When we were on holiday we decided to hire out one of the family bikes (the type the Chuckle Brothers have) for 2 hours. After 10 minutes we regretted hiring it for 2 hours, it was hard work, not just the peddling but keeping the two boys happy.
There were 3 seats on the bike, and a shelf 'thing' at the front to sit children in. In England I'm sure Health and Safety would go mad as there was no form of seat belt or harness to keep the children in place but we went with it, we had to really as we'd already paid!
So within the 2 hours we all moved seats, we popped to the park, we went to our villa to pick up some drinks, we had an injured boy who had somehow managed to slice of a layer of skin on one of his toes and had a rather large cut on his foot thanks to a minor fight with a peddle, we had an unsuccessful slope climb which resulted in my husband and another holidaymaker pushing us to the top (seriously it was a really small slope but in one of these things it feels like a mountain!) but we also had this special moment.
The holiday was not only special because of the family time, visiting somewhere new, and Harry going abroad for the first time (thanks to France by the way for letting us in without wanting to check our passports at any point). But also because it was the last burst of quality time we would spend with Charles before he started big boy school just 6 days after we returned home.
School is a big thing, letting your child go, and this realisation that they are now a child. Not a baby, not a toddler, not a preschooler, but a child.
They have this independence that for so long you try to keep for yourself, and only give to them in small portions.
All of a sudden we were sending him off.
To be himself. To be Charles. To be a school boy. To be a child.
And for a while whilst we were on the family bike, with Harry navigating from the front, we held hands.
We hold hands a lot but this just felt special. Something was different.
My husband, Charles, and then me. No words were spoken, I didn't want to acknowledge the moment as Charles might have then stopped it, but I snapped away, keeping the memory forever.
He would stop, and rest his hand on my leg, then hold my thumb, then hold my hand. He would rest his other hand on his daddy's leg. A tiny little grip every now and then.
He needed our security, our reassurance that he was safe, he wanted to be there with us and close to us, and we were allowed this moment to embrace and the touch of each others hands.
I soaked in the moment, I thought back to the time exactly a month ago from when we were on the bike, I took him to school for one of the settling in sessions, I told him I loved him, I didn't whisper it, I didn't shout it, but if anyone was near they would have heard it.
Charles told me I wasn't allowed to say that to him there. Not in a nasty way, just in a matter of fact way. And rather than feeling hurt I just laughed.
A hint of the schoolboy and the boy he was to become was showing.
I sat there and thought that within a couple of years time I won't be able to hold his hand as I walk him into school. I won't be able to kiss him, to cuddle him, in front of his friends.
I will be 'mum' and not 'mummy'.
But I didn't feel sad.
I gripped his hand tighter, and we looked at each other and smiled. Like he knew what I was thinking.
But that moment was saved within my memory.
And within my camera.
Never forgotten. And always within my heart.