One wet afternoon on half term break in Norfolk I gave Nate my camera and told him to go and keep himself busy. This is what he saw. I like seeing things from his perspective!
One wet afternoon on half term break in Norfolk I gave Nate my camera and told him to go and keep himself busy. This is what he saw. I like seeing things from his perspective!
When I worked for someone else I always knew what was expected of me. I knew what success looked like and I knew when I had achieved it and when I had let it slip by. But it was tricky because it wasn’t the kind of success I felt would make me happy long term. But now I’m trying to forge a new path and even though it feels right it is even harder in a way.
Looking after the boys. Training for my half marathon. Fundraising for my half marathon. Starting a business. Writing on my blog. Hanging out with my husband, friends, family. Shopping. Cooking. Cleaning. Laundry. Getting stuck into a community project. I know I spread myself too thin, but I don’t know how to do life any other way.
My day-to-day glides effortlessly from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again. And sometimes it makes my head spin. A phone call to a business contact bouncing the baby on my hip hoping he won’t cry. Trying, desperately to sound professional. Waiting, restless, raring to run out the front door for an exhilarating 10k when my husband gets home from work. A brief kiss the handover. A crying toddler waking in the night and falling then asleep in my arms snotty but perfect. And laundry. Endless loads of laundry at all hours of the day and night. Scraping porridge off the floor on hands and knees. A sleepy lull in the middle of the day when finally I can have a bath and a camomile tea in peace. Then write and write and write until they wake.
It is so chaotic, so mad that sometimes a month goes past and I am so surprised. Now I have no idea if I’m making progress or just treading water. But I know if I stop then I will sink, so I just keep going.
“…hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of today’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon tomorrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity—time! And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.”
“Hold every hour in your grasp.” It’s like a punch in the stomach. Wake up it says to me. Life is fleeting and fragile. Hold onto it. Every. Last. Bit.
Given I spend all my days looking after my children I’ve been thinking about whether this wisdom can help me with my parenting, day-to-day. If I am “holding each hour in my grasp” what would my behaviour look like? Well, I’d try to appreciate my children as they are at right now rather than pushing them towards the next thing whether that be learning to walk, read, sit nicely or wear pants. There are YEARS of your life where you have to wear pants right?! I’d read and listen more, tell and instruct a little less. I wouldn’t worry if they don’t eat veggies at this meal. They probably will at the next and it isn’t worth spoiling the chance to share a meal together when we could be talking about DINOSAUR MONSTER ALIENS instead of sweetcorn. We would eat the chocolate ice cream. We would giggle and play and prioritise kindness and loving each other over nightly hair washing and not making a mess. We would bake fairy cakes, not to take perfect pictures at the end but to learn how and lick the spoon.
This approach would need me to loosen up and let go of my inner control freak. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in routine, I believe in teaching manners and this isn’t some ridiculous notion about letting kids rule the roost. In our house that would mean we ONLY ate the chocolate ice cream and watched Octonauts and never got dressed. A bit of structure makes a child feel safe and in control (not to mention the parents!) But I also know that in our house we have unnecessary battles over pointless crap. I know that sometimes I roll my eyes and say “COME ON HURRY UP” or do things for my toddler that he could, with a bit more time, do himself. This isn’t because I’m horrible but I’m onto the next thing in my mind. I want to get him to nursery on time. Or I want to get the baby home for his nap so he is in a good mood later. And I rush them. I rush them into clothes and boots and out the door, past the most fascinating slimey worm EVER on the ground and give hurried answers to the many good questions I don’t always know the answers to. It is much harder to slow down, enjoy the walk, look at the worm and talk to each other and be in the now. Because ultimately, life is nothing but a series of hundreds of thousands of those moments. And each moment has the opportunity to be as valuable as the next. To me, that thought makes the day to day a bit more beautiful.
We deserve this. This SUN. This summer that has finally arrived.
We need it. Beautiful, radiant, life-enhancing soul grabbingly brilliant bloody sun. We need the summer. The day upon day upon day of warmth where we learn to trust that there will be a tomorrow filled with more opportunities for garden sitting and Pimms sipping.
