{To Rian, starting ‘big’ school!}

You love going to the park. Running around the playground, I watch as you look across every so often to make sure that I can see the amazing jump you’re about to make, or watch as you push yourself to new heights on the swing. I watch as you climb higher than you did the last day.. or ran faster than the last day… it pretty much doesn’t matter what you’re doing… I notice as you check to see whether I’m looking or not.

‘Watch this Mama!’

My approval, and your Dads of course, is still all that matters to you. ‘I can see you!’ I reassure, but still, you look back three more times before you make the jump, just to be completely sure. As soon as it’s done, you check again. ‘Did you see me, Mama?’

Oh I always see you, there’s nothing I love watching more than you and your brother having fun, doing things for the first time that even a few weeks ago you weren’t able to do. ‘Well done! That was amazing! The best jump yet – wait til we tell Dad!’ You run off to the next challenge, delighted with yourself, and it goes again.

‘My Mama says…’ … I hear you as you tell someone what exactly it was I said, as if it was the one and only thing that mattered in the whole world, my opinion. I know I’m still your hero.

‘Mam, would you like to snuggle with me?’

My heart melts a bit. ‘Oh yes please!’ I say, as you edge yourself down the couch a bit and open up the blanket ( or a miniscule corner of it anyway!) for me to sit under… then you proceed to narrate me through all your favourite parts of the film. ‘Watch this bit Mama!’ as if we hadn’t already seen it a thousand times that week.

‘Mam, I picked a flower for you!’ Walking in the woods, I hold out my hand as you put a handful of weeds in my palm, then wait as your brother follows suit, copying everything his big brother does. ‘Now don’t lose them!’ I have to hold them carefully for the rest of the walk… they rarely make it to the end of our walk but, how I wish I could keep them forever.

‘Oh Mam, you’re just so squishy’ You look up at me, your little arms reaching halfway around my legs as you squeeze tight, your little face looking up at me so full of admiration as if being squishy must surely be the best thing anyone could dream of being. Squishy to you must mean safe, secure and loved.

I know, I’m still your hero.

But Rian, didn’t you know, that you’re the hero?

You made me into a mother… when there were days I thought I’d never be anyone’s mother, there you were. I teach you things every day, but you teach me so much more. To learn that there are levels of happiness that I never knew existed just by hearing something you say, a story you tell, or a question you ask… just by simply looking at you.

You’re almost five years old, and this day next week, you start school. It’s a bittersweet milestone, marking the fact that you’re definitely not a baby anymore. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll still be your hero. To some degree, perhaps I’ll always be one of your heroes… oh at least I hope I am, if I do this job right. But of course it’s inevitable, people will come into your life and teach you new things.. your world will expand, and so it should! The adventures you’ll go on, the fun you will have… I want so much to be there for it all every step of the way, and I will be as long as you’ll have me.

I know I have loads more lessons to learn as you grow up, and now I have to start to learn that you will begin to need me less and less in some ways. Other influences will be there to teach, to reach out to. You can’t wait to start school and your excitement is infectious… of course I have no intention of holding you back, it’s just I wish the time could slow down a little bit! Every new phase for you is a new phase too for your Dad and I, each one more fun than the one before. Now it’s a bigger change, the start of new foundations that will hopefully stay with you for life and help shape the person you will be.. you’re going to be making decisions for yourself and finding out that you can do and be anything you want. I hope that your Dad and I can guide you safely, encourage you whole-heartedly, give you all the tools you need to be the best person and make the best choices for yourself… to be even greater than the amazing little person you are today.

Because you are amazing.

You are my hero.

Posted by:Jen Ryan

I'm Jen, 30-something, married, Mam of two little Munchkins, 2 dogs, Irish, red-haired and actual genius. (May not be true). I love Photography, cheesy stuff (including the music), fond of a cup of tea or two, although since the Munchkins arrived and taught me that sleep is for the weak, coffee is currently in top position.

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