Proud Beyond Words

mother and daughter

As many people have learnt, a lot can happen in a year.

Since your fourth birthday, you have become a big sister. You have had to go from having my undivided attention to having to share me with someone else. So many people have warned me of the jealousy that you would feel and maybe the dislike or resentment of your baby sister. You have proved them all wrong. All you have ever shown your little sister is love, a testament to the mother you one day hope to be. You have shown understanding beyond your years when I have been tired beyond imagining, particularly when your sister was just born. You have cuddled me, stroked me through my tears of exhaustion and reassured me that I am still a good Mama, even though I can not devote my entire time and attention on you. You have made me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have started school. It was a time of uncertainty for you. The longest time you and I have ever been away from one another. It was a hard few weeks at first but although there were tears in the mornings, upon entering the school gates, in true British style, you held your chin up and walked through those doors. In your teacher’s words you built relationships with your classmates and with your teachers and worked hard in your lessons despite your hidden feelings of self-doubt and misgivings. You have made me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have gotten used to falling asleep on your own because your father is late home from work and your little sister woke and will not settle. You lie there waiting for me to read you stories and more often than not I do not return before you fall asleep. Sometimes I return to kiss you goodnight and whisper “I’m sorry” in your ear, you sleepily reply “that’s ok” and hold out your arms for a cuddle. In that moment, you make me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have learnt that nothing is your own now you have a little sister who looks up to you more than anyone. You have watched as your sister plays with your precious Barbie collection. When I say playing, I mean sitting on them, sucking on them, messing up the arrangement you so carefully made the night before. You insist on sitting beside her at the dinner table each and every day and have learnt that your cutlery and even your own dinner is no longer your own. The moments you share your dinner with your sister (even though she had her own, exactly the same as yours) you make me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have watched me deliver your sister with a calmness and emotional maturity beyond your years and the moment I saw you for the first time as a big sister, you made me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have grown in confidence, sticking up for your beliefs and never letting anyone say a bad word against your loved ones, and in each moment  you fight for what you believe is right you make me proud beyond words.

I could go on.

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You have learnt that very often your days consist of playing a waiting game, but my darling girl on the eve of your 5th birthday I want you to know that in no way are you second-best. As you fell asleep in my arms tonight I promised you as I have done many times before that I will be your constant, as you have been mine.

Happy Birthday my sweet Princess, may you always know how much you are truly loved. 

mother and daughter 2

Opening image: clipart-library.com

Closing image: videoblocks.com
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I Love You Enough…

Home made party cupcake with a number candle on topFour years ago  I embarked on the breathtaking journey of motherhood. This past weekend my little girl turned 4 and today I applied for primary schools for her. It seems wrong somehow. I still see her as the vulnerable little baby that entered the world not so long ago and later took her first vulnerable steps towards my open arms.

I make a habit of telling my daughter that I love her multiple times a day, even when she is sleeping, however every day I wonder how much she knows I love her and whether she will ever know.

So to my little four-year old girl I hope you know:

I love you enough that I would go without so you could have that extra treat.

I love you enough to always put you first.

I love you enough to always include family in our lives so the memories you make with them will last long after they have gone.

I love you enough to say “no” when I need to.

I love you enough to be the bad guy when I need to be, even though it breaks my heart to do so.

I love you enough to be hard on you sometimes to encourage you to be the best you can be.

I love you enough to not resent you when you push the boundaries but instead to respect your need to push those boundaries.

I love you enough to ignore society’s definition of  perfection  (although for me you are perfect).

I love you enough to sometimes let your father take the lead.

I love you enough to make the perfect reality for you.

I love you enough to never quit.

I love you enough to make my dreams a reality for you rather than for any self-regarding quest for gain.

I love you enough to never regard what I have ‘given up’  for motherhood as a sacrifice, but a privilege.

I love you enough to never let you forget how much I love you.

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Opening image: sevenhillsrunningshop.com
Closing image: lovethispic.com

An Open Hearted Apology

Mother and daughterI owe an apology.

