The best (and messiest) days of our lives…

“They’re the best days of your life aren’t they?” Said the stranger in Faro airport.

“See?” smiled my sister in law. She had only just sent me a blog of a mum of two who had had this very same experience. Said mum was describing struggling along a beach, thirsty toddler in tow, baby daddy clutching a four month old with a very sandy nappy and a stranger said the same thing to her. I could relate on every sandy level. You’re so busy changing twenty nappies a day, that it takes a random passenger in the airport cafe to remind you that these are the times you’ll miss the most. My mother in law once said she envied the life stage I was at, bringing home new babies one year after the next. I was struggling to hear her over a wailing overtired infant, but I think that’s what she said.

So I’m constantly trying to soak it all in. On holiday we had lots of new firsts. We brought Finn to the beach and it was postcard perfect. He loved the water, building the castles, burying his feet. I wanted time to stand still.

Cut to the next day, and it was too hot, too windy, water too cold, parents too harassed. Why did we bring the buggy with us anyway? Did we put enough sunscreen on the boys? Can we have a beer yet? We lasted 20 mins before retiring for lunch.

Our constant refrain on holiday was “You watching Finn?” Away from the safe sanctuary of our babyproofed home, danger lurked around every sharp corner. My eyes rarely left him as I stalked around him, shouting “Big step! Hold Mommy’s hand!” I barely noticed JJ, lovely static JJ, who stayed exactly where you left him.

And yet it was such a joy to watch Finn blossom under the Portuguese sun. Gaining confidence with each independent step he took away from me. I’d love when his little sweaty hand would reach for mine instead of batting me away like I was mortifying him. As he’d start to learn his manners “Maw peese…Tah Tah”, my heart would swell.

So what if I was up 4 times during the night. I’ll have time to sleep when’s he moved out and doesn’t even text me. And when myself and the husband finally take a holiday just the two of us, I look forward to seeing the sweating mum waiting for her buggy at the oversized baggage area, as I’ll be able to remind her that these are actually the best days. They aren’t Instagram perfect. They’re messy. But magical.

Karen Koster

Karen Koster is the anchor of Ireland’s primetime entertainment news show, Xposé which is broadcast on TV3 every weekday. She is currently on maternity leave after welcoming her second child, JJ (John James), on February 29th this year. She is also mum to Finn, who was born on New Year’s Eve 2014.

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