|Making up crazy games in the park with Sophia|
My children bring me joy in so many ways every day, of course, but one thing that always gladdens my heart is seeing the unique burgeoning relationships each of them has with the people I am close to. They see our dear friend Kim, Godmother to Sophia and Tatiana and present at both their births, often, and all adore her and her family, but other friends are alas further afield. You would think in such a small country it would be easy to meet up with friends regularly, but with busy and often conflicting schedules and life demands, that is not always the case.
My Moscow mates, still going strong after 14 years of friendship and at least a dozen country and city moves between us, are both now just up the road in London, but we don't see them often enough. My honorary sister is the Kent side of East Sussex whilst we are the Hampshire side of West Sussex, yet months easily pass by between meets. My two best friends, both of about 21 years standing reside in Hertfordshire and Lancashire. Danielle we manage to see fairly often, either here or there, but Paul has been on a one to two yearly rota these past few years. You'd think Lancashire was half a world away the way we've been carrying on! Hopefully change is afoot.
|Becoming Lara's Godfather|
The last time we saw Uncle Paul, Lara was the age Sophia is now, 2.5 years, and Sophia was 8 months. The time before that was Lara's Christening where he did us the honour of becoming her Godfather. I was thrilled when he agreed to do the honours for Tatia too, and delighted at the prospect of my dear friend staying with us for a few days prior to the occasion. However, despite Lara immediately instituting a plan of where to go and what to do (her mother's daughter!), I was a little apprehensive of how the girls would take his visit.
They are aware of who Uncle Paul is and talk on the phone to him sometimes, as well as talking about him and sending cards with pictures they've drawn etc. But I worried that the reality of several days in the company of someone they don't know well may prove tricky. Well how wrong I was! Within a couple of hours Sophia, normally quite wary of people she doesn't know, and even sometimes those she does, had climbed up on his lap and was chattering away to him. Lara acted as though he had been here forever, and both absolutely adored having him here, especially when they got to have him to themselves for a bit of the time he was here. Sophia took him for a long walk along the prom, and Lara got him Lego-building; perfect one on one time for both of them. Tatiana got some time to herself too though:
We wore him out with trips to the park, the beach, soft play at the garden centre, and much more, and had a fantastic time. Since he left I have been asked several times a day when he's coming back, and every car or noise outside the front door is heralded as the return of Unk Pauw (Sophia). He has joined the ranks of people we say goodnight to at bedtime, and gets top billing in Lara's night-time prayer. You might say his visit was a success!
Oh, and he can singlehandedly save the world. Here's the bedtime story Sophia told us last week:
"Ones 'pin time, there Cind-ella, tiger, monster and ... um ... was monkey. Then Unk Pauw come, he's funny. Finished. Happy ev after is good. The end."
What powers! Unk Pauw, come back soon!!