Ellenah & Pregnancy With Baby #3

Dear Ellenah,

Mama is now 37+4 weeks pregnant with your baby brother. Time will soon close on your promotion, how does that feel? For a long time, Daddy and I thought that you would be the baby of the family and now, you are going to be a big sister. It’s funny that you are my most feisty, strong-willed and sassy child and I am knowingly making you my ‘middle child’. I know that some people think I must be mad for doing so. But I can’t wait to see you shine brightly between your two brothers.

Ellenah & Pregnancy With Baby #3

I can see how you will be the bossy, stubborn and sometimes sly, little sister to Noah and the protective, nurturing and incredibly gentle big sister to your baby brother. You are going to grow and change in the most wonderful ways over the next couple of years. I can already see how much you love him and you haven’t officially met yet. You will learn so much about yourself and we will learn so much about you too. Being a sister to both of them is going to really allow your personality to take shape, be well rounded, spark your empathy and compassion… All while remaining the sweetest little girl, who we know, love and adore.

I don’t worry about you getting lost in the midst of ‘Team Langner’. You are everything that comes with the quote ‘Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce’. You will never be left out, pushed aside or in any way, loved less. You bring too much happiness, joy, comedy and spirit to our gang. There is nothing invisible about you.

Ellenah & Pregnancy With Baby #3

Being from a big family and having three big sisters, my biggest support network… I did have the fleeting worry that you would not have one. I wondered who you would lean on when you want to talk about boys as you grow up, or to talk about how your friendship group has changed…How you are feeling when you think that nobody understands. I wondered who would be your maid of honour at your wedding if that is ever a path you choose. I tormented myself with the reality that you wouldn’t have anyone to ‘girl talk’ with late in to the night.

And then I realised…You have me. And suddenly, you being my only girl became something very special. I realised how far we have come and how close we are and not only that…how open we are with each other already. We have a special opportunity for our bond to become even tighter, if that is even possible. I realised that I would happily stay up, late into the night talking about your life with you. Be that about boys, your friends, your body as it changes… and I will always try and understand how you are feeling. I will always listen. I dream about the girly shopping trips that we will take, trips to the spa that we will hustle daddy to pay for and trips to the theatre. And even though I will be too old for ‘maid of honour’ status… wild horses couldn’t keep me away from coming with you to choose and pay for your wedding dress. Most importantly, I will be right by your side, lifting you up, being your biggest cheerleader through childhood, teenage years and growing into a woman. I will be there watching you choose your dreams. I will be there to help you chase them and I have no doubt in my mind that when walls stand between you and reaching them… I will be there to watch you crash through them.

Ellenah & Pregnancy With Baby #3

A new chapter is unfolding very soon my darling… and I can’t wait to see you throw yourself into it. You are not just a middle child Ellenah…You are my child. My daughter. And I love you!

Love, Mama x

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Dear Ellenah, You Are Five

Dear Ellenah, my beautiful little girl.

This is long over due. On the evening before each of your birthday’s, I will write you a letter… but on the evening before your fifth birthday, I couldn’t make it happen. I’m really sorry Sweetheart, it wasn’t because I don’t care. It wasn’t because you are not important. It wasn’t because I had forgotten. It was the most important thing for me to do that day but the best I could do was to write down my thoughts in the notes on my phone, hoping that this day would come. This day when I would be able to string together the sentences to better communicate exactly what it is that I want to say to you.

And just over two months late, I have found the right day.

Turning five is a big deal. I can’t remember anything about my fifth birthday but I can remember the feeling of turning five. Your big brother was impatient to get to this age too. It’s the age where things change. It’s the age that you have really started to show the little girl that you are becoming. The petite, inquisitive and sassy little diva that storms through each day with that beautiful smile and sharp wit. You are our delightful chaos. Forever known as ‘Hurricane Bella Roo’.

You are bold and fearless. You are strong-willed and spirited. You are everything that I could ever want in a little girl. You are a pleasure to raise. You challenge me in ways that nobody else can. You question me and you make me question the world around me… Everything and everyone in it. You seem to simply know things that it takes some of us years to understand. You make no apology for being exactly as you are and I love that about you.

Dear Ellenah, You Are Five

Some days I look at you and I see so much of myself. You smile like me. You run like me. You perform like me and you believe in the world like me. Other days, I look at you and see someone who I want to be. Brave, certain and rambunctious.

This past year, you have started to show what matters to you, who you love dearly and how you like to go about your day. You like your space… Alone time is very important to you. It is part of what enables you to be creative which is one of your biggest strengths. You communicate your real feelings clearly and never try and adapt your mood to anyone else’s expectation of you. I respect that about you.

