“Bye” we all say in synchronised voices from the doorway, “see you later Eva” Roma shouts to the car as her sister is busy greeting her friend and turns to throw her a token casual wave behind. The door closes and Roma just looks at me, I fight off the urge to jump back into bed after sporting a huge headache for a couple of days, to take a moment to sit and appreciate the relative quiet or run to ‘get things done’, because as she looks up at me I realise something. We are together as a three.
In the week of course I am at home with Roma, we spend almost all of our time together and I suppose it has just become a given that she has been there, for 2 years she has been a constant. Eva joins after school and we enjoy that time as a three, me and them. The weekends are usually full of family activities as a four, precious one on one time with each individually, or ‘divide and conquer’ as some weekends call for. Rarely though, very very rarely in fact, are there times when Roma gets to have Mummy and Daddy together, quality time us three.
I feel a little bit bad writing that, but it is true that since Eva started school, and since having Roma really, we make such an effort to spend time with her, to make sure she feels as much part of the family as Roma whom is here all the time, to ensure she isn’t missing anything exciting and also because I miss her a ridiculous amount. I strive to treasure and recreate that one on one time we had four whole years of before Roma came. And also because Eva just needs it, and the littlest? She’s just happy to be with whoever she is with. I feel bad about the fact that because I spend so much time with her, that at the weekends I don’t feel the need to quite as much.
Lately though I have been waking up every day, looking at my just turned 2 year old and wondering when she grew up. That maybe as I have never spent that much time apart from her somehow I haven’t noticed it happening. On Tuesday I left her for the very first time at Nursery, just for an hour for a settling in session after she has badgered me for months to go and for the very first time with anyone that wasn’t someone I knew inside and out.
She absolutely loved it, she didn’t ask for me once and when I picked her up (after crying my eyes out in the car, and the coffee shop, and aching to hold my ‘baby’) she seemed to have instantly become a little girl. One that I am so proud of and that I really really want to soak up. To really notice and really appreciate the little person she is and the needs she has too, not just as the person who is happy to be around either of us, one of us, Eva, alone, the one who doesn’t really mind. I never want her to feel undervalued, second best or not treasured as the best little person that she is.
So on this sunny Saturday with Eva out at a party and a few precious hours together we made the effort to go out and treasure this quality time together. We simply went to the park which is something that she loves and we even had the place to ourselves. It was a really lovely day, I sat there just watching her marveling at how far we had come, since that first summer we sat as a four with the picnic blanket in almost that very spot and it felt like only yesterday. But now she is fully talking confident little girl that actually isn’t even that little anymore and I, we, are so utterly proud of her we could just eat her up with every fiber of our being, our baby, our littlest, the last time we will go through all of these firsts and the very best little one indeed.
She is such a stark contrast to her sister, she runs off and plays on her own, happy in her own company and really I’m sure she doesn’t mind that we are both there at all. But it was lovely that had she looked around, when she did glance over her shoulder, we were there, the two of us, completely there for her as we will always be and I am making a promise to her and myself that we will spend more quality time together in the the future.