Best years

Family at Christmas time in 2015
Our family during Christmas 2015 – the very first one we’ve celebrated with Jamie.

“These are the best years, contrary to what some people say,” he told us, his face wearing a kindly smile. I almost thought I saw his eyes misted over for a second as he appeared to be reminiscing his own parental journey. 

“My son, he’s 15 now. They won’t be little forever. They’ll grow up, they want to go out, they have their girlfriends… Enjoy them at this stage. These are the dilemmas we face, time… But money you can always make more of when you’re older.” 

There was a glimpse of regret in his eyes as he said it. 

We stood to go, Jamie grinning at the doctor as we exited the clinic. 

“Jamie, say bye bye,” I prompted as we made our way to the door. 

I’d made the trip to our regular GP that morning due to a painful lump in my neck. The advice about parenthood was an unexpected extra, but it served to further affirm my current resolve: To be at home with Jamie and to be available to offer whatever he needed from me, even if it meant taking a step back in my career. 

There are all these worries that accompany the decision. Most days are tiring and long, and I wonder if I’ll emerge haggard, senile and cynical at the end of them all. 

But Jamie smiles every day, and extends his hands out towards me, asking for my embrace. He calls me a myriad of names, “Mmm-meh”, “Meee” and “Mum-mum-ma”. He grows taller every day. His legs and arms swing farther, hit harder each time. 

And I am privileged to be right there as these changes unfold. To notice every little nuance. To applaud each new milestone. 

These are the best years. And there will be better ones to come. 

I don’t know how many years we’ll have together, Jamie, but I hope that when we do reach the end of them, you’ll look back at them and smile at me and say, “Thank you, Mum, for all those glorious times.”

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