To my daughter.

The day you were born, I was also re-born. Re-born as a mother. I am no longer the person I was before and that is OK. More than OK. You have enriched my life beyond any comparison. When a child is born, so too is a mother and that mother is born with a belief that she is super human. That she can do anything and everything. But she can’t.

Lately I have been so concerned with providing for you, with trying to build something that can sustain us as a family when I don’t need to. Your father is taking care of that part. I shouldn’t care what I am worth to anyone but those living under our roof.  My mind has been on the next thing on my to-do list, the next assignment I need to complete, the next chapter I need to write. I have foregone playing with you to tackle the washing up so I can give myself more time in the evening to stare at a blank computer screen, or “puter” screen as you so eloquently put it.

No more.

The job I have now, looking after you is my dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mother. Everything else I have done prior to the day you were born were mere stepping-stones. Yet I have lost the opportunity in the everyday. The opportunity to talk to a few more ants on the way back to the car. Or the opportunity to create a walk around the neighbourhood into a big adventure. Or simply the opportunity to leave the washing up for later and to play “hide and seeks” one more time. I always wanted to be a mother who was present, always there. Not a mother who shouts or who is blind to your wonderment.

So I am sorry my darling girl. I am sorry I lost my patience as we walked back to the car after playgroup. I am sorry for an “I’ll just do this” turning into you ever giving up on Mummy coming to play. I know you are nearly 2 1/2 now and you should play on your own. And you do. But you are not 2 1/2 for long. Already I stand over your cot as you sleep and see you in your big girl pyjamas, with your big girl pillow and wonder where my little girl has gone to. My heart aches because you are growing up but at the same time it is rejoicing for the same reason. The washing up can wait. Even the writing can wait. You should not have to wait. I want you to always remember me as a Mummy who had time to play and in your later years to talk, night or day. Not a Mummy who was always distracted.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow take your time. Tomorrow I will get down on my hands and knees and talk to the ants with you, I will kick that football around, walk around the neighbourhood collecting sticks and leaves. I will play “hide and seeks” any time you want, even if you do tell me where to hide. Tomorrow I will play.

I love you, Bunny.

Mummy xxx

Opening image: www.tatcha.com

I Smile…

lovemotherhood

As I crawl into bed with aching limbs and tired eyes, I smile.

I smile at the tiredness I feel, I smile at the thought of the piles of laundry, washing up in the sink and I smile at the piles of toys that scatter my floor.

I smile at the dust bunnies that collect in the nooks and cranny of my home and I smile at the hoover that remains tucked away in its cupboard no matter how many promises I made to bring it out and put it to work.

I smile at my daughter’s increasing independence as I watch her little personality break free from the confines of babyhood.

I smile at the late night/early morning cries for “Mummy” because she feels safe and loved in my arms.

I smile at the constant “Mummy do it”, “Mummy, look”, “Mummy, cuddle” because I am her go-to person.

I smile knowing as I close my eyes each night, no matter how much I plan no two days are ever the same.

I smile because she has taught me a love I have never experienced before.

I smile because she has given me purpose.

I smile because she is my daughter and I am her mother.

I smile at the tug’o’war I play each day between myself as a mother, a wife and a writer.

I smile at the late night struggle with words I fight every night.

I smile at the late nights I am awake worrying why my daughter is not toilet trained yet, what to feed her tomorrow. Is she stimulated enough, is she this, is she that. I smile because I love her enough to worry.

I smile at the thought that tomorrow I will do it all over again.

Opening Image: Meetville.com

Looking Back On Motherhood

lookingbackI have spent the past month in denial of the inevitable. The inevitable that in fact happened this week. My little girl turned 2. She is 2. She is no longer 10 months, 18 months or even 20 months. She is 2.  I now no longer refer to my daughter’s age in months but years. It has been both the longest and shortest 2 years I have ever had. It has been the most tiring yet the most rewarding. I am now wavering between joy at watching my little girl grow and develop and learn new things and sorrow for the days, months and years that have passed.

