A sunny afternoon, watching my girls having fun together. Listening to the squeals of delight, the giggles as they chase each other round and round. Watching the way they wander off hand in hand together. And I stop and think – this is my perfect moment. This is what matters most; this is what really makes my life worth living. This is when I am at my happiest.
I want to freeze this moment and hold it, to be here forever in this time when my girls are small and so full of joy and wonder, so loving, so innocent. This moment where the days are ours for the taking; where we can just decide to head off somewhere for the day; this time when these two precious girls are still just mine. A time when we’re not yet subject to school terms and timetables, where we are free to explore and roam, to live in the moment and enjoy it to its fullest.
This day where Jessica is well and happy, full of life and full of beans. Where I can pretend for a moment that there is no shadow on our horizon, that life will continue this way and that she is safe near me where she belongs. Safe in this moment where my family feels so complete, so wonderful, so perfect.
We got our place at the local infant school. I am glad that we got our first choice whilst wishing that time will go by as slowly as possible over the coming days and weeks and months. I am not looking forward to the day when half of my little girl’s waking hours will be spent away from me. And yet I also know how lucky I have been to have had so much time with her, how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be home with her and how lucky I am that her time with me is maximised thanks to her early September birthday. These things I am thankful for.
It’s not just the approach of school that casts a shadow over my horizon though – a bigger shadow potentially looms in front of it. We now have a date for Jessica’s cardiac catheter – the first step on the path to her next major heart surgery. A surgery which may well take place before Jessica starts school. Another reason for wanting to stop time right now, to freeze this moment and hold it as tightly as I can. The fear, the uncertainty, the knowledge of the rollercoaster that awaits – all these things threaten the fragile beauty of this perfect, wonderful moment.
And yet, what can I do? Time is relentless, it marches on regardless of what I say, or wish, or do. Those baby days that seemed so long at times when viewed through the fog of sleep deprivation now seem to have passed in a flash. One moment I had a tiny baby in my arms. I blinked and she became a toddler, then a pre-schooler, and now a schoolgirl is peeking around the corner. Where did that tiny baby go?
One thing I know – these carefree days are ones that I must treasure, and enjoy as fully as I can. And while I do not know what tomorrow will bring, one thing is sure: I will not let the fear of it rob today of its joys.