

But more than we have given to you, you have given to us. You love us unconditionally, and despite all our mistakes, you have turned out pretty damn brilliantly. You bought out Daddy’s best side: he looks after us so well. You have made him build us a home, and fiercely protect us, but with gentleness. You have taught me to trust myself and to trust my decisions. You have taught me flexibility and not to judge others. You taught me not to sweat the small stuff – what was stopping breastfeeding early, in return for all the hours we got together? And from the unconditional love you have given me, from your first word being a very clear “Mama” said with outstretched arms when I was off to work, you have taught me that I am worthy of love and that I earn it: I have the love I earned well. You, in learning to be independent from me, gave me independence from my insecurities.

I am so grateful to you.

You made us, us!

You made us, us!

I am, and always will be, so proud of you.

May this journey be long, and may we always be hand in hand, even as we forge our own paths.

First playground trip

First playground trip

Happy 265 days Little One.

Mama.

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