Monday, 19 January 2015

When Friendship is Born...



"Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: 
"What! You too? I thought that no-one but myself...""
C.S.Lewis Four Loves

We still sometimes talk about the moment that email was sent... the one that broke the ice... the one that turned us from expectant mothers with rose-tinted glasses sitting in an NCT class talking about our dreams of parenting, to real, living-in-the-moment, I'm-not-coping mothers who admitted it was hard. It was hard.
Seven babies... all born within 3 weeks of each other... all first time Mama's figuring it all out. And one Mama who had the guts to say to the rest of us "Motherhood is TOUGH". I will be forever grateful.

Because in the moment of that email, this group of Mama's became for me a place I could be real, and honest... a place of sharing... a place of vulnerability. Yes... motherhood is full of golden moments... moments that make your heart sing, and your smile sparkle, and your head hurt like its never hurt before.

But these little people; they are the evidence that we are doing it... through all the hard stuff; the tantrums, the chat back, the 400 times repeated instruction, the demands, the constancy of it all... and through all the golden moments: the bedtime stories, the snuggles, the "I love yous" and the family jokes... they are growing up into little people. They are no longer the helpless tiny bundles - they are personalities of their own... big brothers and sisters, with their own little friendship tiffs, and their own make-believe games. They have their quirks, their likes and their dislikes, their sayings, their jokes and their giggles.

And they are growing... no longer seven... now 12... with two more on the way this year. Our little gang is getting bigger and bigger...


And so, on Saturday, we gathered together for our yearly get-together. Of course, we see each other a lot more than that, but slowly and surely we are spreading out and moving to different parts of the country (and our eighth family left us to go to the other side of the world... we still miss you Linda!)... and so this once a year is extra special because we are ALL together. Mums, Dads and the ever growing band of little people...

What used to be an ordinary Tuesday afternoon gathering, is becoming more and more extraordinary, as we realise that this group is not just a few people who happened to go through a life experience together, but has become a group of friends who are doing life together.

And so each year, we take the annual photograph... the children seated in the same order, with siblings adding on in front...

and we watch with wonder as they change from this...


to this...


to this....


to this...


A very extraordinary, ordinary friendship.

mummy daddy me








25 comments:

  1. ...so lovely to see! Time flys...

    We meet our friends from the "Geburtsvorbereitungskurs" today, too.

    xxx Catrin

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    1. Tell me about it! Just can't believe how big they all are! Your little mouse will be this big in no time!!!

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  2. What a lovely idea and you are right time flies. I find it hard to believe my two are 33 and nearly 29 and it scares me how fast that time went. Lovely picture for a chilly monday

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    1. Wow! I'm savouring up every moment of it... I know it'll fly by!

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  3. Our 9 person nct group has 2 similar photos - one at 8 weeks old and one at their first birthday party. Samuel is the youngest - 5 weeks after first baby x

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    1. It's a lovely tradition to get lined up pictures of them... I'm so glad we've done it and hope we manage to continue to!

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  4. Lovely picture. It got me thinking about my antenatal group. We are still in touch with 3 out of 7. The youngest of them turning 17 this week.

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    1. That's amazing Hazel! I really hope we're all still in touch when ours are that age!

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  5. Claire you write so well about the ups and downs of motherhood and our friendship. It's so great we all met at nct, you guys keep me sane!!

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    1. Thank you for sending that email ;-) xx

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    1. They are quite cute all lined up... aren't they!??

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  7. Beautifully put as always! You guys are so much a part of us, and Saturdays support really did show me what real friendship is all about... Quite simply, thank you. Miss Mia and I love you all x x

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    1. So glad all was well in the end Dee! Was so lovely to see you all, and bump!! We will try to get up to see you very soon!

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  8. You've summed it all up, Claire - we're so very lucky to have met you all and have you in our lives. Here's to many, many more years of meet ups!! Nx

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  9. I so wish I'd done NCT now! Everyone says how good it is for making lifelong friends! The pics are fab! Xx

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    1. Thank you Sam. I must admit I am SO glad we did it... definitely for the friendships. There is something unique about going through that life-changing experience all together.x

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  10. NCT is a wonderful organisation and it looks like you have a great group there who all meet up. Wonderful group photos and everyone behaving too, we always struggled with these. 16 years later I am still in contact with a couple of my friends even though we live miles apart. I hope you will stay in touch too. #MagicMoments

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    1. Lol. What you can't see is the whole line of adults behind me doing everything in their power to ensure these littlun's did what they were told!! It only took 14 of us!! So lovely that you are still in contact with some of your group... I hope we are too :-)

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  11. This is beautiful. Its great that you have these amazing friendships to be there for each other through the hard times as well as the fantastic times.

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    1. So very thankful for them. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

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  12. This made me tear up a little Claire- so beautifully put and my NCT girls have been a godsend to me. Like you we have grown apart or moved on over the years, one to Australia even, but from the seven of us, there are still a few of us who meet each week. We used to get photos of them all lined up all the time, but we haven't done one for years. We really should. xx

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    1. Lovely that some of you still meet up each week! We used to, but with work commitments and school drops offs, we're now down to every other week. A few have moved away, but we do our best to keep in touch, and we ALWAYS have our yearly reunion! You should DEFO line up your group again! Its so fun to look back and see how they've grown and changed!

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  13. Oh I remember your pictures from last year and thinking how lovely it was that you all still got together and took an annual photo. My NCT group has spread far and wide now, though there are still a few of us that get together occasionally but I remember how close we were in those first few weeks, emailing each other during night feeds and all those "my baby's doing xyz - is yours?" conversations. When colleagues and friends have had babies I've always told them to do NCT, not so much for the instruction but for the friends :)

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