SCENES // Dating Daddy!

How important it is to continue dating one another, long after you are married or have entered that comfortable stage in a relationship… and it’s especially important after you have a child. So much of our time and energy and thoughts and love are now dedicated to our little ones. The time and energy and thoughts and love that had once belonged to our other half… the very reason for us having children in the first place!

How easy it is to fall into those domestic routines, and comfortable habits, and take one another for granted, and only see each other in a domestic/child rearing environment. How easy it becomes to accept one another as tired, fed up, exhausted, ‘got-work-to-do.’ To no longer see the enthusiasm they once expressed for you. To forget the desire they still feel, slightly deeper now, below the surface. Therefore, how important is is… how essential… to keep dating.

Take the time to be together; talk to each other; dress up a bit; hold hands; remember why it is you are sharing this path. And how much you love it.

We must keep on falling in love, not only for ourselves, but for the little ones. We are their role models in all things. How important it is to set an example of how to love. How to cherish our partners, and our relationships – how to prioritise and value them.

Romance isn’t always about fine clothing and expensive dinners, tickets to shows, or luxurious weekends away. It’s not always about bottles of wine, decadent desserts, or extravagant bouquets of flowers. It’s making sure your one good pair of jeans is clean so you can wear it to go out with your husband tonight. It’s spending less at the supermarket so you can go see a movie this week, instead of waiting for payday next week. It’s planning a couple of hours to walk along the beach and go get an ice-cream, because the last time you went you barked at him for forgetting the wet wipes and attempting to wash your sticky toddler’s face with tissues. It’s sitting down wondering what ‘interesting’ thing you could possibly muster the energy to do together, and still feeling butterflies when he puts his arm around you. It’s walking beside her and never getting tired of seeing the sunlight on her face.

By taking the time to date one another, when we are at our most busy and most tired and most fraught – it’s remembering to say to each other what matters most: I love you, I’m yours, and thank you.

x

 

SCENES // road-trip

A wintry weekend spent in Rotorua: Car trip, sunset, hot-tub and cuddles. Frosty mornings, animals, and jumping in puddles. Green, green grass; picnics and slides. Fluffy and cake when it’s cold outside. Climbing through trees and warm redwood light. Travels with you and the world feels right…

SCENES // seaside

Sundays spent by the seaside. Collecting rocks and pretty shells. Digging sand. Chasing gulls. Flappy wings… not a fan. The air whips through our hair, blowing cobwebs away. The winter sun is low in the sky, sparkling on the waves. Nana comes – running with wide open arms. Poppa too. Walking, picnicking on the tartan rug. Egg sandwiches. Shoo birds. Go-way. Mumma has to leave early for a rescheduled appointment. How I would much rather stay with my boys, building castles by the sea.

To blog, or not to blog… that is the question!

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Hello friends!

If you are new to my little blog, welcome! Thank you for finding your way to me and choosing to read my words… I hope we connect over-time and our online village can become a place where we feel loved, supported, and encouraged.

If you’ve been reading my words for a while now – thank you! Thank you for taking the time to read the ramblings of a new (and often fragile!) Mumma! Thank you for taking the time to comment, to pass on my words to others, and to encourage me. You’ve been a little community that I have so appreciated.

After writing throughout my pregnancy and the first year of Beau’s life – I stopped writing when my baby turned one… I was suddenly lost for words… nothing to say… writer’s block?…

I’ve spent the last 8 months or so just enjoying my days with him, in those simple and exhausting and crazy and wonderful rhythms of new family life, as he has transitioned into toddlerhood (a full-time venture for a mother, is it not!), and also developing my little business as an NZ Celebrant.

But I have missed my blog. And the community that came with it.

After 8 months I was in dire need of a creative outlet… something to pour myself into for no other reason than to express myself. Something that was all mine, not to fulfil or to serve a purpose for someone else.

During this so-called “writer’s block,” I have continued to read and be inspired by many, many other bloggers and writers. And I actually reached a point where I had started to question “why” I was writing. “For who?” “For what reason?” And I wondered, on more than one occasion, “who would want to keep on reading/hearing from me anyway?”

And then I finally realised: I write for me.