Each summer is a memory of those that have gone before and a promise of what is yet to come. Summer is a place where the adults throw off responsibility with our clothes. We drink the wine, forget about work and let the kids stay up late running barefoot on the beach ’til dark and eating ice cream for dinner. We see ourselves no longer as the pale, stressed, sullen creatures of winter but bronze limbed, passionate, spontaneous life grabbers eschewing chores and for a beach barbecue and a large G&T.
We look back at the summers of our childhood and try to relive through our own kids the magic of the summer holidays. We want it for them, all of it. The summers we had, or if we were unlucky, the summers we longed for or read about…
Running, running, running with friends ’til your chest was fit to burst and legs were filthy. Reading stories on the grass in the sunshine. Eating ice cream on the beach. Any beach. No worries, no school, just bikes and mates and playing in each other’s gardens and not coming home until you are so tired ant thirsty that you have to. Then downing a pint of squash and it tasting – SO GOOD. The smells; coconutty sun cream, cut grass and always a barbecue somewhere. Climbing trees in bare feet. Collecting bugs in jam jars. Building leafy dens. Adventure walks. Mud pies. Nettle stings and hunting for a dock leaf. Driving in the car with all the windows down singing at the top of your lungs on the way to anywhere. WATER FIGHTS with your best friends.
Do you remember daydreaming outside watching clouds change shape and wondering what life life would be like when you grow up? Feeling like summer would never be over even though we knew it would and soon it would be all autumn leaves and exercise books and shiny shoes and socks again.
And now, it is our kids with the sweet sweaty heads and sticky sandy skin wrapped up in big coloured beach towels and washed clean and patted dry each night. Our kids barefoot in the grass and sand and dirt. Our kids voices singing in the back of the car on the way to somewhere. Our kids in and out of each others houses making their memories of summertime. And all the noise and mess and warmth and joy.
It is a gift. Grab it.
I’ve been avoiding the much discussed article in the NY Times “The Retro Wife” for a couple of months. If you haven’t heard about it it is a piece about the new generation of affluent middle class women turning their backs on feminism and opting to be stay at home mothers and wives. Arguably because this kind of applies to me (for the moment anyway) I’ve avoided it because I assumed it’s author intended to shame me. “Look, you there” she would say, “you, yes you, white, middle class young lady. YOU ARE A CRAP FEMINIST. Where is your ambition? Don’t you know you are indulging in a ridiculous sexist nostalgia trip? FEEL GUILTY IMMEDIATELY.”
It actually didn’t do that at all. Possibly because writer Lisa Miller is torn about the path she is taking. (Disclaimer - this isn’t me being judgy but something she explicitly voices in the piece). She seems intrigued, impressed and yet slightly repelled by the idea of being a traditional “homemaker.”
And this is where I start to take issue. The story the media likes to tell is that we are a new generation of homemakers, we craft, quilt and bake. We tend to our men and children. We aspire to be the housewives our grandmothers were. We reject the decisions taken by our mothers in the 70′s and 80′s to work and raise a family simultaneously. We embrace our femininity, put on vintage dresses and pour our husbands a glass of wine when they get in from work.
And yes there are some aspects of truth in it. I do bake and cook more now that I’m at home. Cooking is a joy for me so that makes me happy. But the focus on a new generation of happy housewives completely ignores some of the key reasons women are dropping out of the world of work. It makes it seem as though we have the world at our finger tips and we just aren’t ambitious or driven enough to make the most of our chances. Some seem to think we are frightened of the corporate world and so retreat to a world of comfortable domesticity.
It ignores the sexism we encounter every day in the work place, the review where you get reprimanded for being “bossy” and “pushy” where male colleagues are admired for being “assertive” and “decisive.” It ignores the fact that early years childcare in this country is either sub-standard or unaffordable for the majority of families. It ignores the fact that for the moment if you want someone to stay with the baby for the first 12 months of their life without losing their job it has to be the woman because men aren’t yet entitled to longer parental leave. It ignores the fact that that housing crisis means there is a lack of affordable housing in urban areas pushing families further and further away from the places with jobs. If you have two kids and a one hour commute how easy is it for both parents to continue working full time? It ignores the fact that pregnant women or women with children are consistently overlooked for promotion. It ignores the fact that even today our culture consistently reinforces the notion of women as primarily wives and mothers above any professional status they may achieve.