My sleep is no longer regular, my evenings are long gone. My cleanliness is a rare commodity these days and my husband and I share few moments alone. However, my life has been enriched more than ever before. For a moment or two, I would like to speak from a personal point of view about what motherhood has done for me:

1- I have learnt to love my body. It is not perfect and there are many things I would like to change. However, I look at myself in the mirror and I see a body that created my beautiful girl.

2- I have learnt to have purpose. Before she came into our lives, I would work only to pay the bills. Now I work for her future. My dream of writing has become fused into my dream of providing for her. I am now able to pursue what I have really wanted in life, while doing a job (motherhood) I absolutely love.

3- I have learnt to put myself last. As a stay at home mum in particular you are last after your child, your husband, your ironing, your cooking, and your cleaning. I used to never walk out of the house without make up. Never answer the door in tracksuit bottoms. I would never go without showering for more than 2 days; I would never go without straightening my hair. This is not a sacrifice to me for I do not go without these out of duty but love.

4-  I have learnt to play again. To crawl inside a play tent at playgroup and for it to be okay to get stuck. I have learnt to dance and to sing in public and for it to be okay to be out of tune.

5- I have learnt that no matter how exhausted I am, there is always enough in me to play one more game, to cuddle her a little more, to read her the same book again one more time.

6- I have learnt that my parents love me more than I could possibly have imagined. I think now of the sacrifices they made for me and the love they had for me to make those sacrifices.

7- I have learnt to imagine again. Imagine this empty box is a boat; imagine the table is a house. I have learnt to block out the less important preoccupations and welcome the more important matters back into my life.

8- I have learnt to see the beautiful in the not so beautiful. The beautiful in the piles of laundry, the stacking dishes, the crumb encrusted floor. I have learnt to see the beauty in family life.

9- I have learnt about unconditional love. As cliche as it sounds, you will never understand what that means until you become a mother yourself.

10- I have learnt of new ways and new reasons to love my husband. I would never have thought I would enjoy watching my husband fall in love with another woman, yet watching him excel in his new role as a father has renewed my faith in both him and our marriage.

I used to think I was the teacher in the relationship but I realise now my daughter is the teacher and what a wonderful teacher she is.

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Opening image: www.marcandangel.com
Closing image: pixgood.com

An Ode To My Girl

Mother and ChildI love the sound of her breathing. I love the shape of her face. I love the way she clings to my hair when I hold her in my arms. I love how she smiles at me first thing in the morning. I love how no matter what is on my mind and no matter the extent of my worries and troubles she can take them all away in an instant. I love how she makes me want to be a better person. I love how I get to spend everyday with her and sharing in her smiles and even her tears.  I love how her entire hand can wrap itself around my little finger. I love how she makes me miss her when I’m only downstairs. I love how when she is not with me, I find that I am always looking at where she is. I love how she takes my heart with her wherever she goes.

I love how not so long ago I was working in a busy office, dealing with trustees and well-known personalities and now I’m scrubbing clothes, sterilising bottles, changing nappies and crawling on my hands and knees in an attempt to make her smile. I love how everyday is different with her and yet the same. I love how already we are the best team. I love how she brings my loved ones closer. I love how she has changed my outlook on life.

Nothing could be more challenging in my opinion than motherhood. To always regard someone else’s needs above your own. To maintain your sanity when all you seem to be is forever drowning in laundry. It may sound like I am complaining but on the contrary – I never in my wildest dreams imagined motherhood to be as rewarding as it is. I may only be 3 months into it but it has been the best 3 months of my life. I love how she creates so many new challenges yet gives me the strength to overcome each and every challenge.

I love how I now have so much to look forward to with her by my side. I love how I am constantly torn between wanting her to grow and share more with her yet wanting her to stay just as she is.

More than anything I love how she makes me feel.

Mother and Daughter

 

 

Opening Image:  The Telegraph
Final Image: Integral Parenting