It's only when I turn and look back over my shoulder that I realise that I've moved to a different stage. Which is how I really feel right now.
My son is about to finish another year of school, and in September Missy will be joining him. I will have two school children! No more little pre-school toddlers, or babies even...And it might be this nostalgia which has prompted me to share this story with you.
This is my dear friend Alexci, and her beautiful boy River. And this is the gift that Alexci's friends made to welcome River into the world.
Around the time that I had my son Torin, then later my daughter Missy, all my friends seemed to be having babies too. And in the-time-of-many-babies we evolved a little tradition to welcome these new lives. Now that I'm not surrounded by babies so much, I thought I'd pass on our 'tradition.'
Around a week or so before the baby was due, we would gather at the mother-to-be's house, armed with chocolate.
There might also be some gifts for the mother-to-be (that would help her to feel special, and pampered. Bath oil, fragrant candles, chocolate and, um chocolate... And we would all bring something handmade to hang on a mobile for the new baby. I saw many of these mobiles created at lovely sociable evenings. They were all different, and all reflected the different group who had gathered together, and their talents.
I made many coloured felt birds, resurrecting the embroidery skills I learnt as a child. And we would add our creations to the mobile, and share a few words of encouragement for the birth and excitement about the baby.
It was a really beautiful thing to do. Somehow by creating a mobile together, we created a space for the new baby.
This is Alexci's mobile. Sadly I couldn't make her 'gathering'. Mr As-it-Seams is a musician, and I think he was performing that night. So none of the creations hanging here are mine. And this is much more nature-based than many of them. Others were more about sewing and crafts. But this is perfect for Alexci, it perfectly reflects her and her friends. And these photos were taken for a magazine article that I wrote at the time, about our tradition - so I have a good record!
Missy has a mobile - and it has a little silk fairy, a pine-cone pixie, a felted star. It is also looking a little tatty. It has scraps of paper drawings added by my son, who was four at the time of her birth, and wanted to get involved, as well as seashells that we picked on the beach and strung together. It's not very stylish now, but it is a special piece of our family's history.Now the-time-of-many-babies has passed for me, but I like to think that the creativity will continue!