Last January, we started making time in the mornings for ‘snuggle time’ – a few minutes of cuddling up together on the sofa before the start of the rush to get ready for the day ahead. We’d read the poem for the day from ‘I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree’ and just enjoy a moment of calm.
Those moments in the morning have become my favourite part of the day. We’ve now also added some story time along with the daily poem, reading a few pages of whatever book Sophie wants me to read to her and Thomas (we’re currently working our way through my childhood collection of Roald Dahl books). For those few moments, we’re all calm, content and feeling loved. And I know that no matter how frayed my patience may get later on, I started the day right. My children have started the day knowing how much they are loved, and we’ve had quality time together. Those few moments are such precious ones.
Most of the time it’s just me, Sophie and Thomas having snuggle time, but occasionally Daddy joins us too. As this morning was one of those times and I hadn’t yet taken a family snap for this month, it seemed a good moment to do so. They’re not the best photos of us – they’re grainy, we’re all a bit bleary-eyed and I’m wearing an ancient dressing gown that has definitely seen better days – but they capture a beautiful, loving moment of family life (and a silly moment with us pulling faces) and I love them. I just wish that Jessica was physically there to join in the snuggle too.
As with any other month, January has brought ups and downs. We’ve passed another milestone on our grief journey, with Thomas now being older than Sophie was when Jessica died. The moment when the balance tips and our family life with Sophie and Thomas becomes longer than the time we had with Jessica and Sophie together. It’s a tough milestone, like all these kinds of milestones but we get through them as best we can.
We have a picture on the wall in our hallway that Jessica drew a couple of months before she died. It’s a picture of the shoebox house she made and the paper dolls that went with that house. Five paper dolls – Mummy, Daddy, Jessica, Sophie and Peanut (as Thomas was back then). I love that we have a picture of the five of us that Jessica drew. It has words above the picture. “My Mummy, my Daddy, my Sophie. My love me. Me Jessica.” A reminder of how much Jessica loved us, and how we loved her. That love still binds us all together and always will.