Thursday, 18 July 2013

The First of the Lasts





I was talking to my friend Rachel today about an article she recently read in the paper on "the firsts of the lasts". About how, as parents, we're so focused on the firsts. First steps, first words, the first day at school. But the lasts - they sneak up on us. We don't know it's going to be the last time we read our child a bedtime story because the next time they would prefer to read to themselves - they decide that. We don't know it's the last time they'll want help climbing the slide because next time they'll do it themselves, and the time after that, and after that.

There are lots of "lasts" and changes afoot here in our house lately, big and little. It was my last weekly lunch with Rachel before she moves away and it marks the end of an era for me, the end of my time as a stay at home mum. Rachel was always my stay at home mum buddy. Tomorrow is the last day of term - Angus's last day at nursery and Bella's last day in year one. And today was John's last day at work. After almost ten years he (we) have decided to take voluntary redundancy and...I don't know. He might go back into the same area he was in, he might not. We might move, we might not. He will definitely get another job! This has been simmering away in the background for months but now that he's left it feels real. But it is positive - it's given him the push to leave a job he has not enjoyed for some time - one where there is very little opportunity for career progression - with some money in our pockets. It's making us be brave and take risks - something that doesn't come easily to us. I'm going to have to think about returning to work at some point, whether I want to or not. I'm not sure I'll enjoy being at home full time with two children in school - I'm worried the days will feel long and I do like to be busy.

Talking of busy, this last week has been mental. On top of the usual there have been school parties, nursery picnics, nursery parties, cheerleader performances. Everything seems to require something - a costume, a cake, my time. I do love it though. This was the part of parenting I signed up for, the bit I enjoy. You can keep your newborns, teething and weaning - these are the best days, right now. Whatever comes next.


****************************************


Above are a few snaps from the last week because I just can't do a post without photos:

:: An as-yet unidentified plant in the garden which looks like it might burst into flower but never does.
:: Lavender in a pretty vintage jug on top of the stove at Abigail's house.
:: Savoury mince pasties for the nursery picnic.
:: Cute wooden cutlery for teacher's presents (but really for the outdoor playhouse).
:: Making strawberry jam.
:: More teacher gifts - I'll do a post on these soon, they came out really well.




60 comments:

  1. My daughter's just had her last day at primary school, sad, but will also lead to more exciting times. Enjoy a peaceful weekend after your busy week :) xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. The flower is a small version of an Allium. It should be dark purple.

    Naomi

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh wow, exciting times! I remember reading that same article - it made me cry I think, it was so sweetly written (the fact I had a teeny baby when I read it may have led to the tears too!).
    Love the look of the teacher presents too, I'll look forward to seeing more about them.
    x
    P.S looks like an allium - something like this? http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Harlow-Carr/About-Harlow-Carr/Plant-of-the-month/August/Allium-sphaerocephalon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, agreed, it's an allium. And it might turn purple too which is very exciting! x

      Delete
  4. Wow, what a lot of changes! I hope that despite all the upheaval and not knowing, things work out ok in the end.
    Hope you enjoy the day of lasts tomorrow and have a really restful weekend in the sunshine. At least they'll be no more weekends with John working - I imagine you must be pleased. x
    (PS: Those teacher presents look amazing. I'm intrigued! Beyond the presents though, I hope all my parents next year are as lovely and interested in their children's education and wellbeing as you are! x)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good luck with all the changes ahead for you all. x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh exciting times Gillian ... wishing you all, all the luck in the world with your plans ... Bee xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lots changing in your neck of the woods, I'm a great believer that things happen for a reason, I'm sure John will find something which will make him happy. I also am entering my last few weeks as a SAHM as my youngest starts full time school in September and I will be looking for part time work to fit round being a mummy and a student....enjoy your summer xx

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lots changing in your neck of the woods, I'm a great believer that things happen for a reason, I'm sure John will find something which will make him happy. I also am entering my last few weeks as a SAHM as my youngest starts full time school in September and I will be looking for part time work to fit round being a mummy and a student....enjoy your summer xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Change can be scarey but it's nothing to fear, we all need to have change in our lives or we stagnate and the thing I find is everything usually works out for the best if you make it ;) Reading your blog it sounds like you have a lovely life and a lovely family and they are lucky to have a Mum who makes things such fun.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your post is so touching, Gillian, with all the firsts and lasts and all that's in-between! You must be feeling a swirl of emotions, happy, hopeful, nervous...but what excitement lies ahead! Everything will work out just as it should - it always does. Enjoy every minute, and keep creating! Chrissie x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Really interesting post Gillian. It is so true that about the firsts and the lasts. My daughter will be a junior in September where does the time go?
    I'm sure the changes will work out for the best.
    Enjoy you little ones x

