It’s funny the little things that get to you as a parent, isn’t it? The things that bring a lump to your throat and shouldn’t bother you but somehow they just do.
One day last week I was in the office, knee-deep in spreadsheets and calendars and everything else that nibbles at my working day until before I know it, suddenly it’s eight o’ clock at night and everybody seems to be heading home. And an email flashed up in the bottom-right side of the screen entitled ‘Please don’t kill me’. It’s an attention-grabbing title, right? So I mentally put down what I was doing and loaded the email.
And there were two pictures of my children, one each, standing against our back door with slightly worried-looking expressions and a new haircut.
I had missed their first hair cut.
I can’t tell you how many of their milestones I’ve missed. Their first breaths – too busy sulking to tell the surgical team that I wanted them as soon as they were out – first smiles – attached to the breast pump and not the babies – first solid food – in the office – first time they crawled – in the office – first steps – in the office – first words – in the office. I miss every milestone. Usually I’m quite stoic about it because as the working parent, this is what I’ve signed up for. I miss things. She tells me about them later and sometimes it feels as though I was there but those are secondhand memories, they’re not really mine.
But this was a milestone that I could control. I had expected to be there for this, to share in it. In my head I had already planned the photos that I would take, how I would share them, whether we would reward them for sitting still (they didn’t) with something sweet.
Kirsty couldn’t have known that I would mind. For all that I had thought about it I’m not sure that I had ever even mentioned a desire to be there for the first time that scissors meant hair. It was nobody’s fault and there was no point in passing blame but once it was done it was done and we certainly couldn’t stick the hair back on their heads. I just didn’t know how much it would matter until it was too late.
Perhaps I’m just realising more and more as they’re growing bigger that I’m not going to be around for very much of it, and perhaps it is just starting to sting a little more. I love my job and I certainly don’t want to spend less time in the office… I just need more hours in each day and more days in each week to balance things out a little.
Are you sentimental about milestones? What have you missed, and did it matter?
Most importantly, do you like their new fringes? At least they’ve stopped walking into things..!