I'm writing this with my mind in the past. Eighteen years ago, to be exact. It was the evening of the 14th September and I had managed to get Bex and Charlie into bed in good time before Olley and I settled down to enjoy the very first episode of a new sports quiz show on TV called 'They Think It's All Over'. It wasn't long before I realised that, in fact, it was all just beginning. I'm talking about the birth of Billy, the child who would complete our family and is on the cusp of becoming an adult ( which makes me feel very old!!)
I couldn't settle and watched the programme, which featured Nick Hancock as the quiz master with Gary Lineker and David Gower as team captains, standing up in the doorway – I realised that Billy was on his way (although at the time we didn't know whether we were expecting a girl or a boy). Rory McGrath and Rory Bremner were on the teams and made me laugh so much I'm sure they hastened Billy's progress into the world – we almost called him Rory in honour of the part they played in his birth! In fact, we only just made the hospital in time. The friend who was on call to babysit our older two children couldn't get to us for a couple of hours and Billy was in a rush. He was almost born in the car but luckily I managed to hold on and within a few minutes of getting into a labour room he arrived – half past midnight on the 15th September. Now, 18 years later, he is over six feet tall, full of charm and kindness and about to make me the mum of three young adults!
Children give so much without knowing as you guide and support them into adulthood – I have such happy memories of all three as they were growing up, although it's easy to wear rose coloured spectacles – there were some tough times too!! I've included a few of my favourite photos here. Hard to believe the one of Rebecca holding her new born baby brother was taken so long ago. And that such a little scrap would be enjoying his first (legal!) beer with his older brother in what feels like no time at all.
They say that time increases pace as you get older and I think it's true. We've enjoyed a long summer which at times has, delightfully, seemed almost endless – but it's still a shock to suddenly find ourselves in the middle of September with evenings drawing in and the mornings dark when I leave for work. One bonus is that it's cool enough for me to dig out my favourite boots to wear again – for me the opportunity to wear more clothes is one of the best things about autumn! (Don't forget to join me on Morning Style on Wednesdays at 9am for lots of autumn fashion ideas…).
In fact, I've always rather enjoyed our seasons. Although an eternal summer seems appealing, the thought of it reminds me of an inscription carved into a wooden beam above the front door of a cottage I used to run past when I was a teenager – 'Life has many shadows, but the sunshine makes them all.' Expecting permanent sunshine or, more philosophically, constant good fortune is unrealistic – the important thing is to make the most of it when you have it. So, as my youngest comes of age and embarks on adulthood, with all the opportunity, uncertainty, excitement and responsibility that may bring him, I will wholeheartedly celebrate with him!
I hope this finds you happy, healthy and hopeful.