Fifteen years ago tomorrow, I became a mother for the first time when my beautiful baby girl came into the world, informing it of her arrival with lungs that Shirley Bassey would have been proud of. She turned my life as I knew it, on its head and if Iâ€™m honest, in the weeks that followed, made me wonder what on earth Iâ€™d done.
In spite of the shock to the system that was first time motherhood, I fell completely and utterly head over heels in love with this gorgeous bundle of pink and my parenting journey began. Twelve years later to the day, my sixth child, her little brother and Godson was born.
Â At the time, his arrival made my daughter seem very grown up by comparison, as she approached the end of her primary school time. He seemed so dependent in every regard while she was about to start an exciting new chapter in her education, one she couldnâ€™t wait for. She strived for independence and he couldnâ€™t live without me. The different needs were stark and challenging.
The first child gets to be the guinea pig in so many regards. I was she myself, so I can appreciate the frustrations but now Iâ€™m viewing it from a different perspective. This week as my daughter takes on her Junior Cert Iâ€™m like most mums I imagine, and I worry that sheâ€™ll get enough rest, not stress too much and hope the paper goes well. Iâ€™m trying in the little ways that I can, to make home life a little bit easier for her so she can do what she needs to do. What I really want to do however, is actually go in and take the exams for her.
As I type, my nine month old son is bouncing to the tune of â€œIn the Night Gardenâ€ and my â€œone day away from 15â€ year old daughter is taking Irish Paper 2. How she gets on will be totally down to her. I canâ€™t influence or affect the outcome of the exams, save maybe for helping her to be in the best frame of mind possible and discouraging the pointless post mortems after each paper. In contrast, I can pick up my bouncing nine month old and feed, change and do everything he needs done for him.
As I walked back from the school today many parents stopped to admire my littlest dude. They said they couldnâ€™t believe how he big he is now and everyone agreed time goes so fast. It certainly does. As if birthdays arenâ€™t enough of a reminder, state exams certainly hammer that home!