Don’t want to sound over the top but I do particularly adore my children just lately, I pretty much love everything about them.
I love that M cut out 30 bits of paper and wrote a joke on each of them for every child in her class. I love that L has not let the cast on her leg or her crutches stop her from having fun – she hopped into the playground yesterday and saw only what she could do, rather than the things impossible for her right now. I love it that they both still really care if I’m there on sports day. I love their silly jokes, their delicious giggles, our conversations. I love the way they love each other, even whilst driving each other up the wall.
They’ve always been pretty damn excellent as children go, but things are now just so much easier. I think this might be the golden age range for parenting.
At around 7 to 9 years old, they’re old enough to get ready (almost) by themselves, to go out without whinging, to amuse themselves for ages while I get on with something else, to have intelligent, fun conversations, to learn all kinds of amazing things and to express their emotions. But they’re young enough to get excited about sleeping in my bed because it’s the weekend, to want stories read to them, to demand loads of hugs, to come and perch on my lap whilst I’m doing something else, to need me.
But it’s not just their age. For me, there is something very lovely about being a single parent and that is the self-sufficiency I’ve come to feel as a unit with my daughters which brings with it a different kind of closeness. For all the times over the past couple of years when I’ve really felt the gaping hole in our new family set-up, these days I’m feeling a sense of contentment and completeness when it’s just the three of us.
Yes, it can be harder when I’m the only adult in the room, outnumbered. There’s no-one to whom to deflect arguments and no-one to back me up, but it’s also less complicated. When two parents decide a rule or a boundary, there will always be subtle differences in your versions of the rules, because, well, you’re human. When it’s just me, my version IS the rule. Amen to that.
The hard times can be more intense, but so are the good times. When we’re snuggled up in bed on a weekend morning, I’m not sharing their cuddles with anyone. I feel like the luckiest person alive when I have my gorgeously sleepy daughters nestling in to me, one on each side. When we’re out and about and we walk hand in hand, sometimes I tune into the warmth and energy from each small palm, and I feel it flowing into my hands, and mine into theirs, so that the three of us are like a single being, three-headed and invincible (yes!), energy flowing round the circuit of us.
I know the days of them both wanting to snuggle in bed for as long as possible and both clamouring to hold my hand are seriously numbered so I’m making the most of them right now. And of course things aren’t rosy all the time, we have plenty of grumps, fights, shouting and tears, but the ratio of rosy to dark is favourable right now so I’m grabbing it all with both of my coveted hands.