My baby boy turned one today.
How can that possibly be true?
It was only about two seconds ago that he was a tiny, sleepy creature who would snuggle into me for hours.
And now I’m lucky if I get a millisecond of a cuddle before he wriggles out of my arms to noisily crawl away, slapping his hand loudly on the floor as he does, pissing off the neighbour downstairs.
Ben took the children out so that I could tidy the house before family came over for a little party.
But instead, the moment I had the house to myself, I slumped into the sofa in my pyjamas and started crying. Just a lip-quivering sob to start with, which soon escalated to a shoulder-shaking nose-running wail, aided by a particularly moving story on Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs.
I don’t know why the first birthday feels so emotional.
Maybe because it is the beginning of the end.
The beginning of your child becoming a little person in their own right instead of totally dependent on you.
And the end of them being your baby.
It is also the only day where a mother knows EXACTLY what she was doing on that day the previous year. Often on a minute-by-minute, contraction-by-contraction basis.
When we’d sat down for breakfast, I’d thought, a year ago right now I would have seen my son for the very first time. The midwife would have just caught him as I gave the final mother-of-all pushes, and passed him through my legs for me to clap eyes his purple, wrinkled body.
As I sat on the sofa sobbing, 365 days previously we would have been in the birthing room, our son asleep in a cot and me eating toast and downing tea as if it were my last supper.
There’s never the time to think about how amazing it is that a person has been created and immediately changed your life, because you just get on with it.
But a first birthday is a moment to reflect.
To realise that you’ve done it.
You’ve survived a whole year; the titchy baby you created is now a laughing, babbling, mud-eating, clapping, pasta-throwing, bath-water-slapping, loving child.
And they will no longer be described as a baby.
You no longer have a baby.
And that knowledge makes you excited about the future, but also grieve a little bit for the past.
I let myself indulge in remembering his birth day while snotty crying for a moment longer before realised that guests were arriving in less than an hour for a barbeque that was still to be bought from Argos and I was sat on the sofa in my pyjamas.
So I blew my nose, took a deep breath, and got ready to start the next year of my son's life with him.