I sometimes look at the current fashion for curated blogs, uber-professional, styled and themed to perfection, and thank my lucky stars that I started this blog when I did.
This blog is an imperfect patchwork of memories, stories and moments.
These days, Flea and I often read back old posts together.
We snigger over the time she played Mummies and Daddies at nursery. When she fell out with her best friend in reception class. Her favourite soft toys, imaginary games, first holidays.
That time she wished she could always be a child so she could cuddle me, because by the time she was 20, I’d probably be dead.
That time she looked like this, and I wondered how I could possibly have made something so bursting at the seams with happy.
And I think to myself, that’s the beautiful thing about this blog. In all its mess and imperfection, it’s a whole childhood – our life, in words and pictures. Flea was almost three when we started blogging here – she’ll be turning 11 this year.
That gap in between 3 and 11 – it’s all here, in my words, my photos. And I’m so incredibly, ridiculously grateful for that, I can’t tell you.
When we started, it was Mother and Toddler groups, monkeys and pirates. Now it’s graphic novels, homework and Hollister.
Yes, Flea’s getting older, but not so old that I want to stop capturing those memories.
I’ve noticed this past year, I’ve started to edit what I’m sharing online, conscious that Flea and her friends are always potentially going to read what I write. But there are memories and moments I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to stop the story we’re creating here.
I’m probably dwelling on all this because right now, we’re in the process of choosing Flea’s secondary school.
It’s a big decision – I’m very, very bad at those.
On the one hand, Flea could stay at the school she’s attended since just after she turned three. It’s familiar; most of her friends will be there; it’s a good school. She could have that same school family from 3 to 18 – and part of me thinks, how lovely, she’ll feel very safe and secure, and confident.
On the other hand, she could make a move to another school, one that’s a little closer to home.
It feels scary for both of us – a total unknown – but my gut feeling is that it’s a better school for Flea. A bit more inclusive, a bit more child-centred, a bit more modern, in some ways.
Knowing this doesn’t stop me worrying about how Flea will take to such a big shift, after a year that’s already been very challenging for her, in various ways.
But I try and be positive. I tell Flea that making new friends is a really important life skill, one that will help her in her whole life. I tell her that there will be new lessons, new clubs, new sports, new friends. I tell her that in this age of FaceTime and Skype, her old friends really won’t be so far away – and I think that’s probably true.
Still… it feels big. Really big.
But whatever happens, we’ll be here, sharing it, in our imperfect little way. And in a few years’ time, I suspect, I’ll be glad I did.