I write because this is what I feel compelled to do! To pour out my thoughts and feelings and fears and anxieties and hopes and dreams… for no other reason than I will probably explode if I continue to keep them all in!

So here they are, and will be. I will blog for me, and for baby… but if my words speak to you, too, then nothing will make me happier.

We’re all in it together!

With love,Hayleysignature

Photo found via Business2Community.com

SCENES // park life

Crisp winter days. Fresh air and cooler winds. Afternoons spent at the park. Collecting rocks, crunching fallen leaves. Birds fly over-head, in search of food. We stop to watch them. The crackle of static when you ‘wheee!’ down the slide. Perfect pieces of bark. Bright red; the ‘nee nor’ fire truck. Watching the sun set and the moon rise higher in the sky. The promise of a warm meal and cuddles with daddy. It’s time to head home again.Through the trees. Past the river. Bye-bye to the pukekos and ducks. Up the hill, and round the corner, cars whizzing past. You hum a song I’ve not heard before. Your nose is cold when I kiss it. Park life.

 

You are one!

Dear baby

Last week, we celebrated your FIRST BIRTHDAY !

A whole year has gone by since the day we first met you. I can hardly believe it.

Over the last week or so I have taken many moments to stop, close my eyes, and to be still in that knowledge: you are one year old.

It’s a big deal. And yet (I warn you) this letter itself will be insignificant. There is simply no way for me to put into words just exactly what this means… what YOU mean to me. So instead, I will have to resort to clichés. Which, by their very definition, lack meaning. And even if they do convey meaning, they certainly lack originality – yet, here I am, with nothing else to say to my first born at the end of his first extraordinary year of life, other than a bunch of clichés such as ‘time flies when you are having fun’ and ‘I don’t remember anything before you’ etc. etc. But, as I am starting to realise – that’s motherhood.

That’s exactly how it is, baby. There are billions of mummas feeling the exact same things, to the exact same depth, in every moment, of every day. Motherhood is one big cliché. But I am telling you – that doesn’t make it any less original, or any less meaningful. It just means that you won’t ever understand what I am feeling right now, until you hold your own baby in your arms, celebrating their first birthday.

But until then, all I can do is try to explain >

You are my first born. And this first year of your life will forever define me as a mother. Everything I have ever been, or will be, could be defined by you. You permeate every ounce of my being. You belong in my past, retrospectively, and you guide my future. This first year with you has been the most challenging, painful, frightening, exhilarating, joyous, and love-filled year of my life. It has been everything. And I know, it has only just begun.

As it goes… I had wanted to write to you the night before your birthday, to capture all of the feelings I had before they gave way to a new day, and a new year – but life happened instead:

I spent almost the whole day making your birthday cake, whilst you played happily and threw me the occasional grin, then when your daddy got home from work I went out to a business meeting. When I came home you were already fast asleep… so I ignored that pinched feeling of ‘I should give him one last cuddle as a baby’ and instead tiptoed around outside of your room, putting all of your gifts out, and filling the space in-between with balloons, before I finally succumbed to bed myself. Curled up with your daddy, we watched you for a little while on your monitor, feeling amazed at the year we have had, excited for the years to come, and so utterly grateful for you ~ our wonderful little boy. ~ We didn’t really have any words other than ‘aww Beau… look at him…little Beau…,” so before long I was asleep and dreaming too.

And, just like that, the first year of your life gave way to your second.

I woke to the sounds of you chattering in your cot… so your daddy and I bounded out of bed and went into your room singing ‘Happy Birthday to you!’ You were standing and smiling and happy as always to see us. I scooped you into my arms, you pushed your face into my neck as is your usual morning custom, and you had your favourite breakfast of banana and kiwifruit. I helped you open your gifts, whilst your daddy took pictures, and we spent so long trying to explain to you why your silver balloons were floating to the ceiling (helium) that, before we knew it, it was time to go…

We had your final Baby Sensory class, which was such special timing. And, with your daddy there too, I was able to sit back a little and observe you more than normal (aka – not spend the entire class running after you!). You were your usual happy, confidant, and sociable self – cuddling, and climbing amongst, and squeezing all the other babies and mummas there. We sang songs, and played games, and right at the end of class you were wished another ‘Happy Birthday to you…’ and I’m not going to paint this any differently to how it was: I cried. Great big joyous tears spilling down my flushed cheeks and flooding my glasses. You sat in the middle of the circle bobbing and clapping and I crawled over to you and kissed you so hard. THIS IS MY BABY BOY ONLY HE ISN’T A BABY ANYMORE. I wanted to scream.

