I've always loved the longest day of the year. Born in the summer myself, I loved the sunshine and remember having some lovely birthday parties outdoors, having bbqs and friends over to play in the garden.
One of my favourite moments as an adult was summer solstice about 10 years ago. We celebrated my birthday all glammed up at Royal Ascot on the Friday, then drove to North Wales to climb Snowdon the next day. I thought if we choose the longest day of the year, then if we get lost or something happens, its light for longer. The picture is of us finally getting to the top. It was a beautiful day, a little too hot if anything, so we jumped into the lake to cool down at the end. Such a great adventure.
Last year made Summer Solstice even more special. I went into labour with my second child.
The labour lasted all day, yet again, another long birth and Ava actually arrived the following day at 1.20pm.
It feels bittersweet today. The day we were all meant to get our freedom back. Ava's whole first year has been spent in lockdowns and now it will continue into the summer. As I prepare for the return to work, I feel sad that I won't be able to settle her into nursery the same way I was able to with Lucy. I'll have to hand her over to people she has never met before and leave her with them. I know the staff and nursery well from when Lucy went there; they are amazing. But there is this unsettled feeling in my tummy; how will my child with this extreme separation anxiety cope with her new environment and new people in her life? I am so hopeful it will make her more secure yet nervous at the same time.
Tonight I will put my baby to bed tonight for the last time as an 11 month old and wake tomorrow and start saying her age in years rather than months. This year has gone so quickly, even when some of the days have felt so long. She's brought us so much joy, and despite me saying how clingy she is, she is such a happy and smiley child. Her gorgeous blue eye twinkle when she's up to something and she has such a cheeky laugh. I still find myself staring at her, taking in all her little round features and can't believe she's mine. I will miss her so much when I go back to work next month, but for now, I will enjoy all our little moments together.