Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Twelve Marbles To Go

One of the clichés in life is people who have been parents for a while going up to new parents, advising them to "enjoy your child now as before you know it they'll have left home". I remember people saying that to me and Catrina when our first child, Zak, was born and feeling really annoyed by it. We were barely surviving as sleep deprived, mystified, clueless and at times at the end of our tether parents, and the thought of this little bundle ever leaving home couldn't have been further from our minds.

Well I'm now on the other side of that equation. In twelve days time Zak leaves home to start a course at Warwick University, and I really can't believe that it's gone so quickly!

A while ago I heard someone suggest that if you have a child you should fill a jar with marbles, with one marble for every day until they are 18 (if you do that when they're born that would be 6,570 marbles, plus a few for leap years). Then every day you take out one of the marbles, to remind yourself that you now have one less day with them as a child. As the jar begins to empty it's a reminder to make the most of every day. Never to resent those nappy changes, bedtime stories, endless watching of CBeebies, helping with homework, ferrying them here there and everywhere, rooms which were tidy when you went to bed at 11pm and are full of pizza boxes when you come down in the morning. To forgive quickly and to laugh often. To turn off the iPhone when they want to play a game, rather than sending one more email. Every day to tell them you love them, not get cross about the mess in their rooms, catch them doing the right thing, welcome their friends and prepare them for independence. Because one day the jar will be empty.


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