Two weekends ago I headed back to London. I had ‘the call’ on Thursday night. Its ‘the call’ anyone who lives away from their family dreads. You hear the phone ringing at an odd time, you can tell by the persons voice, you know whats coming… something happened, someone is sick, we are having a tough time as a family – its your call. What to do?
I made the last minute decision to head back about 20 minutes after getting off the phone, 10 minutes later I was booked in and packing my bags. Forever thankful for a husband who has no qualms about a weekend juggling work and childcare – he rocks! Cora has neither a passport nor the ability to self settle, this coupled with my fear of flying left us on the 8am Sail Rail from Dublin to Holyhead.
We did really well on the ferry crossing, singing songs (her) reading books (me) and eating our body weight in complimentary club class bar snacks (both). The trains were interesting and the underground was literally like descending into a fiery pit of hell (when will Transport for London invest in Air Con and Wifi?). After what seemed like a years worth of travel we made it to sunny Sutton at about 5pm.
On Saturday we visited with my Nan and Grandad and my baby was able to play in the same garden I did as a child and with the same toys. We went as a whole family last year to see my grandparents and I treasure the photo taken. This year there was a brief moment with my Nan where Cora played beautifully and it was amazing to just be present and see the youngest and oldest members of my family together.
We spent the rest of Saturday in Brighton with my sisters boyfriend who was an absolute saint all weekend. Im pretty sure between my breastfeeding in the back of his car and Cora’s screaming that they won’t be having children of their own any time soon! By the time I was their age I had 2 children, and had been married nearly two years. I look at them and think ‘was I ever that young?’. It again highlighted how fast time flies.
At the park on the sea front Cora had a great time on the slides and in the water fountain, but she was a bit lost without the other 4 mini Clevs to bring her on a bit. It struck me as she wouldnt let me out of her sight, and took ages to ‘warm up’ to her surroundings that she really uses the older kids as a sort of safety blanket. I guess that’s what family is isn’t it? no matter what age you are. Without the others helping her she really was a baby, the baby, my baby.
I mean theres no denying her baby-ness when you see that thigh chub! After a while it was all too much and she needed to be wrapped up in a big towel and to be snuggled. Still the baby, its good.
Because of general family logistics and then bad weather cancelling my homeward ferry I (for the bazillionth time in my life) threw myself at my bestie and tagged along with her for two days! Present at the birth of the two girls and famously replying to my text announcing Coras birth with “im on the 9am flight tomorrow morning” this lady is amazing. It was a bonus to soak up some bestie bonding with just Cora and we enjoyed many of our old habits (like a boozy lunch ending in Lemoncello shots). It was like nothing had changed at all and felt so good to be back in familiar places. At the same time, it was weird because so much has changed – I kept having to remind myself there were 4 more children in Ireland, that our lifestyle is so different now and that I am generally much happier with the direction our life is going now versus 4 years ago. There was a moment in Banstead Costa surrounded by yummy mummies and range rovers where I considered moving everyone back and selling Mr Clevs soul to the devil but I quickly got over it!
As is inevitable when catching up with family back home I fielded the ‘are you having any more children’ question. I’m good, before that weekend I had thought of Cora as a little toddler when in reality she really is still a baby. This is a time to sit back and enjoy the cuddles and snuggles, she still needs me and she also needs her daddy and siblings. Will we have any more children? I don’t know, but for now I’m enjoying the baby we already have.