Dear Ellenah, You Are Five

To be honest, as with each passing year and the bigger and more charismatic you get… there never feels to me like enough words in the world that can fully sum up just how wonderful I think you are. Just how much I love you, from the bottom of my proud mama heart.

It has just been so much fun, getting to know each side of you with each passing moment. To see such beautiful sweetness to your sassy. To see such kindness in your heart that balances out your strong will. To see you shine bright and bring out the brightness and light in those around you, those who have fallen in love with you for everything that you are and for the blessing that you are to this world.

I love how much you love snails and how you will always move them if they are in harms way, no matter how much it’s raining. I love how conscious you are of protecting the planet and our daily conversations about throwing our litter away. I love watching you play, watching your imagination soar. I love listening to you make up little songs about the things that you find important. I love watching you dance like mama used to. I love your dirty laugh and how bright red your cheeks turn when you find something really funny.

I love the way that you make every day better.

I love the way that you make me better.

Love, Mama x

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Finding Autumn At The Park

Saturday was the official start of the half term break and it was such a gorgeous day. The sun was so warm, so beautiful and it was beating through my bedroom window from the moment that we opened our eyes.

We spent the morning pottering around the house, being a little lazy and giving in the the freedom of the holiday. The freedom of the weekend. I managed to drink a hot peppermint tea while I talked to my little favourites. For ages.

It always surprises me in the most pleasant way how they see life, how when I give them a little time they will talk to me for hours, how they always want me to be included in everything that they want to do, play and make and how openly they love the family that they were born in to. How happy they are.

We ate lunch together, at the table where we talked some more, laughed and talked about our plan for the afternoon.

Finding Autumn At The Park

My sister and her beautiful little family were heading to us in the early afternoon to take the children out on their scooters and bikes. We were going to hit the park on such a beautiful day. It was too much of a perfect autumnal day to waste it.

Finding Autumn At The Park

There was so much excitement about our mini adventure. Noah watched the clock and Ellenah asked me constantly if it was time to leave.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finally we were on our way and the kids zoomed off in front.

Finding Autumn At The Park

They enjoyed the park. They played on the outside gym, the zip wire and the assault course. We collected leaves and jumped around in them. It was just so nice to see the children wearing rosy cheeks, big smiles and laughs.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Seeing them all happy makes me happy.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Making memories with them, even the simple ones at the park, makes me feel lighter, content and like I am a part of something so incredible.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Being with them shows me life through their eyes. The beauty of it.

I’m so excited about the rest of half term and all of the joy, love and memories that will come with it. What are y’all planning on doing with your little loves?

With Love,

Ria x

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Harvest Festival 2016

The Harvest Festival is one of my favourite school events of the academic year. I love the build up, of listening to the children singing and practising their songs over and over. I love it when they ask to teach them to me, to practice their lines, their part in such a beautiful assembly. An assembly with such an important message, about giving and thinking of others.

The Harvest Festival takes me back to my childhood. It takes me back to the church school that I attended for my primary education. I can remember how grand and special our church felt, how small it made me feel as I sat their with my bright, blonde hair, having donated a couple of tins of soup, some baked beans and some rice. I was right about the church, years later, Matt and I were married there.

I remember singing the lovely songs about crops, God, giving to others and looking after each other. I remember the warmth in my heart. I remember feeling kind, happy to have helped and like it just made sense to pull together, so that everyone feels like they are cared about.

I remember passing the baton of my youth to Noah a few years ago. He started school and it all became his turn. The Harvest Festival was the first event I went to after I lost my first child to education. I can recall the way that my eyes welled up when I saw him walk in with his class. My little boy who smiled his biggest one for me. His little legs shuffled along to make enough room for everyone and I wanted to scoop him up in my arms and hold on to him in disbelief that this would be his life now. His face locked on to me in the crowd and he sang so beautifully, with such care.

I remember saying to him once (about Harvest, about life) that if we had nothing in the world to offer someone in need, absolutely nothing of value… we always had kindness. I hope that he remembers that still. I hope that he is learning something from these songs. Like I did. I hope that they both do…

Of course, this year I lost my second child to education. It was Ellenah’s first Harvest Festival. Honestly, If I ever manage to forget her singing ‘You Can Pick A little Bean, It’s Harvest Time You Know…’ I will be very surprised!

Again, I saw her walk in with her class and shuffle along to make enough room on the stage. She searched for my face in the crowd, found me and locked her eyes and pretty, little smile on to me. It wouldn’t have been hard, I was standing up, in the second to back row, waving vigorously until we found each other.

I felt the familiar sting of tears and my cheeks were mildly twitching to prevent me from full on sobbing on the mama next to me’s shoulder because my daughter is just so lovely.

