Tag Archives: nostalgia

moving on

I woke up this morning itching to write about yesterday. I can’t let it go by unmarked, I thought. I have to put the feelings somewhere.
clouds and sunshine

You see, yesterday was my nine-year-old son’s last ever day of first school. Yes, my eldest little thinker and feeler (and blimey is he both!) has left behind the place he’s spent a huge chunk of the last six years. The place where, despite its ups and downs (he managed to start the school just as it went through possibly the most tumultuous period in its history!) he has felt nurtured and appreciated and above all, happy.

And this makes me feel… I’m not sure… in many ways happy, because he’s definitely ready to move on, but also kind of sad, because it’s the end of an era, and mostly just plain old nostalgic. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my baby is not a baby anymore. And yes, I know, I KNOW he hasn’t been a baby for flippin’ years, I mean, he’s all whippet-slim and clear-eyed and angular and asking me questions about politics and what I think he should do about classroom dynamics and relationships between his peers. What baby is like that? Yep, he’s a big boy and I want him to be a big boy but, shit, sometimes it feels like yesterday that he lay newly born and softly warm and wriggly on my chest and I said ‘it’s a baby!’ in amazement and looked at my husband and we cried and laughed and… you know… felt that huge surge of wonder and love that changes everything forever.

But it’s been nine years. And he’s growing up.

We had a picnic on the playing fields after school yesterday – a get-together of parents and kids from my son’s year and all their siblings too. It was baking hot so we adults sat in the shade of the trees as the kids dashed around madly, occasionally rushing up to where we were sprawled to stuff their faces with crisps before bounding off again. They signed each other’s T-shirts, did each other’s hair and spoke in their funny language of year-four-isms that I normally find maddening but which yesterday sounded almost, ALMOST endearing.

I chatted with some of my friends and fellow parents (always lovely) and, though I did wonder afterwards if I should have made more of an effort to talk to everyone, really I was just content to observe. I enjoyed looking out from under the shade of the trees that line the yard where my son and I first stepped six years ago, at the people who I’ve walked alongside these past years. Some I’ve come to know really well, others I barely know at all and yet these are the faces that have lined every school play, every assembly, every fete, every classroom activity, every, well, everything school-related for more than half a decade. Side-by-side we’ve watched our chubby-faced three-year-olds evolve into lean-limbed feisty, eloquent nine-year olds.

Look how far we’ve come, I thought as I gazed at the buzz of life before me. Look what we’ve createdLook how much happiness can be found right here. 

Sometimes words aren’t necessary.

Sometimes just being is enough.

parent of boys? Get ready for…

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about about my ‘previous life’ as an owner of a small business and about writing a blog for that business. The business (sadly) closed years ago and we archived the blog but I thought it would be fun to find it and resurrect a few old posts. It took a bit of searching but my husband finally located the blog inside a folder in a zip file in a dusty corner of an old computer and I’ve been reading a few posts. I thought I would share this one with you today. It’s from four and a half years ago when I was the mother of (only) two boys.

When we found out we were expecting our second boy, I did a bit of web-surfing on the subject of what it’s like to have two sons, and on male sibling relationships in general. Something that repeatedly cropped up (in fact I’m not sure I read anything on the topic that didn’t mention this) was “the wrestling”. This was almost invariably referred to enthusiastically with numerous exclamation marks. In fact, even “naked wrestling!!!!” had a fair few mentions! Parents wrote about this being an integral part of their sons’ relationship, how it was what they seemed to spend a goodly proportion of their time doing, and what pleasure it brought them as parents to watch.

wrestling2

I grew up with two brothers, so the notion of boys wrestling did not surprise me: when I was growing up, ‘fights’ in our house were a daily occurrence, with my dad and brothers often engaged in tussles on the hall carpet. In fact, I seem to recall getting involved in a few myself!

What I didn’t realise was how young the wrestling would start. Son no.2 was barely four months old when he and Son no.1 began their joyful scraps! To be fair, I had to keep a very watchful eye (2 year-olds are all raw energy and very little control!) but what amazed me was how instinctive it seemed to be. Son 2 couldn’t sit or roll (or really move much at all unaided), yet having his big brother grapple with him didn’t faze him at all. And Son 1, for his part, was surprisingly gentle; I found it was rarely necessary to intervene.

These days, at 1½ and 3½, wrestling has become a daily activity for my boys. Watching them, I’m often reminded of puppies – it’s that sense of manic activity, yet utter contentment. And – like those other parents of sons whose words I read 2 years ago – I would also say it is not only one of the defining parts of their relationship, but also one of the most pleasurable things to watch as their mum.

As for the naked wrestling… I’m still waiting…

So that was then… roll on a few years and I’m now the proud mother of three young boys of 8, (nearly) 6 and 2.