But all the other Mummas knew what I was feeling. They feel it too.

Next we gave you a bottle of milk, and we had coffees, and we sat like a proud little family in the café who had survived their first adventure – before you napped in the car on the way to Butterfly Creek.

We took you to Butterfly Creek because it seemed like the sort of place to take a little boy on his first birthday who has recently started walking… we wandered through the butterfly house, and looked at crocodiles opening and closing their mouths, and your daddy and I argued because he took you too close to the railing for my liking and I had a whole situation of Beau falling in and me rescuing you playing out in my head, and then we went to see baby goats and lambs and rabbits, and we spent most of the time stopping you poke them all in the eye, and then we saw baby rats which were so young they were bald and pink and blind and I could have cried at how special and new they were, and then you sat on a big tractor without the engine in and reached immediately for the gear stick and your daddy looked at me chuffed whilst I rolled my eyes in prospective worry, and then we dashed like mad things for the train ride…

Your daddy and I muttered some comments to each other about ‘…underwhelming… just going round in a circle… nothing to see…’ and then I saw you again. Your eyes were wide, your arms were in the air, and we ‘whoop whooped’ all the way back again.

Once we got home, you played with your new toys whilst I put the party food together and your daddy tied helium balloons to every possible surface. Soon our house was full of family and fun and at 5.50pm – the exact moment you came to us – we lit your candle, sang to you once more, and cut your first birthday cake.

Even though I made a banana cake, and filled it with fresh banana slices especially for you, because I know you love them – you were far more interested in playing with your cousins… filling your Aunty Heather and I with such joy, at our boys loving each other so much… and before too much longer, you were half asleep on my shoulder as I carried you into your room shouting goodbye to everyone heading home.

And thus ~ your second year had already begun…

*

Baby, you turned one year old and the majority of the world didn’t even notice. Most of our friends didn’t even notice. To everyone else, the day came and went just like any other – people were busy with their own families, doing their jobs, and living their lives – whilst in our little corner of the world we were celebrating something extraordinary. That my little baby boy is no more. 

This doesn’t mean the world doesn’t care. There are a great number of people that would care about you, baby. But you are just another person. Just another person ready to make your own mark, in your own way. 

But whilst you are just another person in this world, baby – you happen to be the whole world to us. And you always and forever will be. YES IT IS CLICHÉ to say that you are the best thing to have ever happened to me, that you make the world a better place, that I would die for you if it came to it – but you are, you do, and I would.

I love you baby in a way that terrifies me. Because there is no limit. It is a physical love that beats my heart, heats my blood, grips my stomach, and leaves me breathless. Every time you feel something – joy, uncertainty, sadness, excitement – I feel it too, right along with you. My life has become smaller, and bigger, all at once. You have surrounded me in a kaleidoscope of light and shade and colours and feels, and above all you make me feel more alive than I have ever felt before.

For your first birthday, I wanted to hide alone somewhere – to remember and relive every single moment of the journey we’ve had so far – to feel that new life growing inside of me; the intensity of my heartbeat; the swell and stretch of my tummy as the physical representation, not only of you, but of my love; to see your daddy’s face, overflowing with his devotion; to feel that warm, soft skin next to mine; the first look into those soulful eyes; those tiny fingers gripping onto me with attachment because you didn’t know you were separate from me yet… someday, baby, I want to give you a little brother or a sister, so our family can grow, and you can be surrounded by love from all angles.

Baby – all of these words are insignificant compared to what I feel for you. 

You are one year old and growing up so beautifully. You are curious and cheeky and playful and affectionate. You are determined and sweet and gentle and strong. I learn more about you every day, but I will never forget the brief time when you were nothing more and nothing less than my little baby. I will never forget the moment I first saw you. Or the moment I first kissed you. Or the day we first brought you home. All of your firsts will be with me to the last.