And then she started to sing and sign the cutest actions with her arms. She looked so happy, so pleased to sing in front of everyone. I think my heart grew a little more, if that’s even possible.

Unfortunately, I only managed to see one performance from her and never did manage to see her singing the song about picking a little bean. The different classes were rotated on and off the stage and unfortunately, my short little beauty was behind a bunch of older, taller kids. The most I could see was the top of her head. It was quite sad. It made me feel flat all day, a tiny bit upset, selfishly.

Harvest Festival was tiered between classes and stages so Noah’s group was small. It was full of song and I had managed to move into a seat closer, to see him sing at the front. It was wonderful. His class managed to rewrite and perform ‘I Will Survive’ relevant to Harvest and it was really good, It completely picked me up.  And just because he is a little bigger and things like this have become more normal, it doesn’t mean that I don’t get the prickle of emotion behind my eyes anymore. I absolutely do. I think that I always will!

Today’s Harvest Festival might not have been completely perfect but you know, the whole reason that it is so special, so necessary, is because life isn’t. Sometimes the world and the people in it need a little help from their friends and today, my favourite people in the world helped make a little difference.

This makes me happy!

With Love,

Ria x

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All schools have that smell, don’t they? They all have a school hall, that you know the children think is huge. The school hall that when the children get older, will feel so small to them. They will wonder how they found the space for p.e. lessons, in their little gym shorts and plimsolls. They will wonder how the tables fit in. The tables where they ate lunch with their friends. Made memories. Grew too quickly.

Last night, Matt and I sat in the school hall of our children’s primary school for parents evening. As we waited, we looked through our two beautiful children’s work and I looked around, imagining them here. Feeling thankful for the place that takes good care of them, brings out the best in them and knows them when I am not around.

I started to feel a little nervous, as I always do. I played out the things that the teachers might say in my mind. Usually I’m not one to think the worst, especially about my little humans. Parents evening has always made me feel a little unsteady though. The unknowing, the hope that I’m doing enough, the smidgen of self-doubt that creeps in when I’m faced with the person that gets to spend so much time with my child all day… It all gives me sweaty palms and wobbly legs. And it makes me smile even more, so that the teacher doesn’t sense fear.

Ellenah

Parents Evening, October 2016

Our appointment with Ellenah’s teacher was first, at 6pm. Her teacher is sweet, bubbly and pretty wonderful. Honestly, she is everything that you could ever want from a reception class teacher. She told us that in just a few weeks she has seen Ellenah’s confidence grow so rapidly. She told us how focussed and creative she is and how popular she is in her class. She beamed about how polite our little girl is and how bright… It was just so reassuring to hear.

It’s no secret that when my darling girl started school, I found it difficult. I missed her terribly and still do. So, to hear that she is happy, doing well and fitting in beautifully as well as standing out for all of the things that make her so wonderful… It was just what I needed to hear,  just what I needed to know.

Noah

Parents Evening, October 2016

6.40pm- Time for our appointment with Noah’s teacher. Noah’s teacher who is just as lovely as Ellenah’s, albeit a lot more serious and to the point. I guess that is what comes with the jump to key stage two. She told us that Noah has settled in well into year three and that he is coping well with the higher expectations and workload. She told us that he reads and writes so well and her face was beaming as she spoke. She told us that he is confident in math and is absorbing the class project with such interest and effort. She told us that he is lovely, popular with his peers and a pleasure to teach.

Like most mothers, I am very proud but when it comes to Noah, it feels a little different. He was my first child, my son. He was my main learning curve in motherhood. The boy who I had to ‘wing it’ with. The boy who I hoped I was doing right by. The boy who would be in every single thought of mine. The one who I hoped I wasn’t failing. The one who I worried about because he had the slightly younger mama. The mama who judged herself all of the time. The mama who read parenting books at every opportunity. The mama who tried to be the best but almost always felt like she wasn’t. Wasn’t good enough. I know it isn’t much, it isn’t the be all and end all but to be told that your first child is doing well is a small validation that you are doing okay. You can be proud of you both. You can be happy in the knowledge that you managed to get some things right. And, you are actually the best person to raise him.

I walked out of parents evening feeling content, proud and like ‘The Sweetest Life’ kids are pretty darn awesome. I hugged them both, back at home and told them about all of the lovely things that their teachers have said about them. They smiled and felt pride from within themselves which was lovely, for their self esteem and because when someone notices how hard you are trying and how well you are doing, It’s nice to be told. It’s nice to know that people believe in you, people are in your corner, on your side… and that mama is proud of you.

With Love,

Ria x

 

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