Tonight is the first one. The first soft, still, warm summers evening. It makes me so happy, but in a calm, almost nostalgic way.
It feels like Sunday night, this last night of September. It feels like a Sunday night at the end of a 2 week weekend. Not just because it's the last night before the 4th term starts tomorrow (back to school is very fucking cool when you're a work-from-home parent), but because the last few weeks have been so full.
I've spent the month writing for a blog project which goes live tomorrow. A blog site dedicated to breast cancer issues for the month of October. It's writing work which has come directly from blogging, and ironically from this one, not C is for Cape Town.
It's been incredibly stimulating and I've enjoyed the process immensely, although the subject matter is hugely sobering.
I was a bit side-tracked a week or so ago by getting sick though. A real nasty flu bug which wiped me out. I'm still coughing, and have just been googling all the kids meds we have in the house seeing if I can self-medicate this one. I do not feel like a GP visit (especially as I'm paying for psychoanalysis right now!) but I must be well by the weekend - I've a rock festival to attend! (I know!)
Then the school holidays hit, just 10 days long and jam packed full of action. We had 4 birthday parties in 4 days - two kiddies and two grown-up (perfect!). I baked and dressed up and sorted out gifts and meals and baby-sitters and schedules and it was all such fun, but how quickly these events recede into the distance in these crazy busy lives of ours.
Maybe it's all receded particularly quickly as I've just spent the weekend with FOUR smalls in tow (fact: being outnumbered by small children will cause brain cells to flee in indignation). My bestie's been here, with her 2.3 yr old and new 4 month old delight.
Charl was away on a bike rally so we borrowed my parent's 7 seater car and played Mormon wives for the weekend. It was completely wonderful, in a totally chaotic, nonsensical, relentless and extremely loud way.
My dear friend is right on the front line of toddler + baby craziness, a state I still remember so very well. It is incomprehensibly intense for anyone who's not been there, and such an eye-opener for me on how far I've come.
In some ways my days with the girls now are a complete walk in the park in comparison to then, although I do remind myself that it's just a new set of challenges really. But there's no doubt the physical demands on me are less, the personal space is broader and the reminder of this has left me feeling so free and, of course - because us parents are always such suckers - a little sad.
To be reminded of the exquisite purity of that moment when your hungry baby latches on to your breast. The happy grunt, the tiny hand patting you appreciatively, the eyes staring at you in gratitude, satisfaction and a little bit of what-the-hell-took-you-so-long.
I'll never feel that again, which is more than okay on every level except the deep thrum of nostalgia.
I lay next to Stella as she fell asleep tonight, my baby who seemed (and acted) like such a big girl these last few days. The night outside was soft and still, the first night, and also one of the last.
Such is life.