I may not have got around to writing down my intentions and to do lists for the year, but I’ve been starting to make progress on them none the less. And right up at the top of the “family” list was “more time”. Obviously that starts with warping the space time continuum or cloning myself or inventing a time turner so that I can have all the hours I want with the family and still do everything else, but just a smidgen below that is to spend more time with my girls without their brother.
Pip does not share Mummy. He’s always been a very attached little boy but now, at sixteen months and smack bang in the middle of the separation anxiety peak time he is not very happy about letting me out of his sight. Which makes life a little interesting when I’m out of the house for 11 hours a day, four days a week. It means at weekends he needs me to be there and to be his. It’s a genuine need for his happiness so we do our best, but that best does mean that it’s H who plays a board game with the girls, or gets to take them off for a bit of Daddy time, and I spend more time with all three together.
But I remember the days when it was just Kitty and me and the days when Kitty was at nursery and it was just Elma and me, and I was determined that this year, now that Pip is big enough to be left (and doesn’t cry once he’s realised that I’m not in the house), it was time to make sure that I don’t loose the closeness of my relationship with his sisters by spending a little bit of one on one time with them.
And Kitty got to go first, both because there have to be some perks of being the eldest and because I can tell how much she is missing her teacher (now on maternity leave plus small baby girl) and struggling with feeling back to the beginning again with her new teacher (great though I’m sure she is).
So with H finishing hockey relatively early and the little two happily ensconced at the club with plenty of people to tell them they’re cute, I took Kitty off for an adventure.
I said after the Instameet in Oxford that I wanted to keep up the practice as it were with Kitty for company but we’d never actually got around to doing it. So a quick nip home for her camera and we were off to potter around Warwick in the last of the afternoon sunshine.
And it was so much fun. Kitty has a thing for photographing blue doors (which I’m certain comes from someone on the Instameet, or perhaps all of us put together) so we hunted for blue, took silly videos of ourselves, stood in the doorway of St Mary’s church to listen to the orchestra rehearsing Bruckner for a concert that evening, wandered down through the oldest bits of town to the castle, and even popped into the old law courts now tourist information because Kitty was fascinated by the photos of the mayors past and present in full regalia. We discovered that our Warwick inspired a Warwick in New England, and that in honour of the connection, on 10 May 1985, the New England version held a “City of Warwick, England” day and encouraged the UK to join in (I’d love to know if they did) and that our Warwick has been around since about 914 when Ethelfleda Lady of the Mercians (great name) built a burh (fortified settlement) at Warwick to defend it against the Danes. It’s amazing what you can learn from plaques.
But more than ensuring that we’re going to be brilliantly successful at local pub quizzes, more even than the photography, this was just a time to be with my biggest girl. To actual listen with all of my attention and not have to stop half way through a thought because I have to go and get her brother down off the table, to linger as long as we like in front of a vintage jewellers to play hypothetical dress up (she likes rubies, sapphires, an incredible diamond and pearl necklace and tiny china boxes), and to feel her hand slipping into mine, just for the pleasure of holding hands and galloping along the street, not because she has to because we’re somewhere busy or we’re crossing the road.
We finished up at a cafe in the centre of town in search of cake and hot chocolate and a warm snug place to hide from the cold. The warm apple pie and smooth cool cheesecake gave us a bit of a boost but when the hot chocolate arrived, the only word was WOW! Cream, marshmallows, grated chocolate and glitter on top of a steaming mug; Kitty’s smile could have reached the moon and back.
And so we sat, eating and drinking and looking at the photos that she’d shot and chatting about school and the new boy in her class and that she really wants to go to visit the castle and blue doors. And when I’d finished and pulled out a little knitting, she climbed into my lap and I knit around her while she talked me through all the photos on her camera from the very beginning.
And when it was time to go she asked if we could stay for supper, and then turned and whispered in my ear “I don’t ever want to leave this cafe”.
It could be the cake, it really was very good, but my gut tells me that perhaps this is a resolution that I needed to have got to a little while ago, and that it’s one we will definitely be repeating.
Joining Katie for The Ordinary Moments