It’s the first week of school! In one moment, that sentence creates feelings of extreme joy, a feeling of freedom, a feeling of getting back to a “normalized” schedule. In another moment, that sentence creates feelings of despair, of time slipping away. I’ve seen it both ways on my Facebook feed all week. Parents that feel both ways, yet many more that feel the latter, that TIME is slipping away. I feel it too.
I’ve been thinking about this blog post since Monday when my kids walked out the door. Trying to piece together exactly what I was thinking and trying to capture the feelings of so many people. I thought I had it all figured out and then I opened Twitter this morning and someone else had captured it perfectly. Richard Pringle, on Twitter @LittleRedSpecs_ , has had TIME slip away. He wrote 'The 10 most important things I’ve learnt since losing my beautiful little boy’ listed below.
1. You can never ever kiss and love too much.
2. You always have time. Stop what you're doing and play, even if it's just for minute. Nothing's that important that it can't wait.
3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible. One day that might be all you have.
4. Don't spend money, spend time. You think what you spend matters? It doesn't. What you do matters. Jump in puddles, go for walks. Swim in the sea, build a camp and have fun. That's all they want. I can't remember what we bought Hughie I can only remember what we did.
5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favourite songs. Memories are created in music.
6. Cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most. Don't let those special times pass you by unnoticed.
7. Always kiss those you love goodbye and if you forget. Go back and kiss them. You never know if it's the last time you'll get the chance.
8. Make boring things fun. Shopping trips, car journeys, walking to the shops. Be silly, tell jokes, laugh, smile and enjoy yourselves. They're only chores if you treat them like that. Life is too short not to have fun.
9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie and we will for Hennie too. You'll have these memories written down forever and when you're older you can look back and cherish every moment.
10. If you have your children with you. To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married. You are blessed. Never ever forget that.
I am especially fond of #5, SING. My kids know that I make up words to every song ever written…and I sing about whatever pops in my head. I know, it’s hard to live with this mindset in every moment of every day. It can’t be done. Stress overwhelms, busyness takes over. I hope that when it does, your mind catches up to you and reminds you to refocus. Mine does. That’s a new development in my last ten years of life. Maybe it was having children, maybe it was the experience of getting older. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, I just know it happens. I hope it happens for you too, because it makes our home a much happier place to focus on the things that really matter.
So, when your kids ask you to make pancakes on a Monday morning, maybe try. 😃 When you are feeling like an unpaid Uber driver between dance classes, soccer practice, and whatever else you might be doing…remember that eventually they will drive themselves, eventually they will want more independence, eventually they will move out. And EVENTUALLY…there won’t be a first day of school. Be patient. Be kind. Love EVERY minute, even math homework. Start this weekend.