It may seem like it, but mums who stay home aren’t all on a sodding nostalgia trip. After all, it’s a messy business raising a family. Many of the mums I know would prefer to have (or are actively pursuing) a more equal split with their husbands where both parents work and undertake childcare. But for a lot of us we are trying to do the best for our families within the society and culture we are actually in and not some pretend world that assumes that we’ve achieved equal status with men. So a lot of us turn our backs on the corporate world, and spend a few years focussed on our kids of course. But increasingly, the women I know are doing more than just that. Instead of spending their spare time baking a pie for their husband they are quietly starting businesses from their kitchen tables. Businesses they can run from home. Businesses where they can work flexibly and hopefully do something they love. Businesses that can grow alongside their family instead of in competition with it. And for me, THIS is the new domesticity. Where homemade entrepreneurs are born.
Recently I’ve had a few lovely people get in touch with me here on LITB or via Twitter to ask me lots of questions about living in Whitstable so I thought it might be helpful if I outline the main answers here for anyone to read.
When we were in London we both worked full time and my eldest went to nursery, (so lovely, so expensive) 2 bus journeys/40 minutes from where we lived. Taking and collecting him was the worst part of each of our day.
Since we now had one child (and another on the way) we no longer went out all the time and enjoyed all London had to offer. Yes, we could see our friends easily if they came to us. Yes. we went to Broadway Market every weekend. And yes, fashionable hairdressers and flat whites were easy to come by. These were all good things. But we mostly went to work, collected Nate and went home. And we lived in a little 2 bed flat on a main road with no garden. We wanted more space. We wanted a proper place for our kids to have a childhood.
So far the things we love about living here:
Community – it is properly and unexpectedly amazing. Friends just pop in for tea, or you pop round there and your kids will have mates who live in their streed that they run around with and get sweaty and overtired with and drink Ribena with on summers evenings. You will have friends who understand the demands of family life and will offer to drive you to hospital in the middle of the night if you or your partner goes into labour. They’ll miss you if you go out of town for a week. That is cool.
Food – East Kent is a really foodie place. Kent is the garden of England so there is lots of brilliant produce that comes from here, loadsa farms where you can stop (at this time of year) for new season asparagus and strawberries. We have proper local butchers selling meat from local farms like Monkshill Farm. We have great Cafes like Windy Corner Stores and The Beach Cafe. There are fab restaurants and I don’t mean like, fab for the provinces I mean like fab for the New York Times. There are Supper Clubs galore from our very own community supper club to the very talented Emma Wilcox’s. We have the utterly lovely Sportsman (Michelin starred) and I haven’t even got round to Margate with the best burgers in East Kent at Fort’s, innovative Indian at The Ambrette and gourmet Pizza at GB Pizza.
Beach – We swapped a 2 bed flat in Dalston for a house by the sea. We are about 3 minutes away. This means when it is sunny we go to the beach. We go when it is cold and windy too. Before school. After school. In the day. In the evening after supper. I run there. The kids play there. And in case you are wondering it does not get tired. They ALWAYS want to go to the beach. We have pebbly beaches here in Whitstable and round the coast in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate they have sandy beaches.
Creativity – This is going to be a bit waffly sorry. Basically lots of people who live here are arty and creative. By “here” I mean Whitstable but also East Kent. This means creative businesses like Margo Selby Textiles and Cloth Ears are based here not to mention lots of painters and photographers. Also lots entrepreneurs, people who want to have a better balance between family and business come here to set up a different type of life, check out East Kent Mum and Catriona Campbell to see what I mean. East Kent has even launched a bid for European City of Culture 2017!
Ok so there is the prosaic stuff. The nitty gritty now:
Commute – The commute is tough. Dylan gets up every day at 6 and is out of the house soon after 7 to get the 7.25, this is the latest of the “fast” trains from Whitstable in the morning. This means it takes 1 hour 11 minutes to St Pancras direct. Miss that and he has to change at Faversham and it takes at least 1.5 hrs. The latest fast train back in the evening is at 6.25pm otherwise same deal. This means he often sees the kids for about 5 minutes in the morning and he comes home after their bedtime. TOUGH. It is also very expensive. Somewhere in the region of £5k per year. However, the train he gets is really nice and he always gets a seat. He tells me that he enjoys the downtime. I get a bit jealous of his hour of peace each day. Many people I know have said that the commute is more pleasant than commuting from one side of London to another.