I love watching you grow, and learning more about the world through you.

You have made our lives so much more beautiful, Beau.

And how do we thank you for this? I made you a cake and threw you a party. We filled balloons and blew bubbles. We sang songs. We bought you gifts… but what gift can I get you than says everything I need to say? That you are the most wonderful creature. That you amaze me daily. That I am both lost and found. That you make me scared and proud and overwhelmed with love. That I would give you every last ounce of myself, to see you safe and well and happy. That I would literally do anything for you. That you matter more to me, than me.

No gift will say that; no gift ever can. So I hope you enjoyed your toys and your cake. And I hope that deep down you realise – the real gift is you.

Happy first birthday, my baby. It really was.

Mumma Xxx

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“A one-year-old child is so many things,
a tiny discoverer of butterfly wings,
a hugger of teddies,
a sweet sleepyhead,
and someone to dream for in bright years ahead.”

Sunshiney feels

Dear baby

We just got home from a wonderfully, relaxing holiday in New Caledonia. It was our first time there, but it won’t be our last.

I wanted to write to you once we were home – to tell you all about our trip and what we did and experienced together – but the words just didn’t seem to come. And then I realised – there really isn’t anything to say. But, there are a lot of things to feel…

The warm sun on our skin, the refreshingly cool waters, the sound of the ocean waves, the smell of sun lotion all week long. The sweet pastries and salty cheese and seeing your face when we let you have ice-cream. Sand between my toes, and running through my fingers, and your excited eyes as daddy chased you across the bay. The French language, and friendly faces, and seeing you stare at me in the early mornings – awake before I was. The dusty pink sunrises and brilliant orange sunsets. The multicolours of fish flittering through the waters like a kaleidoscope constantly changing in front of us. Cocktails by the pool and getting lost in books and music and other worlds for a time. The heat of the sun gradually seeping deep into our bones, thawing us out, renewing our energy. Seeing the glitter of the silver line on my tummy, twinkling under the afternoon sun – reminding me of the journey taken, and all that is to come.

It was a beautiful time together; a time amongst many – filled with love, happiness, the simple joy of being together, and the gratitude of having the life we do. One in which coming home was the best feeling of all.

I appreciate so much, baby – most of all you.

Here’s to our future adventures,

Mumma Xx

love letters to baby

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Right here, right now

Dear baby

I’ve always looked at my life, as I would say most people do, as a series of chapters. As one chapter ends, another begins… and with each new chapter a part of me is complete and a part of me is reborn.

There have been the school years, the teenage years, emigrating to New Zealand, my first boyfriend, my first job, moving back to England, travelling Europe and Asia, moving back to New Zealand, University, travelling America, moving to London… your daddy… back to New Zealand, getting married, getting pregnant, getting you…

That’s the birds eye view of it – but within each of those ‘chapters’ there are mini chapters too – the phases, stages, and seasons – such as the various jobs I have had, courses I have taken, plays I have been in, the start and end of relationships, moving homes, illnesses, losses, gains, achievements, lessons, and so many things.

At various points in my life I have really become fixated on this idea of ‘chapters’ and of various experiences being over – I have grieved those parts of my life that have finished and felt overwhelmed by it at times. Again, this is something most people will feel at some time or another… such as no longer being pregnant, or no longer having a newborn, or no longer having a particular job, or a certain relationship… or no longer living in a certain place…

For me, this fixation on the past has been exacerbated, not in the least, by the number of times I have moved countries, homes, and felt a cultural clash and identity shift between the UK and New Zealand. I adore both countries, and feel so grateful to genuinely have a home in two places, and every single day I feel happiness, but big change (even good change) can be extremely unsettling. And there was always that little niggle – of one life on pause, whilst I am over ‘here’ living another. And the big question of ‘when will I go back.’

That changed, however, when I had you – that little niggle went away. After 15 years, it finally stopped. Your daddy captured my heart of course, and I always knew I would be wherever he would be – but we talked of taking a big trip to the UK together. When it wasn’t consuming my thoughts, it was always there in the back of mind. But then, just as we were about to book our tickets, I discovered you. And then, you arrived – and as you were born into your life, I was born a New Zealander.

