It’s 4 a.m. and I’m up for the day, nestled on the sofa with Assam tea and crumpled pyjamas. The boys sleep soundly upstairs. The birds are beginning their chorus of song as the light trickles into a new dawn; yet I know, as I always do, I’ll miss the moment it turns from dark to light. Morning will come and the silhouettes which dance in the garden will become a riot of colour, the sun will creep gently higher and the traffic will begin to speed past. I miss it every time. There’s nothing but darkness and shadows and then boom! a new dawn.
It’s been a blissful week. Wednesday brought a trip to Carsington Water where the boys stripped to pants and paddled in the water, their skin glistening with sun cream. Ever lengthening limbs soaking up the vitamin D, bleaching their golden hair and bringing out slight smatterings of freckles upon their upturned faces. I watch as they frolick, long limbs digging in the water bed, slipping over rocks and settled mud. They laugh as they watch a swan, bottom up, dive into the water looking for food. He patrols the water edge. There is a nest somewhere and he protects it from three small boys and their friends.
Thursday they paddled at a slightly more hygienic paddling pool, freshly filled for the summer months. They screamed with joy, chasing friends and wielding toy sharks. Later that day, as I kissed their faces, I caught the faint tang of chlorine and sun cream and it made me smile.
We visited the tramway museum in Crich on Friday. The sun stayed high in a cloudless sky, deepening the creases on my face but beautiful nonetheless. We didn’t go last year, but this place is an old favourite of the boys’. We wandered through the museum, giving impromptu lessons on horse, steam and electric power. We looked at the trams through the ages. The boys rode tram after tram, begging to be allowed to sit on the open deck up top. They sought out intricately carved wooden sculptures nestled throughout the woods, and imagined the workings of the lead mines below ground. My goodness, there are worse ways to spend a day than with friends in the sunshine.
Yesterday, a rare day to ourselves where we caught up with errands, sending post that’s been gathering dust on the shelf and getting much needed haircuts. As the clouds knitted together, the boys played in the garden. The wind was whipping up into a ferocity that told me the beautiful weather was coming to an end the way it always does in England – a sticky, humid storm that leaves clear blue skies and fresh air the next morning.
And today? A birthday party for a friend. That bittersweet feeling of celebration but with a knot in your stomach reminding you how quickly time is swallowed up. My eldest turned seven a few weeks ago. I find myself nostalgic for the days of chubby babies instead of long-limbed boys growing taller by the day. Skinny legs poking out of summer shorts and baseball caps and the shaky sounding-out of unfamiliar words.
I love it and I hate it in equal measure, but the days are treating me well, and I can’t complain.