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.