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gillian, this is a very special post. Thanks for sharing so much with all of us. I know everything will work out for the best for your family. We have changes coming up in our house, too. Charlotte will start preschool three mornings a week in late August. We may be moving for my husband's job later this year. And once Charlotte begins kindergarten next year, I will also return to work (part-time). Not only could we use the extra money, but I don't want to be home all day by myself (I like to stay busy, too). This post made me a little teary, but I know that there are lots of good times ahead with our children as they grow older. You are a very dear person-thanks for being here!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I wish you lots of luck with everything. It's hard to make changes and take risks but I'm here to tell you that it's worth it. I am sure everything will work out - you're smart and you have your priorities right. I know it will all fall into place.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The top photo looks like a drumstick allium. Being so warm over there this year, you may get flowers. Mine are up, but as yet no buds. I commiserate with you on the unknown, (though ours is retirement looming) and wish you all the best for whatever you decide. Life is one long journey with many twists, bends and hills to climb, but I think most of us can make it an adventure. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This post actually made me cry... Just as I was imagining how creative it was to photograph the edge of strawberries in a bowl (love that photo btw) I began to read about your "lasts", you see I was a stay at home mom for 16 years, and those lasts can be very evil and quick things! I stopped reading your post long enough to call my son Joshua, in less than 12 hours he's leaving for the middle east. I had to tell him I loved him, he stopped needing me long ago but how I love him. Time and the "lasts" are cruel but as long as we enjoy our firsts then we always have something to look back on and precious memories.
    I have a feeling your family will be just fine, everything will work out. There is good karma here... and new adventures can be exciting!
    It was a true blessing to read.this!
    Thank you,
    Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  16. A very interesting post Gillian. It reminded me of the quote,
    As long as we have memories, yesterday remains. As long as we have hope, tomorrow waits. As long as we have love, today is beautiful.
    Love to you all. Claire xo

    ReplyDelete
  17. Firstly I send you a hug Gillian because reading this that's what i wanted to do. I know exactly what you're talking about with last things and moving from being stay-at-home-Mum to working once school is routine is not an easy shift. I hate the wistfulness of these endings and find they weigh quite heavy on the heart - all I can say is that despite that, I've found a lot of new beginnings come on the back of the endings. Making life changes such as taking voluntary redundancy are huge events but exciting ones and again I am sure all sorts of happy new beginnings await you all. E x

    ReplyDelete
  18. The lasts hurt so much, but I keep telling myself it is the way things should be. I am looking for a full-time job which breaks my heart. But it must be done, so there is nothing else to be said about it. In the meantime, the summer holidays are here (last day of school today, hurray!) and I am focusing on enjoying the here and now. It is all I can do. I do hope you have a wonderful summer too, and that everything works out well.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi friend I love your blog always has nice things here, hugs ...

    http://www.titacarre.com
    http://vitrine.elo7.com.br/titacarre

    ReplyDelete
  20. First of all, as well as looking like the plant might be an allium, it might also be an agapanthus? They start like this and then open up into wonderful umbels.
    And your husband's 'career change'. I hope all goes well - my husband was with the same company for 35 years and loved his work, but being in the same company for that length of time seldom happens these days, life has changed so much since he started working. We are now retired but I still enjoy reading your post - I reckon I'm perhaps your oldest reader!
    We've often mentioned to each other that we never know when it will be a 'last' - even the last time we see someone, or visit a particular place.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautiful post Gillian. I love how you are embracing these changes. I seriously think rather than finding a job outside the home you should be writing for a living! X

    ReplyDelete
  22. Gosh you have a a LOT going on Gillian ..... change can sometimes be unsettling but it's good for us, I am rubbish at it though!
    I know what you mean about 'lasts' sneaking up, i look back at my big children now and wonder when things changed, sometimes without me even knowing.
    enjoy the summer sweet friend x
    love jooles xxx

    ReplyDelete
  23. So true about the lasts. I always feel a pang when the toys and books are sorted and some are chosen for the charity shop because they are deemed 'to young for me now.' Some things make it to the shop, somethings I sneak to the loft to keep.
    You have a great many changes going on, good luck with them all.
    Lisa x

    ReplyDelete
  24. So many changes in your life which are mostly mirroring my own, I am not looking for work. I hope your lasts turn into some wonderful firsts for you all.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I wish you all the best for the changes that lie ahead, both those of your choosing and those that come upon you. Don't worry, there will be many more 'firsts' for you all :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Good luck with all the changes :) I've had so many this year and tbh they've made me a stronger person.