These days my oldest two don’t wrestle that much – my 8yo is usually far too embroiled in a Harry Potter book to get involved in such things –  but for my younger two, rolling around together, kneeing each other joyfully in various body parts and shrieking with laughter is an hourly a daily activity.

And I do enjoy getting involved too, in fact when I was pregnant with my youngest, one of the things I missed most was being able to hurl myself to the ground and have my boys wrestle with me. The physicality of little boys may be exhausting at times but it has its rewards – really, there’s little better in life than having three happy small people clambering over you and hunkering down for a huge ‘little boy cuddle’.

Oh, and naked wrestling? There was this hot summers day a few years ago…

a tale of two dodos – #WhatImWriting

Long, long ago, in a land far, far away…

Oh ok, five years ago in a house down the road and round the corner… I used to write another blog. My husband and I had a babywares business (called Little Dodo – which goes some way to explaining the photo below) and decided we should get on board with all of this social media malarky to promote it.  The blog wasn’t very businessy really, it was mostly about our family: the two of us and our (at the time) two sons. Although my husband wrote some of the posts, I did most of the writing and it quickly became my favourite part of the job.

dodo pile

There is a story behind this picture… it makes me all emotional just to look at it!

Blogging and social media were different way back in 2010, as those of you blogging back then will know. There were far fewer parent bloggers, linkies were rarer and more focussed and, most shocking of all – twitter had no favourite button! I know – how did we ever manage to communicate the notion that we liked someone’s tweet but didn’t consider it interesting enough to re-tweet it?!

Anyway, we had the blog for about eighteen months and then – despite our best marketing efforts (including a dodo that went on a trip to #CyberMummy) – the recession did a number on our business and we decided to close our shop. Sadly the blog went with it. I remember tearfully writing my last post feeling like I was losing not only my business but my whole online identity and my re-emerging writing passion too. I did consider starting up a new blog (I couldn’t keep the Little Dodo one going as it was tied in to our website etc.) but I think with all the emotional energy that goes along with shutting down a business, I didn’t really have the heart for it at the time.

So off went the business, away went the blogging (my husband archived the blog somewhere as we knew it was a great record of that time in our lives) and a couple of years went by. Years that involved, amongst other major happenings, a house move and my pregnancy with our third child. Then of course came the re-igniting of my writing passion and this blog came into being.

Anyway, why am I writing about this now? Well – apart from the fact that I’m a nostalgic person and love to reminisce about times gone by  – I’ve been wondering about what to do with my blog this summer. The boys have six weeks off school and I want to spend some lots of time with them where I don’t feel pressured to blog (I’m hardly the most prolific blogger but you’d be surprised how much of my head-space it can take up). Also, when I DO get the opportunity to write, I want to be able to focus on my creative writing rather than on blogging.

Chrissie and I have decided to take the summer off from #WhatImWriting so I’ve taken the pressure off there, but do I really want to post nothing here all summer? Not really. I’ll be posting another author interview here soon and I don’t really want it to be that and nothing else.

So I thought, ah ha! Maybe I could repost some of my posts from my old blog? And add a little ‘then vs now’ bit to them perhaps? I know I’d enjoy reliving a few of those moments especially as I haven’t so much as glimpsed the posts in nearly four years! So I might do that. If my husband can remember where he archived the blog to. And if I can do it without too much effort. It’s a kind of plan.

Apart from that my other summer goals are to finish my three picture books so I can start submitting them to agents and/or publishers in the autumn, and to write limericks for my limerick book whenever I can!

Oh, and to have fun of course. I hope you do too!

Writing Bubble

yellow

When I saw that ‘The Prompt’ over at Mum Turned Mom this week was ‘Yellow’, I figured it might be time to give my daffodils poem another airing. I say ‘my’ daffodils poem but in actual fact it owes rather a lot to William Wordsworth  (since it’s a silly version of his poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’) and a great deal to my granddad with whom I co-wrote it about twenty-five years ago! When I was a child the two of us would often write silly poetry together and this is one of my favourites. I can still remember sitting together one mealtime, throwing lines across the table and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

daffodils

I Wandered Lonely as a Puff of Smoke

I wandered lonely as a puff of smoke
That floats from a chimney and over the hills,
When all at once I saw a bloke,
Carrying a mass of daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Swaying along on rubbery knees.

His face was flushed as red as wine
With drooling mouth and vacant gaze,
He followed an erratic line
Staggering in a drunken daze.
Ten dozen saw I in his arms
Stolen I’m sure from nearby farms.

The waves frothed wildly at his heel
Yet he was far to drunk to see.
A passer-by could not but feel
A portion of anxiety.
I gazed and gazed then watched him take
A tumble deep into the lake.

When later on my couch he lay,
In much apologetic mood
Recalling how I’d had saved the day
He was struck with gratitude.
Yet to this day pure horror fills
Me at the sight of daffodils.

 
And in case that’s left you yearning for the original:
 

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

mumturnedmom

 

Nikki Young Writes