So why write anything today. This is because I feel we are entering a new phase. One which brings, joy, excitement and sadness. That is Callum going to school. He said goodbye to nursery last Friday, which I found emotional. Esscroft nursery has been apart of our lives for almost 4 years, Harry started Attending in October 2010. I cannot recommend this nursey highly enough, it has provided Callum with the best start possible in life. Esscroft is like a little magical kingdom, with so many varied activities for the children, space, home cooked food and a family atmosphere. The price is highly competitive too! I dropped Callum off for the last time on Friday, armed with sweets for the children to share and gifts for staff to show a token of our appreciation. I found myself welling up as one of the staff members gave me a hug. The nursery have supported Callum and us through one of the toughest life changing events imaginable. Harry loved the nursery too. There is even a plaque dedicated to Harry there. It was made to mark Harry's end of treatment and the start of the rest of his life. The plaque is a piece of stone with a tractor carved into it and the words "it's all good, Harry" unfortunately only weeks following Harry's unveiling ceremony, we heard the words relapsed disease and suddenly Harry's life had a sentence on it. As you can see, one chapter closes with Callum leaving Esscroft and another is about to open, when he starts school on Monday 8th.
Summer is drawing to a close too, though officially not until September 21 st when Autumn begins. We had a fab start to summer, with hot weather and holidays, but August has been mixed. Partly due to Paul and I working, but also intermittent weather has put a downer on plans at times. I have to admit that when the sun shines it lifts our mood, but when it feels like winter in Summer as it has done at times, I feel sad. Getting out and about and keeping busy and creating new memories keeps us from dwelling on our loss of Harry. I love getting out and about. We have taken Callum out cycling again. We enjoyed the Spofforth-Wetherby cycle path on the old railway line. The park at Spofforth is well worth a visit too. We have also been out on the chevin a few times and visited Harry's tree. I have taken Callum to Burnsall with friends a couple of times too and we've had the best old fashioned fun, paddling in the river, having water fights and picnics! We have also visited the amazing Nuzzlets farm again, the one we are still selling Harry's book to raise funds for. It provides that personal experience, for children to get up close to the animals, which most farms don't provide, perhaps a quick pet with a guinea pig, but at Nuzzlets children get close to goats, sheep (there is one named after our Harry!) turkey's, various types of chickens, rabbits of varying sizes and some with the most velvety coats, guinea pigs and rescued kittens. There are donkeys and horses too. For disabled children, whereby access to farms can be difficult, fighting through the crowds next to the pens can be cumbersome, Nuzzlet's provides such a therapeutic, calm atmosphere, whereby each child gets to spend quality time with the animals. As said before, Nuzzlet's not only has children visit the farm, but Mary who runs it, will take the animals to special schools and Martin House Hospice, widening the audience and access to these lovely animals.
So far, you must think this current blogg is an advertisement of Esscroft nursery and Nuzzlet's farm!
Back to Callum starting school.
We have just had our last long weekend away in a while as school will put a dampner on trips away, but that is growing up! When I say we, Callum and I went away as daddy had to work. We were spoilt in July with paul having weekends off due to being on a 4 week bike course, which incidentally he passed. We are now back to Paul's new shift pattern, which means he works 3 weekends then gets 2 off. Not a family friendly shift pattern, but for now it's as it is. Callum and I stopped at my friend Kate's house on the way to my sisters's whom lives near London. Kate has a daughter of similar age to Callum. They are like 2 peas in a pod! We had tea at the local pub, whereby Eva and Callum enjoyed the play area and with them entertained, we mummies just had to partake in a glass or 2 of vino. Just before we left the DJ was setting up for the evenings entertainment. Callum requested the DJ played Bruce Springstein - Born in the USA, which was one of Harry's favourites. Callum crazily played his air guitar and I joined him with a little jig! (Oh and maybe some air guitar too, but shhhhhh!).
Before we left on Sunday to head to my sister's, Eva introduced Callum to the disney movie 'Frozen' that seems to have captured the hearts of all little people and many not so little for months. Callum until Sunday had refused to watch the movie, insisting it was for girls. Well, the movie well and truly wove it's magic into Callum as he is now obsessed and slightly starry eyed and in luuuurrrve with the main character Queen Elsa! He now has tattoes (fake ones of course) of the characters on his arms, legs and tummy and is desparate for his own copy too!
We arrived at my sisters for a late lunch. Cousin Olivia is 2 years and 4 months and is really stringing her words together. She was excited to see Callum and is at that cute stage. We went to a farm on the Monday, typically sunny the day before and I add the day after for our long drive home, but yes you guessed it, drizzly and cold on the Monday!
There was an indoor play area and Callum went confidently off playing on his own, with Olivia joining him later. He wanted her to go where he did, but she was just too little for some of the older bits. It was funny hearing Callum describe Olivia as 'a handful' and that she should go back and see her mummy, whilst he played on the older bits. Callum loved the JCB ride along tractors and dumper trucks and could have spent all day riding them on the 'road' marked out. Olivia, though prefering the swings, sand pit and little carousel ride! Both loved feeding the animals.
So we returned home on Tuesday, I'm back to work Wednesday and daddy is in charge! Childcare is shared this week, giving Callum a break from nursery, some days out and time with Granny and Grandad on Friday, then Grandma and Grandad on Saturday!
This week I have seen lots of pictures of children in their school uniform on Facebook, some new starters and some returning and entering their new year. I am sure I will add a picture of Callum in his uniform next week, but what has suddenly hit me hard, is the fact that Callum's picture next Monday will be incomplete. Harry will not be in it, standing beside him in his uniform too. Harry and Callum talked lots of being at school together. Heartbreaking for us knowing that it was unlikely to be and now a reality. I miss that boy so very, very much and with events such as Callum starting school, that MISS is currently ten fold. Harry would have been in year 2 and still in the same playground as Callum. I am pleased that through Harry, Callum is familiar with the school environment and he will have many familiar faces to watch out for. In fact in his year there are quite a few siblings from Harry's year and so I know the mum's already, which is a relief as they know all about Harry.
I find it hard meeting new people, especially those who don't know about Harry. Somehow, at present he crops up in conversation frequently. Such as when talking about buying uniform, well no I haven't bought any uniform as we have plenty of Harry's which fits Callum and he is so pleased to be wearing it. I have even left Harry's name labels in the clothes! We know a few people with babies and when talking with friends, I talk about what Harry and Callum were like as babies.
I won't deny that I had Harry. The day he was born, our lives became brighter. It is Harry's birthday on Friday 12 th September. He would have been 7. This adds to our huge MISS at present.
I am glad that I have the routine of work, 3 days a week and I know Paul is glad he is back at work. It gives us a focus and something for us to get our teeth into. Without work I think I would be in a heap somewhere. Callum also keeps us going. His huge smile, sense of humour and the compassion he has, which is well beyond his 4 years, melts our hearts!
Next week is a big week. I will have tears in my eyes on Monday, not so much at Callum's new chapter in life, I think that it is exciting for him and he is so ready for the new challenges that school will present, but tears for our loss of Harry. Probably more tears on Friday, which incidentally I have booked off work as paul has, whereby we will also celebrate Harry's birth, as he truly was and is a bright star!