Last week a crowd of emotional parents gathered at the market cross in Shepton Mallet. We exchanged tearful half smiles and nods, as we nervously awaited the wobbly stream of yellow, and pink fluffy bonnets to appear at the bottom of Town Street.
A myriad of tiny high vis jackets , bunny ears, paper eggs on bent straw hats and anxious toddlers , totter up the street towards us. Some little ones smile , giggle and wave as they spot their proud parents in the crowd. Others glance shyly at the ground and chew their cuffs. This is my Harry’s last Easter bonnet parade, as he’ll be moving up to St.Paul’s in September. It’s the same for all the Year 2’s and us mums are all aching inside, as we realise just how fast kids really do grow up! As I strain on tip toes to see him enthusiastically ‘sign’ the lyrics to crowd favourite ‘Spring Chicken’; my mind flashes back to the day of his birth. His shiny eyes, tiny upturned nose, new born hair smell, and weirdly hairy shoulders!
That overwhelming sense of unconditional love I felt, and still feel every night when I creep in to watch him sleep - wrapped up in his pokemon duvet. That feeling , which only slightly subsides when he’s pushing his luck for more time on his Kindle Fire, or is strenuously denying painting the cat blue- despite hands covered in ink! I cannot actually believe this gets harder not easier, as other parents claim. Yet, during ‘Plant A little Seed’ my mind flashes forwards this time. I imagine my boys as teenagers, dressed in skinny jeans - maybe on hover boards? ( Hey I watch too much sci fi !) being upset over girlfriends, wanting to go out in the evenings, navigating the world of social media, maybe being offered drugs -oh my God. I have to stop. I’ll have a panic attack if I keep going. I’m going to ruin these last glorious moments of Harry’s last Easter parade, If I don’t get a grip. I squeeze Wayne’s hand. Laugh at the fact he’s helping my 73 year old mother balance on top of a pillar so she can see. And take a few deep breaths. Yes time does fly, and ofcourse my boys will grow up. But as parents, I feel we do our best. Ofcourse we aren’t perfect all the time. When I need time to write this column, I sometimes throw them a bag of crisps and tell them to watch another episode of ‘Teen Titans Are Go’ for example! But, they are loved, they are protected ,yet still encouraged to take some risks. They are listened to and encouraged to talk and express their feelings. Wayne has quit smoking and I have quit drinking- so we can lead by example. Wayne chose to become self employed so he can work hours which allow him to share school runs, and watch school plays. We have less money, but more time. And it’s so worth it.
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)