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The scene:

I am at the Christmas party. It’s been a long, tiring week. There is is another, longer, probably more tiring week ahead. Then a break, and while my colleagues are relishing their Christmas holiday, I will be working over it (thanks double grant deadline). A fellow faculty member skipped out of the party, but I felt too guilty. I mostly talked about Sam (I have been out two nights this week, and only put him to bed once!). Everyone asked if he was walking yet, and I replied “He can, but he doesn’t”. We have seen two steps, three steps, four steps, five… OK. Not five. Sam’s walking was confined to a few wobbly paces when he was making a beeline for his bottle. Once he realized what was happening, he plopped straight to the floor.

I missed the little munchkin, but my decision to stay was rewarded when a student said that she appreciated me being there and she was “sure I would rather be with my husband and Sam”. Well, yeah. But also, not yeah. This is my School, and my students, and I feel loyalty to them and want to go and show my face, contribute a little bit to the School spirit. Plus I like the people – they are all my friends in one form or another.

Then my husband sent me this:

Aaaaargh! Real actual, proper walking! I was so proud of my boy! Everyone had to see the video – from friends up to the Dean.

And then I was gutted: how could I have missed this? Missed it for an optional work event? A work social event?

And how many more firsts would I miss? How many more moments would Sam and his dad share that I would partake in via text message?

I raced home, and Sam walked about the kitchen for me. Although not much as he was, touchingly, only prepared to walk if it was to get a cuddle from me.

Bittersweet.

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