I am typing this in a hotel room. It is lunchtime and you are both sleeping. I can hear the sweet, reassuring sound of each breath as your little chests rise and fall in sleep. It is the best sound in the world.
We have been surrounded by couples without children this weekend, doing the things that Mummy and Daddy used to do in the days before you two came along. Lying on sun loungers, swimming slowly around the pool, taking hours over lunch, strolling across the beach collecting shells, and sat at the beach bar with a cocktail, waiting for the sun to set.
We are your parents – and therefore, we have been doing the opposite. We have been on our feet the entire time, chasing you around the pool in your inflatable rings, mopping ice cream spills off the iPad at lunch, running after you on the beach, and missing the sunset as it happened at the exact time we were dressing you in your pyjamas back in our hotel room.
If we need a reminder of how much our lives have changed in the last 4 years, it is weekends like this.
But I wouldn’t trade places.
Not for a second.
Of course there have been times as a mother when I have missed the pace of pre-kids days. The chance to focus entirely on myself and my need to sleep or rejuvenate. The freedom to get up from a sun lounger when it’s getting too hot and plunge into the pool without checking if a small person is following. The chance to lie in a hotel bed in the morning and make the entirely selfish decision to trade breakfast for another hour’s sleep.
I miss these things sometimes. I miss sleep, I miss laziness, and I miss having to only think about myself.
I missed them especially in the beginning, when doing these things really did feel like yesterday.
But as the years ticked by, you two became our normal.
And it became obvious that you never took those things away from me.
You just made me appreciate them so much more when I get the chance to indulge. And you helped me to appreciate the memories.
One day, we will be back on those sun loungers – and in the meantime, I get to enjoy you.
Your company, your laughter, your sandy faces, your sleepy breaths in a hotel room on a Friday afternoon. And most importantly, the fact that you are better than any of these things. Better by far.
I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
I really wouldn’t.
Not for a single second.