My baby was 5 recently.
A whole half a decade.
The time has flown by but of course, like every parent, I can barely remember what life was like without him.
I look at him now – so tall, so grown up, so articulate, so funny, so capable of pushing my buttons at a moment’s notice – and realise how enriched my life has become since he came into it.
I have never loved so deeply, never felt so frightened, never been so tired, never worried so intently, never experienced so much emotion as I have in the last five years. Parenting is intense. So intense, that sometimes I’ve wanted to get off the rollercoaster. But wow, what a ride.
My universe has expanded beyond horizons I didn’t even know were there. I understand things now that mystified me before. I am mellower, while also clenching more about things that never bothered me before. I am a cacophony of contradictions.
He has given me insight into a small child’s world that I had long forgotten, and everyday I am grateful for the reminder of that simplicity, that wonder, that innocence.
Like last Christmas when he ran into our bedroom after a nightmare and stopped short with surprise at the foot of the bed when he saw us both reading our books by nightlight. The idea that we might be doing something that he does without him had never occurred to him.
And then when two days later he asked me what his father’s book was about and I replied “I don’t know, I’m not reading that one”, he was confused.
“But can’t you hear it?” he asked.
It took me a few seconds to realise that he naturally thought his father was reading the book aloud, because, in his world, that’s how books are read. Childlike perspective is a wonderful thing.
I think of that time often and wonder what else he sees so differently to me, and I’m hungry to see more before it disappears as he grows.
Five years have flashed by but together we’ve felt every minute. Being a mother has changed me utterly. Being his mother has made me a better person. And for that I am eternally thankful.