A few years ago, I noticed the Me and Mine hashtag on Instagram. It was probably Capture by Lucy, whose blog and Instagram feed are both wonderful. She had taken a photo of her family, together, every single month for a whole year, probably longer.
I was amazed. When Ben was born, it took 3 months for us to get a family photo together, save the newborn ones. But these bloggers were taking photos of their family, together, every single month? I was seriously impressed.
Fast-forward a few years later, and I toyed with the idea of doing the same. If I could get a photo of us together, I would use it.
This year, we’ve done almost the whole year (well, we missed September). Every month, it’s a bit of an effort to be honest, and my post has been late more often than not, but it’s there.
But I love looking back on those photos. They are so incredibly special. I get quite emotional thinking about my children growing up, knowing they will never be this little again. Perhaps it’s something to do with coming to terms with the idea that Samuel will be my last baby. Perhaps it’s seeing my little boy turn into a schoolboy. And I’m so incredibly glad that I have made the effort to get the photos taken, to put them into a post and to write about them. I know if I didn’t have the blog I wouldn’t do it.
So here we are, at the end of 2016. For us, it’s been a wonderful year in so many ways. Yes, there has been huge upheaval in the world and massive shocks and disappointments, but for us, it’s been about settling into being a family of four.
I had the most amazing maternity leave. I felt that I was able to really restore my relationship with Ben after an intense year teaching full time. Ben started school. I went back to work. Samuel started nursery. We settled in, slowly but surely, even if we have all been struck down by various illnesses. I think Tim is the healthiest one of us!
We’ve had a busy, but lovely, December. Every week, there has been some kind of party, event, celebration or general festive entertainment.
Our highlights were Ben’s nativity play (of course), nights out with friends, and of course, Christmas! We went down to Somerset to spend Christmas with my parents. It was such a lovely, relaxed time, and I think we came home feeling much more rested.
Our Me and Mine photo is a fun one of us on the swings. We didn’t really venture very far over the Christmas break, but we did have a few fun hours at the local park. I also got to meet up with my school friends and their children which was lovely, and we spent a couple of days with my sister and her family.
I really love these slow, lazy days in between Christmas and New Year. I feel like we’ve really needed them this year; now that two of us are in the cycle of school terms and holidays the divide between work and rest seems more intense somehow. But over the last few days we’ve been able to just hang out together. It’s been lovely that Tim has had some time off too.
Looking forward to 2017, I really hope we can continue with Me and Mine. I know these will be the photos I’ll treasure forever. I look at some of these bloggers who have done this project for years and it’s wonderful to see. Not only how their children have grown up, but how their stories have developed. How their skills have developed. I know I have a long way to go, but I feel like I’m moving along the journey now.
So here’s to 2016. A tough year in so many ways, but with lots of little joys. I hope you have a lovely New Year’s Eve, whatever you’re doing, and I look forward to 2017.