October was another busy month with me rehearsing two shows and Sophie performing in a dance festival and celebrating her ninth birthday. Thomas is enjoying school and making friends. Life is very full – a little too full at times, to be honest! I keep thinking, “it will all settle down again after…” with various events or jobs finishing that sentence, but I’ve now resigned myself to the fact that it’s likely to be full on for the rest of the year now as Christmas preparations are starting to add themselves to the to-do list.
We’ve had some nice family moments in October. We don’t watch much TV, but Strictly is the one thing we always watch together as a family. I have a lot of happy memories of watching Sophie and Jessica dancing along in front of the TV. There’s less dancing along these days – Sophie tends to mostly watch and share her views rather than joining in and Thomas isn’t quite such a willing partner as Jessica was. It is nice to have that ordinary family time together though.
It was also nice having my husband home for Sophie’s birthday this year. He’s often away working on an event around that time so it makes it extra-special when he is home. Sophie was dancing in the festival on her actual birthday so we didn’t get a lot of family time on the day. She enjoyed her outdoor activity party a few days later and was very happy that Daddy was able to be there for her party as he’s missed a few of them. Our family photo this month was taken at the end of the party as we were packing up to go home.
Sophie’s birthday also brings with it another realisation of how fast time moves on and how quickly she and Thomas are growing up. I still can’t quite believe that my baby boy is big enough to be at school. Every so often, I look at Sophie and notice how much taller she is, how much she’s changed from the little girl she was when Jessica was here, how much she’s now moved beyond Jessica. And of course, I often wonder who Jessica would be now, what family life would be like with the three of them here together. Life as a bereaved family is a life that constantly straddles ‘life as it is’ and ‘life as it might have been’ – one existing in reality and the other in our minds.