I used to hate it when people would tell me to enjoy every minute of my children growing up. They tell me it all happens so fast. I would think to myself buried under mountains of laundry and dirty dishes exhausted from school runs and sleepless nights. This business of growing up can't happen fast enough.
But it does. And not in the way you think.
Oh sure, they learn to feed themselves. They learn to walk. Together you figure out potty training. and you send them off to school. One day they will leave home and more than likely start families of their own.
But these are the big milestones, the ones captured on video cameras and stacks of photographs. They pass through these developmental milestones and we brag to our friends and families.
But the milestones that pass far too quickly are the every day moments that just slip through your fingers. The ones where if you are not paying attention can completely escape your notice. the ones that once gone will be missed the most.
This morning my children got themselves bowls of cereal and glasses of juice whilst Marc and I slept. They didn't need our help at all.
This evening we sat down as a family to watch a film. I didn't have much hope. Most of our film viewing is either films suitable for the children and bore Marc and I stiff. Or the grownups find the films interesting and the children are bored stiff after 20 minutes.
Tonight we watched Whale Rider. Together. As a family. The children were gripped by the incredible story. Both asked us questions when they struggled to understand the subtleties of this poignant film. Sebastian gave us a rousing film review when it was over.
Our Christmas tree went up this afternoon. Marc hates decorating for Christmas and I have for the past 6 years done this tradition on my own taking extra care to make sure the children didn't break anything.
Tonight Marc put up the tree and hung the lights. I got out the boxes of decorations and Sebastian and Abigail got busy. In no time all the decorations were on the tree. Oh sure, I had to redistribute the decorations a bit to ensure there were some on the top but by and large they did it themselves.
The tree is beautiful and I was happy and sad at the same time as I watched them at work. Happy to see them having so much fun and doing such a beautiful job with boundless enthusiasm; Sad that we are one step closer to that point in time when they will have trees of their own.
There will come a time when Sebastian will no longer kiss and cuddle me with such wild abandon. There will come a time when Abigail doesn't tell me everything that happens during her day.
This afternoon our family posed for our 2007 family photograph. The photographer was a family friend who was trying out some new lighting. She was doing this for us as a favour and in return we were letting her get used to her new equipment. My children didn't complain. They pretended to be models and posed endlessly for her. They were polite and funny and charming. I was proud to be their mother.
I am relieved that I will have these photographs in years to come. They will remind me of today, a day when my children reminded me to enjoy every minute of my time with them. It doesn't last forever.