For some time now, I have been painfully aware of how rarely either one of my children gets my undivided attention.
My daughter is a second child and her brother has recently been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. She has not had the wholehearted newborn adoration her brother received. She has never been the sole object of mummy’s hopes and dreams, the single anchor of mummy’s universe; she has always held that title jointly.
My son has a baby sister who has just turned one and a mummy who strains to meet the demands of two small children and a teaching job. He is still struggling, every day, to come to terms with the changes his sister’s presence brings. She is a vociferous and capricious element in a world he wants – needs – to be certain and predictable.
So I have decided, each weekend, I am going to alternate taking one of my children to do an activity with me alone, just us two, while daddy takes the other. I will then relate the most precious moments and photos from these times in a monthly series called ‘Just Us Two’. This is the first of that series.
Just Us Two #1 – 30.01.2016
Today, we went to the park, my son and I, just us two.
I bundled you up in your jumper, sturdy boots and puddlesuit and we set off hand in hand, out into the sunny morning.
We walked together and you told me the colours of the cars you could see, the colour of the sky. As we arrived, you noted the football match taking place on the park field and your face lit up.
We explored the train and the playhouse and the swings and roundabouts, your feet and waterproof drenched with moisture as you made your way through the huge puddles.
Sometimes, you were sad. The slide was too fast, another boy was in the playhouse that you needed to be just for you, “not together.” I glanced apologetically at his mother and she met my look with an understanding smile.
But you were mostly happy. You ran along the path and round and round and you called me to look at things and got wet and out of breath, your cheeks flushing with exertion and excitement.
This day will never come again. These moments have already passed. And so I will record them here so that I might remember the day we went to the park, just us two.
Your childish shouts mixing with the deeper voices of the men playing football on the field over the way.
The way the sunlight made our shadows stretch.
The way your delight and terror were writ large on your face, changing in an instant, the way childish emotions are wont to do.
The way you love to make things spin.
Your curiosity as you inspected each new piece of equipment as if it were new. We have not been to the park since the Summer and that must now be a dim memory for you.
The bright colours, the chill in the air, your warm hand in mine, and how much I love you, little boy, and how much I loved our time, just us two.