Adam Bird

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Thursday, 3 January 2008

Remembering 2007

I wrote at the beginning of 2007 a reflective blog looking back at the year 2006, and in an attempt to keep consistent I will attempt to take a similar look back at 2007.

At the end of 2006 Oliver joined Stephanie and I into our world, and so 2007 was about nurturing, discovery and growth. It was also a year in which marriages took place, and a year in which Stephanie and I were given an opportunity to settle down our own roots.

It wasn't long after the arrival of Oliver that I had to go back to work, only having two weeks paternity leave entitled to me. Being a male, work felt more important after Oliver's arrival and gave me an extra sense of responsibility. Coming home to Stephanie and Oliver in the beginning was a real blessing each day and I was often left jealous of Stephanie's stories as she enthusiastically explained Oliver's latest new things to me.

That excitement was unfortunately shorted lived, as Stephanie herself ran out of maternity day's and was back to the harsh reality of Sainsbury's Crayford! Stephanie and I are constantly appreciative of how both my Mum and Auntie Marlene give up their time in which to care for Oliver whilst we are both at work. It was something that we were aware of during the pregnancy itself, but I am not too sure that either of us were completely prepared for the feeling of leaving your child in the hands of someone else all day, even if it is two amazing people in your close family.

It is something that, if we want to have another child that we need to address and prepare for correctly next time around. It is a big ask for someone to look after one child all day, but for two it would be a bit of a cheek! Incidentally, if anyone has any suggestions, answers on an email would be much appreciated!

If Oliver was unsettled by the lack of parental influence in his life during the day it was never obvious to either of us. In fact his development and changes both physically and mentally kept blowing us away throughout the course of the year. Stephanie's meticulous note taking and filling in of Oliver's various "baby books", alongside my rather adventurous year in the life project meant although we wouldn't actually be spending much time with Oliver in his first year, his would have certainly be one of the best recorded!

The year in the life project was certainly an adventurous project, but one that now completed has been immensely rewarding. Nanny Carly and I were talking on New Years Eve about looking back at the photos and trying to identify the precise moment in which Oliver stopped being a baby and became the little boy that his is now. Neither of us were able to do it!

I am certain that if we was able to perform a scientific experiment in attempting to find what Carly and I were looking for the conclusions would point to any particular moment in Mexico, where we went for two weeks in September to celebrate Steph's brother John's wedding to Nadine.

Stephanie and I hadn't been on a two week holiday since 1998 and before we left we wondered if two weeks would be too much! How wrong we were! We were gutted to be coming home and quite easily have stayed there for another eternity at least!

The whole two weeks were a godsend really, as we managed to spend quality time with Oliver, and Stephanie with her family. I don't know how she felt at seeing her baby brother get married in such idyllic surroundings, but it certainly inspired some thoughts in how I saw Stephanie I celebrating our own marriage one day into the future.

We had already enjoyed two amazing weddings by the time we flew out to Cozumel, with Mark and Nicola becoming Mr and Mrs Pattison, where Oliver took his first (of hopefully many) visits to the Rainham End at Gillingham Football Club, and my baby sister Jessica married James to become Mrs Shovelar.

Jessica wouldn't forgive me if I never mentioned her wedding in a review of 2007 as it was without any doubt the highlight of their lives, let alone their year! It was certainly a day to remember, and a day that I will struggle to live up to when I finally get around to getting hitched myself.

It was certainly a strange experience watching your baby sister getting married, and another thing that she did that I was traditionally expected to do first. I was certainly very proud of her and of Dad who ad-libbed his father of the bride speech to much emotion for us watching.

On behalf of Stephanie, Oliver and I, we would like to wish all three couples the very best for the future once again, and hope that you have more magical day's like you wedding days were.

All of the weddings in 2007, plus the engagements of Will and Liv, Stu and Aim, Tom and Jenny meant that a little more pressure was heading my way with a few "when are you gonna get married" questions.

Now, I understand that we have been together for 10 years in March and so people look at time as being a key factor, but I am looking at this from my point of view. We were very young when we got together, I was only 17! When we moved out together, I was only 23 which was younger than most of my friends when they started co-habiting. Besides which we have never really being rolling in money to afford the expensive diamonds and tiara's that Stephanie rightly deserves!

There is a religious part to my family, and I understand that certain eyebrows have been raised at the thoughts of pregnancy before marriage, which is fine for those who have those religious feelings, (the emphasise here being practice what your preach), but Stephanie and I are not religious and so therefore shouldn't be persecuted on those terms.

We made the decisions together to have a baby and it was the best decision we ever made! Of course in an ideal world we would have married before we moved out and conceived on our wedding night, but fortunately we live in the real world and we are doing things in the way that we see best and suits our personal circumstances.

One day we will get married, as both of us really want to marry, but we also want to do it in a way that we feel we will enjoy. After all we will only ever do it once, so why hurry?

It's funny though how this year has worked out, what with all the weddings and watching people build lives together and plans for the future. 2007 was meant to be a year in which we settled down with Oliver and find our feet and look at taking the next steps which for us was securing the flat so that we owned it all and wasn't reliant on shared ownership anymore. I was certain that by owning our our home would make it easier when we came to eventually move and maybe one day buy a house so that Oliver could have a garden in which to play.

When Mum and Dad said that they were moving I was a little upset as it meant the selling of the "family" home. However, nothing stays forever and so it was going to be cool seeing Mum and Dad in a new house, which would be bigger and better for Mum and Dad's growing army of grand children. But then did we want to buy the house off them?

It really was a bit like that, a bit out of the blue and not really something we expected! After a proper conversation about it and some investigation it was definitely something that we would be able to manage! And so it came to be!

We haven't quite got a ten year plan as sometimes verbally suggested, but if we did, we would be far ahead of schedule right now! We are so very grateful to my parents for their help and allowing us this opportunity to settle some roots, and I am sure that Stephanie will agree it is something that we never expected.

An opportunity has presented itself to us, and as we head into 2008 we are in a good place! We can plan for a more secure future and by learning from past mistakes we can hopefully make a success of things, settle into a nice home and make things our own. It would be a minor miracle, but we may even be able to save some money allowing us to have another baby and Stephanie some extented time out of work, or even an overdue wedding so that we can experience our own day like one of the three amazing days we had in the past year.

Then again, as 2007 proved, nothing can be planned or expected!

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