The first day of 2018 - a happily fuzzy sociable kind of a day for us - has concluded with a bright full moon in clear cloudless skies. Our littlest one and I read books by the light of the moon before settling for a dreamy sleep. His big brown eyes finally closed as I stroked his head and whispered an echo of our final read: “I love you to the moon, and back” (Guess How Much I Love You, S. McBratney)*. I then settled our older boy who just needed one more cuddle after the exhilaration of a busy few days. We then collapsed in an exhausted pile on the sofa.
I used to feel a particular blurry excitement on New Year’s Day: a fresh start with new goals and dreams, after the fizz of the night before. In 2011/12, my friend and I partied on Mombasa Beach and watched the mighty African sun rise above the Eastern shoreline. Somewhere amongst that five-thousand strong crowd was another traveller-teacher, on his own Kenyan adventure. We didn’t meet that night. Instead, Jody and I got home the way we’d arrived, sharing a bicycle along the pot-hole ridden Mombasa roads; the sun had been up for a while and we were hungry for our first breakfast of 2012: the year I was to meet the man I now call my husband, the father to our two little children.
Those two little ones have changed us more than we could have imagined and continue to challenge and entertain us everyday. We celebrated their first and third birthdays this year and hope that life continues to be kind to us in 2018 and look forward to their next steps, words and achievements. We tried to mark the New Year last night; it was our best effort since becoming parents in 2014. We had family over to stay, popped a bottle of something bubbly and bashed out Take That singalong classics on the piano. By 1am we were all asleep before our collection of little ones were awake for various cuddles and milk feeds through the night. The last two NYEs were basically right-offs with midnight nappy changes and cluster feeding or dealing with firework bang-induced wake-ups. That fuzzy excitement of yesteryear has been replaced by overwhelming teary gratitude for all our dear family and friends, anchored by a deeply warming love. Thank you, parents, brothers, sisters, friends for all the chuckles, straight-talking and hugs.
I’ve never been very good with resolutions and was delighted to hear that Barack Obama doesn’t make resolutions either. However, I like to look back on the previous year and take time to consider the challenges to face in 2018. Our eldest (summer born) boy will start school in September, just days after his fourth birthday. I remember my own apprehension and excitement about starting school- some of my earliest memories. I find it incredible to think that our little cub might remember these days for the rest of his life. Our youngest embarks on a year full of developmental milestones, especially his verbal communication and comprehension of the world around him. For my man and I, we’re starting Ballroom/Latin dance classes! And just for myself, I hope to read more, to continue writing and to invest more energy into the two local playgroups I started in 2017: one in a local care home and the other, a collective of lovely parents who run an outdoor playgroup in the woods: ‘Books in the Woods’. The latter has grown in size and confidence as we embark on new projects for our community of book and nature-loving families, with woodland book-walks and literary picnics among the forever-changing, yet constant deciduous trees. But above all, I hope for peace, joy, more cuddles with my loved ones and plenty of more moonlit night skies.
*New Blog spoiler: The Best Books To Read By Moonlight (coming soon!)
You can read more raw and uplifting words from Rebecca/ a.k.a. the Mum in the Moon at ‘The Night Feed’.