Respice Finem

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Punting on The Cam

Life with a toddler is an exhilerating and exhausting rollercoaster of chaos and sticky fingers. We’ve just returned home from a night in Cambridge; it has been nine whole years since I graduated, and there was a special dinner for a retiring Porter. This particular Porter had been known to assist an inebriated me up D&E staircase, akin to what a friend described as Steve Irwin wrestling a crocodile. The least I could do was show up to his leaving meal [sober!]

Freddie was a little star; we went punting on the Cam yesterday lunchtime, and the sun shone. Watching him smile as he marvelled at the other punts, the ducks, the bridges, was just beautiful. I think he will appear on many people’s holiday snaps, as he enjoyed waving to other “punters”. It was one of the most enjoyable afternoons Freddie and I have had together; I felt so unbelievably lucky, to be back in the microcosm of Cambridge, with my little boy. In those moments punting, life was perfect; and I’m sure I will look back on yesterday for many years to come.

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A picnic on the faculty lawn

We had a picnic on the archaeology faculty lawn. The last time I sat on that lawn was on a June afternoon in 2007 waiting for our degree classifications to be pinned to the Senate House. Needless to say yesterdays Pom Bears and cocktail sausages were a whole lot more relaxing. Freddie had an ice cream on Kings Parade, and I bought him a “Cambridge” t shirt from Ryder & Amies.

And then it was back to college, where once ready for dinner, we played in the grounds – Freddie ran with his little “tactor” and revelled in the space and freedom.

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With my mentor/director of studies, Kate Pretty

I hadn’t expected it to be so emotional. I love Homerton dearly; it wasn’t always easy to be there as a student; yet returning yesterday felt in many ways like a home coming. It was wonderful not only to see the people – but the bricks and mortar; the lawns, the same smell in the Buttery, the same pictures hanging in the corridors. I still felt as if I belonged there; and in turn; so did Fred. I didn’t expect to feel so proud – proud of having stuck it out when I might have walked away; proud of this little smiling toddler who slept through his first Cambridge Formal. How amazing, to have experienced life as a Cambridge student. My degree may not be put to its best use; but no one can ever take it away from me. I love the idea of taking Freddie to Cambridge for a weekend each year, introducing him to the museums and libraries; to the bookshops and pubs. I hope he grows to love it as much as I do.

It was such a luxury to eat a three course meal with a sleeping toddler, peaceful in his pram at the end of the table! Intelligent conversation; no mention of nappies or sick, or Ra Ra the Noisy Lion. I could almost feel the rusty cogs of my brain grinding into action! Of course, it was down to earth with a bump when I had to share a single bed with a restless boy who was wide awake at 5.20am. I’m going to hold out for 7pm tonight, but can’t make any promises!

 

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A letter to Freddie

Dear little boy,

14079518_1984626361763792_8126995669735762084_nIn the early hours of tomorrow morning you will be 18 months old …  a whole year and a half in the world. On the one hand it seems like yesterday – I still yearn to press rewind and relive it all again …. yet on the other, I cannot imagine a time when you weren’t here. How much fun we’ve had and how much you’ve grown. I find it very strange that if you’re reading this one day, you won’t remember any of the things we’ve done in the past 18months. Of course, Momma knows that nothing is wasted and that everything you’ve seen and felt and done has contributed to the vivacious happy little boy you are today. I’m so proud of you, and I don’t think I’ll ever truly believe you’re mine …. I’m such a lucky momma.

Today we collected Percy Pickle kitten, our first pet; and you were very excited about playing with him. Momma has had to teach you to be gentle when you pick him up, and to let him sleep when he needs to sleep … but before we came to bed you gave him your Iggle Piggle, and I hope you grow to be good friends. I think it’s important children grow up with a pet; and Percy Pickle will be a buddy to get up to mischief with! Please don’t eat the cat food though darling …

We’ve just had a lovely week away with your friend Atticus and his Mummy to Bluestone in14183771_1985326771693751_456552263184359963_n Wales. It was a real joy to watch you play together and learn from each other. Whilst Atti picked up your very sweet and constant “Momma Momma Momma”, you learnt to say “tractor”, or “Tacdaw” as you so cutely put it. You’ve made sandcastles on the beach, eaten sausage and chips by the sea, seen lots of animals at Folly Farm, and had a blast swimming in the Blue Lagoon with your new arm bands. You had a really fun time, and Momma’s a little sad that it’s back to work tomorrow ….

Sometimes I lie here watching you sleep at night, stroke your little face, and hope that I’m getting this parenting business right. I want to be a gentle, fun mum … I want to say yes as often as I can; and I don’t want to be a shouty nag. You’re a good boy, Freddie Worthington-Phillips … and you light up my world.

Eighteen months …. from my 7Ib 9oz newborn, to my little boy … just think of all the adventures we have to come. But now, my dear one, your Momma is going to snuggle down beside you [at 20.25] because quite frankly I’m exhausted! Can’t take the pace these days …

Lots of love,

Momma x