By the time this week is over, Mike and I will have completed our first decade of parenting. I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms until G came home from school a couple of months back and announced proudly that she would be turning a decade old this year. Now that I have realised the truth in her statement, it seems like an amazing feat and, oh my goodness, hasn’t that time just flown by?
We’ve learnt so many things over the last 10 years, most of which are lessons all new parents discover sooner or later. The most important one for me, I think, is that we have made many mistakes along the way and are likely to continue to make them despite our best efforts not to. The best I can hope for is that there are no lasting scars being left on either G or M. Equally inevitable is the fact that we’ve made the majority of those mistakes with G as by the time we got round to dealing with M, we had a better sense of the direction we wanted our parenting skills to take us.
The last 10 years with G have been an absolute delight, albeit there’s been the odd moment of stress or anxiety or frustration thrown our way. We’ve watched our baby girl (oh how she hates me calling her that!) grow into a young lady who is beautiful both inside and out. She is kind-hearted, generous, patient and loving, most of the time, although she has her moments of obstinate refusal, which I prefer to call “knowing her own mind”. She is keen to please and hates to see her friends upset or disappointed and yet is fast learning to stick to her guns and will no longer pander to the whims of those surrounding her.
G has become a wonderful big sister to M and whilst tney might squabble and fight at home, she always has his back in the outside world. Living with M is hard and sometimes the pressures on G are immense. His constant battle with ill-health means that G often has to take the backseat in our priorities. As is frequently the case, the healthier siblings of sick children can easily become lost in the chaos that is the illness, appointments and hospital visits and we work hard daily to ensure that G’s individual needs are met and that she feels that she gets the time and attention she deserves. M might be her annoying little brother, but she worries about him whenever we have to travel to appointments and waits anxiously until we’re back home again. The bond between my children is irrefutable and one that I hope will continue to grow and strengthen over time.
G is bright, articulate, funny and able to achieve so much, although the one thing that continues to hold her back in her lack of self-belief. Last week, G received her green award for 6 years continual attendance at Stagecoach. We started her at 4, partly to satisfy my own love for the performing arts and partly in the hope that she would develop and build her confidence through the weekly classes. G has grown incredibly as a performer during her time there and in the past 12 months has amazed us with a willingness to sing solos as part of two Stagecoach concerts as well as play a clarinet solo at school. These are things she would have actively shied away from in the past and it’s been a real pleasure to see her become so keen to be involved. As we read through her end-of-term report together, I was impressed with G’s maturity as she quickly identified that all 4 teachers were saying the same thing – that she needs to develop confidence in her own abilities as she has the potential to go far. I’m excited to see just how she will tackle this new challenge in the year ahead.
So, as we head into our second parenting decade, there’s not much more to say. As may have become quite apparent, we are incredibly proud of G and all she’s acheived and survived so far. All I can add is:
“Happy 10th birthday Floss – we love you very, very much”