Monday, 25 March 2013

A moment missed


When my daughter was four months old I decided it would be the thing to sell up and shift our new and amorphous life together two-hundred miles south. I should note that it was just the two of us – had been from the start. So the reality of the idea was something of an undertaking.

Off my face on hormones, I rode trains up and down the country with my baby, and roughshod over our golden chance to do nothing together. As she slept, I hunched over boxes. As she lay across my body, feeding, I soothed my bleeping phone with my fingers – ‘PROPERTY ALERT!’ it wailed insistently.

Our house was sold. I cried with relief that there would be no more viewings to dementedly tidy for, no more awkwardly kicking the breast pump under the sofa or hiding a damp nappy under the cat. And relief that soon my girl and I would relax again. Then our purchase fell through. We got back on the trains.

Oh yes, it was exciting at the start. A happy plan fuelled by a kind of nesting instinct gone wild. But, woah, the effort it took in the end. For months I was rheumy eyed and batshit crazy from exhaustion, with the jumpy fast-twitch reflexes of an overwrought racehorse.

We're here now, though, by the sea. Have been since my daughter was nine months old. And we love it. But the thing is, I missed her. She never left my side, in fact she barely left my arms, but while I poured over surveys, smiled weakly at estate agents and went quietly loopy from overload, I missed her.

In my odd postnatal explosion of activity, I forgot to pay attention. What I should have been doing was quietly watching, because something ephemeral and wonderful was happening in front of me; my daughter was being five, six, seven, eight months old for the first and last time. And I still miss it now.


  1. Oh do you know, I think most of us miss it even if we're not moving house. My two are v close in age, and when the youngest came along, it was amazing the number of times I gasped 'oh, the other one used to fold himself into a triangle/hold his fists like that/whatever!' and I had completely forgotten, within a year. I started frantically writing diaries to try and keep the moments. Don't beat yourself up about it. She won't remember the moments either, or hold it against you.

    1. Yes, yes thank you, you are definitely right. As I was writing I realised that I basically just miss every stage that has gone by! And I'm hopeless at sitting down and just soaking it all up while it's actually happening.

  2. Aaah this is sad and beautiful. I know how you feel. I missed a lot of my son during some wonderful months, when he was two. I was very heavily pregnant with his sister, exhausted; and then overwhelmed with caring for a new baby (while recovering from a caesarean that opened up then got infected). It was hard. But then I got to know him again....I suppose parenting has to have these ups and downs.

    1. Oh God, horrid! The same thing happened to me after emergency c-section. Isn't it awful?! Had another week in hospital. You're absolutely right, though, seems all parents have these feelings, no matter what's going on - probably because it's totally impossible to do things as you imagine (dream) you will.