Schools & Pre-schools – In Whitstable there is a great selection of pre-schools, childminders and primary schools. Go on the fab Whitstable Mum site to find out more. They also give details on all of the (many and varied) drop in classes, parent and toddler groups and all that good stuff. I’m really happy with Nate’s pre-school. After primary the schools aren’t quite as good – there are two middle schools in Whitstable and reports from Mums I know here is that one is good and one is not. I have no personal experience of this though, welcome any comments from existing Whitstable Mums. Similarly, I have no experience of the one secondary comprehensive in Whitstable. Kent still has the whole complicated Kent test at 11 so my concern is that the clever kids go to the grammer schools in Canterbury and Faversham. Not sure I particularly love that.
Houses – We decided to rent when we first moved here and although that has been a drama I still think it was the right thing to do given we had to make our decision quite quickly (I was pregnant). The rental market is tough though, it is a very small market and good houses go very fast. The house we are in had 8 couples view it on day 1. So don’t assume that because it isn’t London it isn’t competitive. Buying is more normal I think, the market here is still very buoyant though compared to national picture. Lots of lovely houses from bigger places out in Chesterfield and Tankerton to lots of Victorian terraces in central Whitstable. If you want (a LOT) more house for your money consider Margate or Ramsgate as Whitstable isn’t cheap (though obviously cheaper than London).
I hope this is helpful. And please feel free to message me in the comments with any further questions. Whitstable Mums is a great resource too, and there is lots of chat daily about Whitstable goings on in their associated Facebook group.
When I was 21 I didn’t like my body much. The first boy I ever loved had just cruelly dumped me. I grew thin and pale. As far as I was concerned getting thin was the only good thing about getting dumped. Even though all my friends and family told me I was too thin I STILL didn’t think I was thin enough. Throughout the relationship I had studiously controlled my weight through insecurity. Whenever we’d bump into an ex of his (there were a lot) he’d say, “she’s gained weight, she used to be a lot more attractive when we were together.” I was so obsessed with not becoming the fat ex-girlfriend that I didn’t think very much about how this made him sound.
Ten years on and I’m in a very different place. I’m very much in love with my husband and have had two kids. I am not that pale thin (and insecure) creature I was at 21. But the last decade has given me some much needed perspective about my body. I haven’t been that kind to it I realise. I drank – lots, I smoked, I’ve eaten far too much or too little and swung wildly between the two. I’ve over exercised and ignored exercise for months at a time. All the time, whatever state my body was in, I can guarantee that I didn’t like it. And that was before 2 pregnancies that bloated, stretched, weighed me down and tried me like you would not believe. One 9lb baby and one 11lb baby were not easy.
But bizarrely this is when the change started to happen. I have more lines and lumpy bits than ever before and yet, I care less than ever. I look back at my 21 year old self (pre-heartbreak diet perhaps) and think, “If I had that body now I would be naked ALL THE TIME!” If I have any common sense at all then I need to start imagining what I’ll think about my body when I’m 40, 50, 60, 70? What would my 70 year old self say to me now? She’d say “Forget the insecurities lady, put on that bikini and have a cocktail, dance around a little YOU ARE SEXY AND YOUNG!” Please bear in mind my 70 year old self is a little out of control, but I think she’s got the right idea. I am young, and my body is probably better now than it will be in 20 years or so. Life is too short to worry about what we look like in bikinis and forget to enjoy ourselves. I was chatting with my friend Kat on Twitter recently and she reminded me of that speech “Wear Sunscreen” that was made into a song a few years ago,
“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.”
THAT. THAT is what I will try to remind myself as I step out into the world each day.
Having babies, particularly having Arlo, gave me massive confidence in what my body can achieve, running makes me feel free and alive. Dancing around with my kids and rolling round on the floor is the best. There are so many fucking awesome things that I can do with my body that aren’t about presenting it neatly for other people but are about making ME feel amazing.
