Ten years of Mother’s Days.
Y’know that scene in Contact, when Jodie Foster’s character is hurtling through the wormhole? That’s sort of what our last decade feels like. We’re vomiting out the other side into calmer space, and it’s still a little fraught (what family with kids isn’t?) but holding intelligible conversations with children certainly helps.
I am not a naturally maternal mother, I don’t think. I was not the sort of girl who dreamed of getting married and having babies. And when I did meet my husband, we kinda sorta knew we wanted to have kids when we were ready. But, the Universe had vastly different plans and knocked us up before we’d even exchanged vows.
So began our bewildering, mentally unprepared tumble into parenthood.
Now we have an almost ten year old son and a daughter, who will be firm in telling you that she is not just seven, she is seven and a half.
I’m not a coddler or a helicopter parent, but I know how to comfort, and offer solace, and take care. My children are not the be all and end all of me, and I don’t think I’m an intrusive parent. They are independent, but never shy away from a hug. They think about stuff, and ask questions. They eat their vegetables, even if they leave the chicken nuggets behind. They do their homework before they go outside. They do as they’re told. They are funny, and loving, and spirited kids, each with their own talents. They are selfish, but care about the planet and other people. They are not yet masters of their own emotions.
At the end of the day, I am happy to ‘tuck them in’ and perform our secret handshakes, play thumb wars and occasionally read to them, even if I groan about doing so, because I’m knackered and all I really want to do is make a cup of tea, sit next to my husband and watch the next episode of The Blacklist. I get exasperated at having to repeatedly remind them to wash their hands after they use the loo, to not leave drinks and snack wrappers lying around, to put their clean clothes away, to do the jobs they are supposed to do, and to be home at 6:30. No, not 7, 6:30…why? Because the kitchen closes at 6:30, that’s why.
It’s all really ok; there will come a day when I’ll still be reminding them to do their chores, and to pick up after themselves but they’ll have curfews of 10pm, and I’ll ask them to be careful driving the car. There will be dates, and broken hearts, and proms, and college, and whatever path they choose after that. Or no college, if my son has his way. But he won’t. So.
I might have lost myself for a while there during the early years but look at what I found…a better me, a wiser me, a cheekier, classy, gracefully clumsy, more well-rounded me.
I am not my kids, and my kids are not me.
Without each other though, we wouldn’t be the wonderful unit that we are.
Happy Mother’s Day. And that includes furkid Mothers too!