I am finally a New Zealander, in my heart, because of you. And that niggle has gone away completely – I’m right here, right now, and not wondering when the ‘next trip back’ will be. Instead, we have postponed the UK trip once again, and we are taking you on holiday to New Caledonia, a tropical island close to New Zealand – for sun, relaxation, and nothing more than the absolute frivolity of going somewhere new. It was a big deal for me to postpone “the UK trip” once again, not knowing when it will actually happen – but on doing so I felt an unexpected sense of cathartic release. I felt free.

That’s certainly not to say that becoming a New Zealander “in my heart,” means I am no longer British, that I disconnect from my past – because it doesn’t. Nor does it mean that I won’t miss aspects of Britain – because I do, and always will. It just means that the niggle to be somewhere else has gone and, finally, I am right here, right now, and I am grounded; laying new roots.

I can’t tell you how empowering and liberating and joyous this feels for me.

*

In this same light, yesterday was a really great day. You were feeling unwell and hadn’t got much sleep the night before (that’s not the great bit!) and so your daddy and I decided not to take you swimming (in fact, this was a really disappointing bit – it’s our weekly highlight!), so I kept you at home all morning and we just relaxed. Then, we drove into the City (this is the start of the good bit) to catch up with my old colleagues – it was so lovely to see them all, such wonderfully bright, caring, and interesting people. I don’t miss my old job at the University, but I sure miss their company each day. And you seemed to know them, and enjoyed all of their cuddles and attention.

Afterwards we caught up with an old flatmate of mine from London – he was studying at Medical school when I lived with him and now he is working as a Doctor here in Auckland (although, he was just about to get on a plane to go back for a while – poor love, NZ has stolen his heart too! – he’ll be back). I haven’t seen him in nearly 4 years; when he knew me then I was blonde (until I came home from work one day with jet black hair!), and I was single, and I was acting, and I was in a very different ‘chapter’ in my life. I thought seeing him would bring back memories of ‘me then’, which would be lovely and curious, but that maybe I wouldn’t know how to talk to him because I am changed now and he might feel awkward. But it was not like that at all.

We grinned from the moment we saw each other, all through our conversation of ‘life as it is now,’ all through the aspects of our reminisce, and all through our farewell – as we silently acknowledged that he was going back to a place we both knew, as much as we knew he would return here someday again. We grinned because it was him, and because it was me – just as we always were and still are. He brought my London chapter into my current chapter, and he held you, and it was all a sense of connection.

As I walked back to the car with you (I parked in my old office’s carpark), pushing your pram up the hill I used to walk (waddle) when pregnant – I started to do the old thing of ‘remember that time I worked at the University… remember that time I was here and pregnant…’ and suddenly it stopped. That conversation in my head stopped. The shop on the corner sells the same smelling bread. The shop next door still entices me with art supplies I wouldn’t know what to do with. The sun still reflects off the office block’s windows…

I closed my eyes and it was all there, still. It wasn’t gone. The time I was pregnant is still now – only I carry you in my arms instead of my tummy. The time I was planning my Wedding is still now – only I am not newly wed, I am married. The time I worked at the University is still now – I still know and care for my colleagues, I still have the skills I developed, the lessons I learned. That time I lived in London is still now …. everything. It’s still the same as it was.

Baby – yesterday, for the first time, I felt all of my chapters connect. And for once I felt the reality of life as it actually is – one continuous journey. I was and am and always will be me. Just as you were, and are, and always will be you. I no longer need to remember or keep in touch with those previous chapters of my life – because they are all still with me, still part of me. And, most of all, I no longer need to feel torn between two places. Because I am right here, in my entirety.

*

Baby, we will get to the UK together. Someday. And I will introduce you to your English family and show you and your daddy all of the most beautiful parts of my native country. And someday, maybe, we might even live there for a while. The future is full of possibilities, spreading out before us like the waves of the vast ocean – but, until then, I am right here, right now. And I am loving it all.

Thank you for the lessons you don’t realise you are teaching me.

I love you so much, Beau.

Mumma Xxx