    The lasts can be as good as the first in so many ways - last days at one school open up to firsts in new horizons :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. i love pasties...

    anyway, yes, lasts sneak up. a good argument for enjoying every minute with them, but of course, that's unrealistic, but we can be mindful of it and note those special moments, like reading at bedtime.

    my girl won't be in full-time ed for another few years! if she were, i could fill my days to over-flowing lol.

    it sure is frightening and exciting, starting new adventures with your life. i wish you tons of insight for your direction as a family.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love reading your posts, you always seem so real and down to earth... Your pasties look great, I am not that great at pastry making, but my 10 year old is ... maybe I will make some today too. LOVE your Picnic Napkin and cutlery set , very nice idea. Looking forward to seeing the teachers presents.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Change is good Gillian, albeit a little anxiety inducing! Go with the flow, I'm sure things will work out well for you both whatever you decide. Your positive attitude will see you through x

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have learnt to try and embrace the changes and focus on the positives. I am sure that your hubby will move on to something fabulous. The universe provides.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What a moving post Gillian. I believe that life works in chapters, rather like a book. As one closes, another opens and, of course, with any change comes opportunity. I wish you and your little family every happiness as you embark on your new chapter.

    I don't normally do this but I'm adding a link to a poem I blogged about a few months ago called The Last Time - I think it is very relevant to your post today ...

    http://www.pinkmilkjewels.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/its-weekend.html

    Heather x

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow, sounds so exciting! Good luck to all of you. x

    ReplyDelete
  33. The start of a new phase, enjoy the moment. x

    ReplyDelete
  34. "All endings are beginnings. We just don't know it at the time."

    This quote has always reonated with me. Ending creep up on you, don't they? Whetehr you are prepared for them or not. It sounds as if you have a wave of change comming your way. From reading your blog you get a real sense of the strength of you and your husband's relationship. You seem like a couple that could do anything, so I'd go for it. Enjoy the summer with your family, Gillian.

    Leannex

    ReplyDelete
  35. I hope your husband find a good job soon. The fear of being fired hanging over our heads too. Good luck!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. It sounds like it's all change for you at the moment. Good luck with everything, you have some important decisions to make but I'm sure everything will work out just fine.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Scary change, but exciting too....need to keep your thoughts in mind as all seems to be ending for me too! Teacher gift inspiration would be so fab xx

    ReplyDelete
  38. As one door closes another opens, but you caught my breathe with your first of the lasts and made me feel a bit teary. My lad just left school, it's been a while since I last walked him there hand in hand, since he last needed help with homework, since he last needed me to get him up in the morning. As you say you really don't notice the lasts. But he starts college in September so more firsts to come, maybe we don't celebrate the lasts as they are little bits of sorrow. Wishing you all the best for whatever new adventures life will bring ~ Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
  39. Such a beautiful and very touching post. My wee girl doesn't want me to read to her any more at bedtime as she prefers to read on her own now and I must admit it makes me a little sad that I wasn't aware that the last time I read to her at bedtime would be the last time she wanted me to read to her. But as others have said, there will be many many more first to come. It sounds like you have many changes coming but change can be a very positive thing. Wishing you and your family all the best for these new chapters in your life.
    Marianne x
    Ps. I am very much looking forward to seeing those teacher's gifts!

