This time 16 years ago I held my first born in my arms for the very first time. “16 years ago” – where on earth have these 16 years gone!
I am 100% sure that most of you other mummies and daddies of course, remember the feeling of holding your baby for the very first time. A feeling so magical, so special, so strong and so full of love. A love instantly so deep it can be quite overwhelming. A powerful feeling of wanting to protect your child from the bad world and only ever wanting the utter best for your precious bundle of joy.
I also very clearly remember family and friends, who came to have cuddles with my baby girl saying: “Make the most of every moment as they grow up way too fast.”
And here we are we are today, exactly 16 years later and my love and admiration has just grown deeper for my remarkable kind daughter Larissa. How right were all these people saying: “Enjoy every minute as they will fly past”, as these 16 years seem to have slipped through my fingers. Just like that but strangely the feeling and memory of holding Larissa close for the very first time seems like yesterday.
Saying time has flown by I must admit there are expectations! You mums and dads must remember dropping your child off for the very first time at nursery or school. I so vividly can recall thinking that I finally would have time again to go to the loo without being followed by my little shadow, doing a household chore without being interrupted a zillion times or have a bath in peace without your child jumping in or worse jumping on the toilet for a number 2! Yet instead of enjoying these little things after dropping Larissa off for the very first time, I sat like a neurotic mother on the sofa frantically clock watching wishing time to hurry up so I could pick her up again.
In all fairness this clock watching business didn’t last too long because as soon as I knew she was fine at school, doing the daily school run turned into the frequent ‘walk of shame’, which basically means running on my heels through the school gates whilst every parent was walking out with their child already collected!
Yet again 16 years, where have you gone so fast?!
From night feeds that seems to last forever, hearing for the very first time “mummy”, those first steps, potty training victories, as in my Larissa’s case was not wanting to part with her first poop in her potty and having to distract her with a biscuit. The first tooth coming through to the first visit of the tooth fairy to being able to cycle without stabilisers, proudly knowing the Dutch cycling genes were definitely passed on in Larissa her case as she could do a wheely at a very young age (showing off now I know but please let me).
I am very protective and private of both my children hence I don’t post many images or share many stories on social media. However today I will have to make an exception to celebrate and share with you all how proud I am of my first born.
Do I find being a mum easy? Hell no!
Those immunisations? Where you were worrying if you were doing the right thing because some stories in the media claimed they could cause autism. That first experience at school where your child was being left out to play and you felt like going in and give the little madam a piece of your mind. To vomiting bugs brought home from nursery where you just wish it was you who was suffering instead of your child. But funnily when the bug seemed to have gone through the whole household your wish came true and you were hit last by the dreaded bug. But no one to rub your back, put a cold flannel on your forehead and make you toast and a drink of Lucozade when you started to feel better again as us mummies just have to soldier on.
Travelling back from London early this morning a clearly exhausted mum with bags under her eyes was sitting across from me trying to comfort her crying (read; screaming) baby. I looked at her tired face and said: “It’s not easy is it lovely?”, as I watched her try every trick in the book to calm her baby down and ignoring disapproving looks from fellow travellers. I followed by a: “Trust me, it will get easier and they are definitely so worth it”. Straight away a Dutch saying my lovely mum tells me quite often came to my mind. Small children, small worries. Big children, big worries. Isn’t this just so true! No matter how old your child is you will always worry. You will always hope they make the right choices. You will as a parent always want them to be happy, healthy and be on a path they love being at with the right people.
Anyway, today is a good day. Today is a day to put the worries aside and celebrate. Toady is a day I can feel nothing but love and be very grateful I am a proud mother of a beautiful kind smart talented 16 year old. A daughter that teaches me so much about life and often can be more sensible than myself.
Today I am also filled excitement. Excitement for Larissa, her future, which is looking bright, where she will be able to follow her dream of playing basketball and studying. Wishing opportunities will come her way through hard work of being able to see more of the world, connect with people that will share the same passion and create memories and experiences to last a lifetime.
One of Larissa’s presents is a book written by Maya Angelou – Letter to my daughter. Larissa got a fantastic love for books and poems. Maya was an American poet, memorist and civil rights activist. Before I go and spend quality time with my 16 year I’d like to leave you with this beautiful extract:
My wish for you is that you may continue.
Continue to be how and who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.
Continue to allow humour to lighten the burden of your tender heart.
Today is a good day. Today is a day I couldn’t be happier to be a mum.