Tonight is officially Census Night. The Census is taken every five years, and the last Census was in August 2006.
So much has changed in my life – our lives – since then.
In the last five years we have lost some loved family members, and have also welcomed new people into our extended families.
This time five years ago we didn’t have Juniordwarf. I was 34 weeks pregnant, and he was called Peanut. According to the measurements the doctor made that day, Peanut was going to be about 3.4 kilos (7½ pounds) and he was going to have short legs ‘like its mother’. We hadn’t found out whether it was a boy or a girl, but Slabs said he thought if it had short legs, the baby would have to be a girl, because he said no men in his family had short legs. At least on his father’s side. Wrong!
I was looking pretty huge by this stage (that is, I was at the point where the caption on a photo in a newspaper might describe me as being ‘very pregnant’ – as if there is such a thing as a degree of pregnancy).
This time five years ago I was counting down the days to when I would start maternity leave. I was really tired, not able to get comfortable during the night and waking up constantly. I felt like I was functioning on autopilot. I kept wondering whether this was training for what it would be like when the baby came, and whether, despite the expected night wakings, actually having the baby might be better for my sleep patterns, because I might actually be able to get comfortable during the night.
What a lot I’ve learned since then.
So we have a little boy, and we had to answer questions about him on the Census form so that he can be counted as an official statistic in Australia for the first time.
The Census form also asks you what your address was five years ago. This year, our previous address is the same as it is now.
But this time five years ago, when my ‘very pregnant’ self was filling out the 2006 Census form, our address five years previously had been in another state – almost another world away.
Slabs and I were both working in full time jobs. I was supervising staff and had even spent some time in an acting Manager’s position, something I was keen to get away from, and got my chance when we moved to Tasmania. We had over an hour’s travel every day to and from work, between our peaceful country cottage and the city. It was great, because it felt like every weekend was a weekend away, but it had started to be a grind doing the trips on a daily basis.
Now we’re both working part time, with a much shorter commute. We’re living in a bigger town, which has advantages because we’re a lot closer to shops and services – important when you have a young child – but we still miss the peace and quiet of our former life and the scarcity of neighbours. (Also, I don’t miss the freezing cold winters of our former residence.)
In some ways it’s hard to believe that so much has changed, and that we have an almost five year old son. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that we were talking about how we might do up our old cottage to make it more like our dream house, and that having a family was not on the immediate radar.
At other times it’s hard to remember life before Juniordwarf, and what we used to do when we were child-free.
Either way, it brings home the truth of the statement ‘the days are long, but the years are short’, and I know it won’t be long before we’re filling out the 2016 Census form, reflecting on all that’s changed since today.