July – a month of transitions. With the end of the school year and Thomas’s birthday approaching, July brings with it a reminder of how quickly my children are growing up, and with it a stronger ache for the one who is no longer growing up with her siblings. The reminder of time moving on, leaving Jessica behind. This July has felt particularly tough as it brings the end of certain eras for Sophie and Thomas.
Sophie’s time in the Explorer section of Girls’ Brigade has now come to an end which has been very emotional for me. She started in the Explorers with Jessica and I’ll never forget how proud I was at their first church parade when they were in the GB uniforms together. They only had a few months there together and those memories are particularly precious as they never got to be at school together and that time at Girls’ Brigade was the closest I got to having that kind of experience. Sophie moving up to Juniors at the awards evening without having a big sister to follow into that section made my heart ache – another of the many milestones that she has experienced without Jessica there.
Thomas too is coming to the end of an era as he finishes preschool. The preschool graduation events are bringing back tough memories there too. I remember the whirl of emotions when Jessica finished preschool, how I longed to be able to pause time and freeze the moment for a while, hold on to that time when she was small. Sophie finishing preschool was a whirlwind of emotions too but for very different reasons. We were still in those raw early weeks of grief and I was struggling with being very pregnant in the hot weather with Thomas about to arrive. Thomas finishing preschool brings back all of those feelings again, and the reminder that my time as a mummy with children not yet at school is about to come to an end.
I’m grateful for the moments we have. Grateful for the beautiful bond that Sophie and Thomas share. Grateful for the beautiful memories of Jessica, for the love that Sophie still has for her, for the way Thomas includes her. I’m heartbroken for all the moments that Jessica isn’t physically part of, the milestones that she doesn’t reach. This time of year is bittersweet but especially hard in a life where grief is wrapped around all the milestone moments. As always, I remind myself that we carry Jessica with us wherever we go, but it doesn’t make it any easier to bear. But we keep moving forward, because we have no other choice and we keep celebrating the milestones and enjoying the moments as best we can.
Thomas (3 years 11 months)
- Loved his visit to his reception class – so much so that he got quite upset when Mummy picked him up and wouldn’t take him back to his new class again! He’s going to be in the same class that Jessica and Sophie were in, albeit with a new teacher.
- Missed out on his preschool sports day due to being unwell which I was quite sad about.
- Has had his last Tots Go Wild session. It has been so lovely having that time outdoors with him every week and it always made me smile how he would turn nearly everything into a numbers-based activity.
- Can now count to over one hundred in German and continues to keep me on my toes with having to brush up my own language skills!
Sophie (8 years 8 months)
- Enjoyed her transition afternoon in her Year 4 classroom.
- Had a lovely afternoon with her dance friends at the dance school picnic and was very happy to win the tap award.
- Is enjoying learning a new routine for a modern solo.
- Enjoyed taking part in the Brigades’ display evening and getting her badges for the year at the awards evening, plus winning the Explorer Marks competition and the Attendance Trophy.
Jessica (forever 6 years 7 months)
- Jessica’s trophy was awarded at the Brigades’ awards evening to my lovely goddaughter. It means a lot too to know that Jessica is still very much a part of the GB family and remembered with so much love. She would have been proud of Sophie that evening and would have loved having her sister move up into her section.