It’s been 7 and a half years since I first carried a child inside. In Irish/Gaelic the term for pregnancy is “ag iompair clainne”. Literally translated this means “carrying a family”. When my first child was born, I still carried him in a sling, in a carrier, and he then eventually graduated to the buggy. At the time he just about was ready to walk independently without the buggy on standby his little brother arrived. And so I continued to walk with my children. Hand-in-hand, side-by-side.
We retired the buggy this Summer. The 3-year-old is well able to walk long distances, even if he does need a bit of encouragement here and there.
There’s a moment when I’m walking with the boys, when they both comfortably slip their hands inside mine and we trundle along that makes my heart swell. Two bonny lads holding my hands, little hands held in mine, it doesn’t get much better.
Since the eldest boy was born; carrying, pushing and then walking with the boys hand-in-hand has been as much about them supporting me as it is about me holding them.
Having children when my days were dark meant I had a purpose. I had to get up and force myself through the week, there was very little time to stop and think about the bad days. Simply because the boys were there constantly, needing me, and I needed them.
This week the 6-year-old returned to school and the 3-year-old started preschool.
For the first time since I carried my firstborn I am regularly walking on my own. What do I do with my hands when I don’t have buggy to push, or a small boy to hold? Who do I talk to?
There will be no little birds to hold my hand.* Their wings are stretched ready to fly. I am learning to walk alone again.
As the boys continue to grow and blossom, I’m beginning to get more excited about what life holds me for after babyhood. This learning phase is as much of discovery for me as it is for them.
I can’t wait to see what is in store.
*The eldest boy’s nickname in Irish/Gaelic is “little bird”.