Almost exactly a year ago, I was clearing out my desk at work. I was huge and I waddled. I had hopes and dreams and thoughts that kept me awake at night and I had no idea what this next step on my journey was really going to be like. I started this blog to keep me sane through the difficult times and to document my ups and downs and trials of parenthood. The blog has really become more than that for me, but that's a story for another day.
Today I walked the 1.5 miles into my nearest town with Little Monster. It's something I've done several times a week for the last 10 months. It's become a routine that symbolises this first year with him; he babbles and chatters or snoozes his way through the ride and I take my time, do a little soul searching, listen to an audiobook, plan my day. Along the way, I'll probably pull faces at him to make him giggle, stop several times to adjust his socks, his hat, pick up a discarded toy. When we get to town, we normally find our way to the post office where the two wonderfully fabulous men behind the counter have a quick chat with Little Monster which involves street style chest thumping and hand signals which perhaps mean more to Little Monster than they do to me. We might have a coffee and Little Monster will snack on dried apricots and mini rice cakes while he's charming the pants off the other residents of the cafe and I steal a sneaky 5 minutes of down time. We'll wander home again, Little Monster a new person from getting out of the house and me feeling virtuous from my 3 mile walk.
It's a routine I've come to love and yet I never thought I would. For the first 6 weeks, even making it out of the house was some kind of Herculean task. Making it out of the house to be somewhere on time was nigh on impossible. And, like all things, now that I'm faced with the thought of giving it up, I know it's something I'm going to miss terribly.
A year seemed an absolute lifetime at the start. Sometimes I wondered how I'd even survive it. But now, as it's coming to an end, I feel sad. Little Monster and I have come such a long way this year. It has been both the best and worst year of my life rolled into one. He and I have grown and learned and changed and got to know each other. Sometimes I think I've grown and changed almost as much as he has. We've got through learning to sleep, learning to eat solid food, trips to hospital for him and for me, trying to walk, figuring out that construction is (nearly) as much fun as destruction, first paddles in the sea, first tastes of cake and so many other firsts that I can't count them.
I know that returning to work is the right thing for me and I hope that nursery will be the right thing for Little Monster. We've survived the first step. I can't wait for the next one.