For my dear friend Helen

I think this might be something I talk about too much but I think the hardest thing to manage as a parent is the pull. This can be a little tug at your heart strings right through to the feeling of an invisible arm man-handling you backwards.

When they are first born and this tiny little precious bundle of joy, you can’t imagine them being any bigger. You look at their little face with such adoration after waiting all that time to finally see what they look like. Yet you also have a flash through of their life and what they might become, what their little voice will sound like, what sort of hair they will have or if they will have your terrible (yet wonderful) competitive streak in sport. You want time to stand still in this moment forever while you are their everything, yet you also want to press fast-forward just for a sneak preview on what’s to come.

As the first colds, tummy problems and lack of sleep kick in, rocking them in the middle of the night the “just” creeps in. “If you could just get to three months, all will be fine with your tummy and we can all sleep.” That milestone comes and goes and is replaced by: “If you could just get to six months, you will be so much happier sitting up and eating real food.” And so it goes on. The pull of reaching the next stage, whilst being all too aware you are closing the door on a previous stage forever.

Then comes the biggest pull, school. It is incredible to watch your child grow and learn. They run out of school beaming with pride at getting star of the week or an amazing score on a test and your heart sings with delight. The pull is so present though when you realise you don’t actually get to see a huge part of their life. Do they remember the manners you meticulously instilled? Are they that kid that helps their friends up when they fall? If someone is sad, do they ask why? Are they reaching their full potential? Are they happy?

Little in-jokes and sayings creep in you know nothing about and it’s really hard not to feel sad but equally thrilled they have slightly flown the nest and aren’t completely dependent on you anymore. They are a whole human being on their own without you there to help or answer for them. The relentless pull strikes again though as you balance between the two emotions, desperate not to topple either way.

One thing this pandemic has given us with lockdown upon lockdown is time. As a family, time somewhat did stand still as we relied on each other for emotional, moral and human support. To take the rough with the smooth, I will forever be grateful to have had the extra time with my school starter and a brother already there, though perhaps it’s already a little rose-tinted now we are the other side of home schooling.

So to anyone else feeling the pull, I’m right here with you. I am happy to give you a little friendly push to counterbalance when you need it, or a gentle reminder you are a wonderful parent doing an amazing job.

South Holland Hicksville 😂

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