I looked back through my photos, to try to come up with a few of me from the past few years to go with this piece and they are so few and far between. Mostly consisting of photos of me checking my hair looks ok and almost none that include my whole body. This is ridiculous. From now on I’m going to be photo bombing all of you. But for now i’ve included a series of phone self-portraits that would never normally see the light of day from bedrooms and dressing rooms, me without makeup or without a brush having seen my hair. Because as I look back at myself now I just think, I looked allright actually, and most importantly, I was happy.
I am absolutely loving running at the moment. Especially as I have this beautiful route which goes something like this. Leave house, 2 mins later arrive on beach. Run 20 mins in one direction. Run 20 mins back. 2 mins to home. Don’t get me wrong. I loved running last week in Regents Park when I was at the Primrose Hill Palace (mum and dad’s) but there is no run that is better than a beach run.
Here are some pics I took on my last evening run just to prove what I’m on about.
In my everyday life I sometimes feel the lack of physical freedom that is normal when you raise kids. This is definitely a bigger deal now that I don’t have another job to go to. It means that I am rarely on my own. I travel with a pram, handbags, bags of shopping and a toddler holding my hand OR I am carrying his scooter. We are lucky in Whitstable that we can walk everywhere but it takes forever to get ready to leave the house. I never just pick up my keys and phone and LEAVE. Until now. Now it is still light when my husband gets home. And last night I was ready. I got the kids to sleep. Then I changed into running shoes and waited. The moment he was home I was off, running along the beach. I’ve always hated to run but now I love it, because I love the physical sense of complete freedom. Some days I think I could run forever. But my body isn’t ready for that. I have stopped thinking, “I hope this makes me thin” and now I just do it for the joy. And yes. I felt this way when I ran in the rain too. Tho I didn’t take pictures.
Please remember I am training for the Royal Parks Half Marathon and I would love you forever if you sponsor me.
“Well done finishing your toast darling, you ate that really nicely.”
“Did you put your boots on by yourself? That’s A-mazing.”
“That’s LITERALLY the best lego-pirate monster-bot I have EVER seen.”
Really? Literally (urgh) the best lego pirate monster bot? How many have I ever bloody seen and why can’t I stop saying literally when I literally mean the exact opposite? These are all fairly standard things that I might say to my children in the span of, oh, an hour? Along with all the standard, “aren’t you clever, aren’t you gorgeous” type of compliments I dish out on a daily basis.
I don’t think I’m alone either, we all like to praise our kids, it makes us feel good and it makes them feel good doesn’t it? And sometimes when you are a parent you can feel like you would spend your whole time telling your children off about being to noisy, messy, annoying not to mention breaking stuff, waking stuff and pooping on stuff that should not be pooped on. We tell ourselves to focus on the positives and praise those things and try not to be too negative about the negative behaviour, not wanting to give it any attention. This way our kids will do more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff right? Or not?
But on the basis that I’ve found my own enthusiasm of my children’s looks and abilities nauseating from time to time I thought I should read up a bit and this is a broad summary of what I’ve learned so far:
1.) Be sincere. Children are discerning of insincere praise much sooner than you would think and this is shown to harm the relationship of trust that you two share. Ever heard your own mother say “oh darling you look gorgeous,” knowing deep down that you don’t? It teaches you to disregard her opinion on all matters because you question her judgement. If she were to keep her mouth shut but compliment you when you made the effort that would be more meaningful to you.
2.) Praise actions and behaviours. These are things they can control. For example praise their act of kindness to a friend or demonstrating nice manners in a restaurant. Be as specific as possible without overdoing it. Try not to praise their “goodness” which is intangible and ultimately meaningless or their looks which they can’t do that much about. With school work, reading, writing, creating lego towers or whatever they “made” praise the effort they put in and not their innate “cleverness.” Being told you are clever isn’t motivating to children. If they are naturally adept at something it doesn’t encourage them to continue to work hard at it. If they aren’t good at something and you are telling them they are “so clever” it’s just that insincerity thing again.