    ReplyDelete
  40. In the words of Dr Seuss, “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

    Sounds like a lot of doors have appeared before you both, some of which might be opened, some of which may stay firmly closed. How very exciting though yes, a little bit scary, too. But if we didn't take risks, we'd never get out of bed.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I am so excited for you all with what the future holds, embrace he changes sweet Gillian and enjoy the ride, so worth taking a little risk here and there x I try to really be mindful of all the first and last experiences my lovely Alice has, being our only child we are very aware of embracing all her moments as these will not be repeated by a sibling x Happy days to you all, the future will bring you what you need xxx Penny

    ReplyDelete
  42. I remember reading that same article about the 'lasts' and sobbing! Looks like the future holds lot of excitement for you and your family, and you are so good at enjoying the 'now' too.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I remember reading that same article about the 'lasts' and sobbing! Looks like the future holds lot of excitement for you and your family, and you are so good at enjoying the 'now' too.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I can only really echo everyone else's comments and add that, whatever path life takes you both on, I'm sure it will always lead to happiness and success. I had to work from necessity but would have chosen to do so anyway. Like you I need to be busy. x

    ReplyDelete
  45. Sounds like exciting times. Good luck with it all. I never thought about 'the lasts' before but it's true. Our little F is growing up fast starting nursery in September I we are definitely passing by some lasts as he becomes more independent. I not much of an expert but I'm sure that flower at the top looks like some sort of allium. But I'm probably wrong! Fiona x

    ReplyDelete
  46. Some years ago we did this ... the children were a little older than your two, the money didn't go as far as we'd hoped ... but even though we took risks it worked out, in fact my only regret is that we didn't take bigger risks! Good luck x

    ReplyDelete
  47. All the best for your brave times ahead. Life has a funny way of tossing us events we didn't plan for, but hold fast and take heart.....it will all work out!

    ReplyDelete
  48. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I may as
    well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.


    My webpage test banken

    ReplyDelete
  49. Yes you are so right these changes certainly creep up in us and slowly our children become more independent and less and less needy if us, it's a strange thing but somehow it's gradual approach does help at times. I'm pleased to hear that you sound positive about the changes ahead I know for us we would love to move and explore somewhere new so I hope that you find the right answers for you all. Exciting times ahead!! Lovely looking pasties. I have just finished making some picnic napkins for our basket and love them. Have already cut some more for my Christmas stall. Yours look really lovely. Looking forward to reading the post about it. Happy weekend to you Gillian xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  50. Oh my gosh Gillian, these are very big changes indeed. I am one who loves change though so I'm very excited for you. Yes, the uncertainty can be stressful but good things always come from that - personal growth and new opportunities. Exciting stuff! Wishing you all the luck in the world with the decision-making process. Mel xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  51. Gillian, how bold and brave and wonderful - what exciting times (and roller coaster times too, I'm sure...) congratulations n making the big leap into the unknown, and I can't wait to hear what the next chapter is for you all - a brilliant one, I'm sure.... Kate x

    ReplyDelete
  52. Gillian, how bold and brave and wonderful - what exciting times (and roller coaster times too, I'm sure...) congratulations n making the big leap into the unknown, and I can't wait to hear what the next chapter is for you all - a brilliant one, I'm sure.... Kate x

    ReplyDelete
  53. I think it's always good to move on when you are ready. Changes may be hard, but may be interesting too.
    As for your friend-my best friend moved to another country when we were 11 y.o. We are still friends! At first (when there was no internet) we wrote long letters to each other (for about 7 years), then it became possible to travel and the Internet era arrived.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Wow, how exciting Gillian, to be on the brink of new adventures and new days. Daunting yes, but what opportunity. Often it's all too easy to carry on same old same old, and it takes something really big to shift that security, that comfort in the familiar (even if the job is pants)! So here's to the last of the past and new beginnings. Enjoy. X

    ReplyDelete
  55. Good luck with the changes. I have my last child at Primary last day this week so I expect lots of tears on Wednesday!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Wow, you're so right, VR is a brave decision and I applaud you both for having the courage to take it. Good luck with your changes and i hope you're courage is rewarded with some fantastic opportunities.

    ReplyDelete
  57. We're going through more lasts than firsts just now and they do sneak up on you! And you've reminded me I need to sort out end of term teacher presents - thank you! Good luck with your exciting times ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Oh Gillian I know just how you feel. We had a similar thing with redundancy a few years back, if we'd know now how it was going to pan out we would of planned and enjoyed it more, but it was a constant worry - a time of uncertainty. I guess what I'm trying to say is enjoy every moment and yes your hubby will get another job.

    Nina x

    ps. My eldest went off to Germany last week - no contact....at all. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life, but I guess I have to keep remembering he will always be there, no matter how far away he is. Take care...n xxx

    ReplyDelete

Hello there! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I read them all avidly and I always try to answer questions.