I've taken so many photos lately, and had intended to do a couple of posts about seasonal flowers. But sometimes I don't stick to my plans. Often I'll just write about what's on my mind, so instead: a post about Joe.
Of course, he's always on my mind. Whether he's with me or not (I went out with friends for a meal on Saturday night and we ended up looking through pictures of our little ones and discussing all the sweet - and not so sweet - things they do).
This morning I decided to opt out of the chaos that is the preschool car park. Instead we walked down the steep, narrow lane and I realised how lucky we are. Hedgerows and stone walls on either side of us, wildflowers and woodland, the moors rising up ahead. We talked about when leaves change colour, and what buttercups are. We picked dandelions and blew the seeds away. We stuck cleavers ('stickybobs') onto our sleeves.
He starts school in September. It's not very far away now. The thought of it makes me sad.
I know that even though he'll only just have turned four, he'll be fine. I've anxiously sought out advice from the preschool staff, from family members who teach. But still... He'll be so little. He still makes a dreadful mess when he eats. He still has the occasional 'accident' when he's too absorbed in playing to bother going to the loo. He's cuddly and silly and thinks everyone in the world is harmless.
I toyed with the idea of holding him back for another year, but the reality is he's bright and curious and within a few months he'd be climbing the walls with boredom and frustration. His peers would have all gone off to school and he'd be left playing with the toddlers.
And I need to work. A few snatched hours here and there isn't enough. I need time to deal with the technical side of things, to make my work and promote it. I initially thought that once Joe was nine months old, maybe a year, I'd go back out to work. I couldn't see me ever being maternal. In fact, it worried me.
Turns out I was very wrong. I wanted to stay with him and yes, have a frugal couple of years if that was what was needed. It's a very personal decision and one I don't regret for even a moment.
Yes, there are times when I feel exhausted, provoked, angry, exasperated. That's what children do to you. I sometimes look back wistfully at those pre-motherhood days when I could enjoy a lie-in and a quiet weekend with a book.
But he's my boy and we're part of each other. We go on adventures and make one another laugh. He brings me feathers to put in my workroom and makes me 'dinner' in his toy kitchen. We have fun and learn about things.
School simply means he's getting bigger. This phase of his life is coming to an end and a new one's beginning. We've got lots of memories and photographs and stories, and I plan to make these last few months of his being properly little count. September will be here before we know it. I read a quote somewhere recently about motherhood: that the days are long but the years are short.
So we'll keep having fun, and buying that new uniform can wait just a little while longer.