The First 5 Years of Life

My big boy Kai turns 5 tomorrow. I cannot believe how true the cliches are. I remember when I'd see older relatives when I was a child and they would say 'Oh, how you've grown!' and I'd think they were so ridiculous. I swear my child's feet grew noticeably bigger just last night.


I am fine with my ageing process, I love every year and fill it with so much that I feel I only get wiser with age and enjoy the experience. On the other hand, I completely struggle with my children ageing. My son turning 5 makes me want to cry with pain that that vital stage is over and never to been seen again and just smother him with kisses from head to toe because I'm so damn proud of who he has become. I was 24 when I gave birth to Kai. A young mum by today's standards but I was so ready. I had been in business for 4 years, married for 3 and for as long as I can remember I've always wanted to be someone's mummy. I will never forget the day I peed on the stick while my husband Mat was hanging out the washing and I saw two red lines. I ran out to him and jumped up into his arms and we spun around so excited. We had no idea of the journey that was about to happen!


The first 5 years of a child's life is challenging. I don't think any mother would disagree unless they're a superhuman Mother Teresa. There are times, especially in the early days that I would crave loneliness, just to have a shower in peace or to read a book or talk on the phone without saying, 'Shhh honey, mummy is on an important call' and secretly thinking, 'Please shut up and give me 2 minutes!'

What I find most Mums don't share is the simply awesome bits, because they sound so fairytale and holier than thou. But my baby is turning 5. As an educator I know how important the first 5 years of a child's life are and that time is now complete. It's the end of a massive era in his life and mine. I have done most of my job in teaching him to be an exceptional human and this is my love letter to him.


Dear Kai, You're 5! You're a boy so stereotypically it will be ingrained in you to not like mushy letters like this, but I know you'll love it because you're already such a strong little man with such a great sensitivity. The moment you were born I never knew that such an intense emotion existed. You were born two weeks late as you didn't seem to want to come out of my belly. Your birth was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. You finally came out and straight in to the arms of your daddy before he passed you onto me. I barely put you down then for weeks and hated it when other people wanted to hold you. You really were the most gorgeous little baby. After 2 weeks you came to work with me in my toy shop. I would strap you to my chest in a baba sling and you would happily stay in there curled up most of the day. I would crouch behind the counter to breast feed you and customers would come in with shocked looks on their faces. I would only leave you in 3 hour blocks to tutor other children and when I would hear you crying in the next room my heart would break. Guilt eventually got the better of me and I closed down that business when you were 9 months old so I could spend more time with you.


You see me now and I know that you know how much I love you. What you don't know is how many times I've sat in your room while you sleep just watching you breathe and how much I miss you when you're at kindy for the day. Or how sometimes you say the sweetest things to me and I fight back tears because you're so innocent and pure.

You have only known me as a working mum and I hope that I have done the right thing with that. My hope is that you will see me creating my business and know that women can be strong, independent, powerful, sensitive, soft and nurturing all in one. You, your brother and your dad are the most important things in the world to me, but you are not the only things. There's a huge world filled with so much opportunity and I want to be a part of it. Hopefully I have passed that onto you and one day you can find something that you're so incredibly passionate about and your pursue your dreams and live the most amazing life. 


I am sorry for the times that I have walked out of the front gate and left you crying for me. I am sorry for the times that you asked me why other mummy's are playing with their children every day and I go to work. It's for you to have a better life and so I can live a fulfilled life. I have done the best I can in these important years of your life and looking at you now, I'm confident the decisions I've made have been the right one.

Watching you grow the last 5 years has filled me with pride. Taking the moment to write this to you I feel so overwhelmed. Just in the last few months alone you've learnt to ride a bike, stand up on skateboard and surfboard, swim with no bubble and colour in the lines. The day you rode your bike was almost as great as the day you learnt to walk. Seeing the look of exhilaration on your face at the freedom you were experiencing was a magical thing to witness. I hope you experience that feeling over and over in your life. 


You are such a kind and lovely boy, so well spoken, so caring, so thoughtful and so switched on. You have a phrase that you keep repeating at the moment, 'Mum, I need to ask you a difficult question.' In the last month, this has been followed by questions such as:

'Why when we are driving along the road do the clouds stay in the same place?'

'What makes the tide come in and out?'

'Does anything live outside of Earth?'

'Why is dick a naughty word but penis and willy aren't?'

'Why do some rocks on the beach look like glass? What makes them like that?'

'Why does the water look blue in the ocean but clear in a cup?.' 


There are many every day and I answer them the best I can. I am grateful for the internet and being able to give you accurate answers and encourage you so much to continue enquiring about life and seek the answers you want. You will change the world one day. You have about 4000 weeks of your life and they really do go by fast. Make sure you find whatever it is that makes your heart sing and you do it to the best of your ability. Ensure that you smile everyday and make other people smile and leave the world in a better place than when you entered it. 


I am so proud of you and I love you so much. No matter what happens in the course of our lives, know that you are so lucky to have a mum who has given you so much enrichment in your first 5 years and in turn, you have made me the luckiest woman alive and enriched my life more than I could ever imagine. You have captured my heart forever.

Love Mum x 

Tina Tower