Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A Truly Special Brew

This afternoon, as my children ran around the garden in superhero suits, I made a pot of tea.  It was loose leaf Assam, and it was wonderful.  It's become a fairly regular pleasure of late, and always makes me feel charmingly Edwardian.  I feel as though the vicar might pop by at any moment, ideally on a bicycle, and enquire about my forsythia (for some reason I am obsessed with forsythia today, I have no idea why, sorry).

Anyway, as I sipped my tea, I realised a milestone had passed without my noticing.  My tea was hot, and indeed has been for some time.  When did this happen?  I remember shedding actual tears when my first son was only a few weeks old - tears for hot tea.  Tears for a time when a woman could make a cup of tea and drink it without (obviously, a very sensible) fear of scalding the baby, or a cycle of feeding, winding, nappy changing and crying keeping said woman away from her tea until it had gone distinctly lukewarm.  I remember genuinely envying my husband for going to work and being able to consume hot beverages whenever he liked.  Now, in a faintly more rational mood, I concede he probably can't just stick his phone on mute mid-conference call and head off for a Lapsang Soucho, but back then it seemed like that's what everyone else was doing.  Every other adult I knew was probably quaffing the stuff in steaming mugfuls, while I - in NEED of caffeine - couldn't get near it.

I'll be honest, in the early years people always said "Oh, enjoy this time, it's gone before you know it", and more often than not my smile in return was through gritted teeth.  The early baby years were not my finest.  I didn't feel maternal instincts coursing through my veins immediately.  Oh but I had love in abundance, the sort of love that fulfills all the cliches and genuinely does make you catch your breath in wonder at the small people you've created.  It's a love that pours out of me freely and easily, much like the kids spilling their squash, but I kept waiting for some sense of  'just knowing' what to do, and it didn't really come for a long time.  Mr W and I have always been fairly academic sorts, so we stuck our heads down, read a ton of books and kept going until somehow we all popped through the other side.  And here I am, drinking hot tea.

Over the last few weeks both children have been offered their school and nursery places, and now I can see parents buying school uniforms (yes, for September, yes I know it's April), and making plans for what they'll do until 3pm each day.  For ages I've looked forward to buying the little name labels to sew into my eldest's school uniform as and when he gets it.  And yet suddenly I find myself saying "Oh there's no rush" and smiling fondly at Mums with babies in the park, almost daring myself to tell them how quickly it passes.  I remember Mr W and I remarking during the baby years that every time we got the hang of it, the goal posts would move and we'd be on to a new stage.  It didn't occur to me at the time that this could just be parenthood in general (maybe Mr W clocked it but thought it wise not to mention it to a woman who was already crying about tea).

And so we roll towards the next chapter, I suppose.  As a frazzled mum of a newborn, the first day of school seemed miles away.  Suddenly, it looms large and I feel a compulsion to squeeze every last superhero-costumed drop out of the coming months.  If you are reading this with children of a similar age, then good luck, old chum, as we prepare for this new adventure.  If you're still in the baby years, come on over and I'll gladly cuddle the baby while you try the Assam...

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