3.) Praise where you see genuine effort. It is easy to get stuck in an endless cycle of “well done for washing your hands” or “great job eating that sandwich” or the kind of ridiculous praise I mentioned at the outset of this piece. We all believe that we are doing the right thing giving our children these constant positive affirmations. But it teaches them to need it and only to work hard for a reward or an affirmation. We are teaching them to need constant validation and also need to be successful at every single thing they do. And anyone who has ever been successful at anything BIG like writing a bestselling novel or running a marathon or running a company knows that in order to truly succeed in life you need to be able to fail, be ok with it, and persevere (and on their own, not because someone is watching them). So if you want your children to be able to cope with life’s failures then hold back a little. Too frequently and they won’t get out of bed for less than a “good job for getting out of bed this morning baby!”
Limiting praise in this way shouldn’t see the positivity of your relationship with your child deteriorate. Quite the opposite. Have you ever had a truly sincere compliment? When someone noticed something that no one else noticed that you had done? Didn’t it make you feel all over warm and happy? This is how your child will feel when you notice the things they work hard at. They will be proud that you have noticed. It is harder work for us as parents to praise this way. The generic “wahey that’s amazing” is so easy to do, and so easy because it means nothing.
…Don’t forget encouragement
Gentle encouragement is entirely different. With encouragement we can support our children and draw the best out of them providing them with false expectations that there will be a cheering squad watching their every move in life helping them to succeed. Encouragement builds confidence and strengthens the bond you have with your children. It’s the “let’s try that again, together this time” or “do you remember last time you were worried about doing something new and then it turned out really well?” It encourages learning and self-sufficiency within the child whilst at the same time giving them that all important life lesson, that their parent loves and believes in them.
So my mission over the next week is to follow my own rules. It is really hard but I’ll let you know how I get on. Would love to hear of your own experiences in this area. Feel free to message me directly or comment below.
Yesterday my mum arrived to visit. Just an overnight stay to spend some time with me and the kids, have dinner with us and hang out a bit before heading back to London today. She does it every now and then and we love it. But yesterday when she arrived I was in a bad mood. Unfortunately for her. I was fed up with everything and nothing in particular. Honestly it has felt like an endless 2 weeks while Nate has been on holiday . I have been spending 24 hours a day with both children (my toddler is normally at nursery afternoons in term time). I had just had enough and I had a proper rant at her. Something along these lines. (Only imagine it really a lot longer and more repetitive and you’d be a bit closer.)
“I feel demoralised by domestic work, I hate it, its fucking boring and I’m smarter than this. I want to see people, talk to people, have time to do work. Real proper meaningful work. I do not want to be stuck in my pyjamas until 2pm being puked on by the baby and then having to tolerate my toddler’s “chat” while I have a bath. I feel like a servant. It makes me feel different in my relationship and by different I mean less than equal and frankly speaking equal is the bare minimum I’m willing to accept.” RAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Or words to that effect. Sorry Mum. As I say, it went longer than that but thats the broad jist.
And then I felt much better. And my poor mum probably felt a lot worse. Especially as I’ve been doing “this” for about 5 mins and she stayed for some years to look after me and my brother and so I’m only telling her crap about life she already knows and in fact I’m being super insensitive about her life choices. But she doesn’t call me out on that. Because she is awesome and she knows when I need to vent. And she gave me good advice. But mainly she was just there. Looking out for me. Like she always does.
Then today something happened to me. Perhaps it was this moment.
Mum was just about to leave and we’d been chatting about ten minutes and I realised Nate had quietly been reading something on the floor. It was a book of Dylan’s called “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”. And as you might be able to tell from the title it is a book about the history of comics told through a comic, written for grown-ups. But Nate was entranced. He stayed there about 20 minutes reading it, then kept coming back to it all afternoon. He would flick through the pages so softly and considerately like an adult, not a three year old. He was so like his father in that moment that it made me want to cry because it was like looking at the teenager and even man he would become one day. It was utterly perfect.
It was like I was old. And I was watching a memory in my head. And it was one of those moments when you properly realise how fleeting your kid’s childhood is and how lucky you are to be able to be the one to observe it first hand and have some part in shaping them and helping them grow. And you will have heard this story or versions of it from every parent you know I expect. So sorry ’bout that. But it means everything to me. And that is why I do it. If you were wondering.