Thursday, November 4, 2010

Many Happy Returns

Six years ago tonight I was rushing through country lanes to Bath hospital. I remember tearing down Landsdowne as a roe deer pranced across the road, missing my bumper by inches. When I arrived Jane was waiting; she’d been taken there by ambulance as minor complications set in with her labour.

A few hours later, Dylan arrived and life hasn’t been much quieter since.

I have three sons. Daniel and Michael came almost a year apart; they are in their mid teens. When I see photos of them as toddlers it seems like it was both yesterday and an age ago. Everyone tells you how quickly they grow up, but at the time it doesn’t feel that way. Because when you’re living it, your head is full to bursting with nappies and parties and school and holidays and clothes and jabs and swimming lessons and stupid bloody SATs tests...

So I wonder sometimes, why it is that I’ve so loved going through it all again?

Perhaps I’m more relaxed this time round. Maybe it is that the older boys are almost self-sufficient now – or that it feels easy looking after one in comparison to two?  We’re better off as well; we can get someone to decorate instead of trying to entertain the kids while balancing on a ladder. Or is it simply that Dylan sleeps through the night?

You know, I don’t think it is any of these things. The fact is I loved it the first time too. I might have been knackered but not so much that I didn’t appreciate the singular joy of parenthood. My delight in Dylan is simply that I have a second go at what I thought was a once in a lifetime experience.

I will feel bereft when the ‘big boys’ leave, as they must and will. But at least when that happens, and when I flick through the old photos, I’ll know it isn’t quite over. I’ll have Dylan to remind me, and to hold onto, for a precious few more years.

Happy birthday Dylan – six and counting, slowly.


  1. Ah... counting slowly. Our little 'un is 3 and not little anymore. The baby and toddler stage are hard work but there is so much laughter and fun... it never lasts long enough (like the night's of good sleep).

  2. 'instead of entertaining the kids while balancing on a ladder.' LOL
    that about sums parenting up in a lot of ways doesn't it?
    Happy Birthday to your 6 year old. It's great that you enjoy your boys so much.

  3. Happy Birthday to your lovely son and one that has given you some great blog posts and photos - how grand it will be for him to look back on here and see his childhood laid out like this - lump in throat time, no doubt.

  4. How beautifully wirtten, my son is 21 and I feel what you decribe. I would give anything to turn the clock back and have him as a toddler again. Would I do things different? you bet. Would I do it better? probably not. The most important job in the world and all done by instinct. Enjoy every minute with your lovely boy.

  5. To get two bites at the cherry is wonderful.

  6. Happy Birthday to Dylan. Indeed time does fly, although I have told my oldest that he must stop at 10 ... I'm not sure I'm prepared for to go through the teenage years at all!