I’m sure that sometimes I not the mother I wish I was. But then I’m not sure how the mother is I wish I was. She’s mostly like me, but has more patience, clearer boundaries, more energy in frustrating moments, less anger, less busy-ness.
I thought that being a mother would get easier, or the answers would be more obvious, or I would be certain of what worked and what didn’t. But you’re never just being mother on your own. There’s all the unique personalities that you’re a mother to, and the other significant person (or in our case people) who parent the unique personalities too. And somehow in all of that I find it easy to get lost with the “best” way to be.
Today my youngest, who is nearly three, was sad. From pretty much when she woke up. We were on holidays last week (ungraciously of course!), but this week I am back at work, and yesterday I didn’t see her much at all until it was bedtime and she melted. Today was much the same, and in the end, while she melted and cried, I cried too, because she needs something more from me, and I can’t quite grasp what it is. I’m busy this week too, and seeing her for a few hours in the morning and then at melting o’clock, is probably the best we’ll manage. My heart feels a bit broken at that too, because something is not OK with her today and I want to grasp it.
She is so beautiful, and funny, and loud. Did I mention loud? I found out I was pregnant with her 3 weeks after my husband and I separated, and in the end she saved me from floundering too much in those moments because I had to be OK for her. I had to find joy so she could feel it, and know the family she was coming to was joyful about having her. I had to find graciousness to accept what was and not regret what wasn’t. I had to find humour so she could hear me laugh. My other three girls kept me strong but she saved me (and them) from too much sadness, bitterness and anger. I think she is loud so we always hear her, and when I hear her I remember I gave her joy and laughter and a houseful of noisy women to compete with.
She misses people all the time. When she is sad, tired or sad about being in trouble she misses her Daddy, her sisters (one by one all six), her grandparents and anyone else she hasn’t seen for at least 2 hours. How does a two year old know they miss people? How does that feel to her? She sounds so sincerely sad about the missing. Our family ebbs and flows, sometimes there are 7 or 6 or 3 kids and sometimes just one. This week there is just one, and she is sad about that, and I am sad that she even has to be sad about that. I miss her sisters (one by one all six) too. I want her to know she is loved and special and precious. I want them all to know that. I want her to be loved by people like I love her, but in the end I know that only I can love her how I love her. I can only love each one how I love them.
She’s so fast asleep right now, but right before she went to sleep she said “Please sleep in my bed with me Mum”. There are so many bears and pillows she’s filled it up with (and it’s actually her sister’s bed because she likes to sleep in that when her sister is at Dads) and there’s no room for me, but before I go to bed I’ll go and smell her sleeping head, and grasp her little hand. Perhaps that’s all I’m meant to grasp. Her. J is for joy.