Birthdays, holidays, theatre trips and parties (although the list can be almost limitless!) It was the one thing that the children could truly understand and it helped to calm them down when they just couldn't wait. Mind you getting to single figure sleeps always made them a little bit more excited!
So now we've almost got to the point of counting sleeps until college starts. Twenty one to be exact, as I write. How could the summer be rushing by so fast? Suddenly we are all getting a bit nervous about the impending change of lifestyle and I for one have watched my "baby" adjust to the fact that it is almost time to move on. We've had the occasional: "I've changed my mind!" a sure sign that the penny has begun to drop, so to speak, but that quickly changes when pressed.
My little girl will be 20 in October. Her brothers left home when they were 18, ready to be all grown up and independent. It was hard to let go but it was part of the deal when we decided to bring them into the world. They weren't ours to keep, just to look after and nurture until the time came for them to make their impact on this planet. They all survived and are doing so well, each taking a slightly different path to reach their potential.
But this is different. When Hayley came into our lives it turned them upside down. This vulnerable, poorly scrap of a child, who needed such a lot of input to help her do what other children do naturally. Endless visits by Portage workers, Speech Therapists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists all trying to give this little one the best start in life. There were days when it all became too much, and others when their visits inspired me to keep at it for the best outcome.
And here we are twenty years later (well almost), on the brink of all that we have worked so hard for, and I start having doubts! What a noodle, but I can't help it! I have dedicated my life to bringing up my family and, in particular, this precious young lady who wants to take her place in this world. I find myself watching her and asking if she really understands what is about to happen. Will she think that we are abandoning her? Will she be happy? Safe? Fulfilled? I don't know. This is the beginning of the next chapter and it will be penned as it's lived, to be reviewed in the future.
Soon we will be counting in single figures. Ten, nine, eight, seven....!