I’m Sorry For Being ‘That’ Friend

me-and-babies

In my lifetime, I’ve taken on many different job roles – some were fun, some were boring, some were challenging whilst others where just hard. Not one, however, comes close to how hard being a Mother is (I say Mother, but I really mean parent – I know Dads feel the full stretch of the hardship as well).

It’s  one of those things – no one ever expects it to be easy…it’s not something I think people look at and picture to be breezy either. Before we embark on the wonderful, turbulent journey of parenthood, we envisage some struggles. I mean, we’ve all been in  situations where we’ve been driven crazy by someone else’s child before, haven’t we?

Whether it be the high pitched scream of a newborn whilst you surf the medicine aisle in Sainsbury’s (in search of paracetamol to cure to drastic migraine which has been bugging you all day); the annoying body-shirk as your aeroplane chair is kicked from behind for the twentieth time; the overly-friendly glares of a curious toddler as you try to eat peacefully or the witnessing of brattish behaviour…we’ve all thought ‘I hope my child doesn’t act like that’.

Reality check – they will! If you intend on becoming a Parent, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in ALL of these scenarios, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself causing the unnecessary suffering of some poor child-free victim just trying to survive their own day.

It’s hard!

Some women transition into Motherhood seamlessly – as though they’ve spent their entire childhood prepping for the moment they make ‘Mother’. Me? It wasn’t so smooth. Before having children, I wasn’t what you would call maternal. I shied away from children, made excuses not to visit friends who had already transitioned into Mother. I told myself that our friendships were dwindling because they didn’t have time for me, because they’d changed now that they had kids. I passed up their invitations to soft play areas, strolls along the seaside in exchange for more mature offers – whilst still telling myself that they were the ones now not making the effort. I forgot to buy Birthday presents, spent my money on less interesting purchases.

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I’m sorry!

I’m sorry for the ignorance, for the lack of understanding of just how much you needed me.

One of the hardest parts of becoming a parent was feeling as though I’d lost a part of me. I mean, undoubtedly, I gained so much simultaneously but there were still parts of me I noticed retracting. It became hard to be as fun, as care-free, as spontaneous and as relaxed as the former child-free me had once been. My days became cluttered with nappy changes, feeds, rocking and sterilising. As the Mother in me grew, the glamour in me diminished. I can, with full certainty, tell you that I felt lows I never expected.

In the early days, I craved moments where I could feel like my old self again…And, although I cherished the rekindled bonds between those friends who had already transitioned, I missed the irresponsible conversations I once shared with my non-mummy friends. I knew, of course, that being my friend was becoming harder for them. I remembered being the one bored by stories of miniature milestones, trying to look interested in tales of milky poo and sore nipples. I recalled feeling uncomfortable handling the new born babes of my friends, almost desperate to hand them back over without seeming uncaring or insensitive. I understood what my friends were now feeling, how I had become less interesting.

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It made me sad.

Sad in the realisation that once beforehand, my Parent friends had needed my distraction. They needed that silly, random talk as much as before. They wanted a fresh, less anxious perspective, a moment for themselves. They wanted a rest – a rest from baby talk, from feeds and from rocking. They wanted to remember who they once were, who they still were beneath the baby sick and shepherd’s pie crustations.

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So this is for my Mummy friends – I truly apologise for being so rubbish at a time you needed me the most. I was selfish and unable to see what gift I’d been given. Had I known how maternal you now felt, I would have tried harder to understand how amazingly turbulent the journey you faced felt. I wouldn’t make excuses or shy away from what could have been some brilliant memories together. If I could do it all over again, I would appreciate more that being your friend now meant being an Auntie, I’d give your arms a break with gratitude of still being able to be a part of your life (now that your priorities had rightfully changed), for being a part of your child’s life and for trusting me with your most precious possession.

To my child-free friends – although I can’t be sorry that my priorities changed, I’m sorry for not involving you more. I could have made more effort to respond to texts or avoid turning conversations back round to being baby related. I could have told you more that I needed you to remind me of who I once was, that I needed the distractions from Motherhood and parenting. I should have listened to your stories of drunken debacles with the same interest I once showed – those moments felt important to you (rightfully so) and what is important to you – will always be important to me.

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Life isn’t always easy and all we can do is try our best at making things less painful, more enjoyable. Now that the rollercoaster is settling, I’m trying to regain the parts of me I once felt were being replaced. I couldn’t have done any of this without the strength and compassion of all of my friends!

so, to all of you – thank you for bearing with me!

Love you xxx

 

 

 

Just You and I

  

Do you remember the time when I was all yours? When you were all mine and the world was all ours?
Do you remember the days we’d spend completely together? Nothing could dampen our spirits, not even the weather? 
Do you remember the nights you’d sleep in my arms? No anxieties ahead of us, no need for alarms?
Do you remember the days we’d spend in the park? Out in the country until it became dark? 
Do you remember the sound of my soft lullaby? I’d sing to you every time you started to cry?
Do you remember the long savoured afternoon cuddles? Or the times we’d venture outside to go splashing in puddles?
Do you remember the moments you’d look in my eyes? It still makes me feel like I’ve won the best prize.
Do you remember the way you’d smile as you saw me? It was amazing to know that I’d made you happy?
Do you remember the times I cried out of joy? You were all that I’d dreamed of, my perfect boy.
So,
Do you remember the time when I was all yours? When you were all mine and the world was all ours?
I remember it clearly, I could never forget. You made me a Mother, something I’ll never regret.
I remember so vividly, those times, you and I. You still make me proud as life passes us by.
Your cuddles I cherish, your kisses are divine. I love you like crazy and I’m in awe that you’re mine!

  
Love you baby, your Mama xx

Please Remember

Please Remember

Today, you grew up. Right before my eyes, you transformed into a boy.I wish I could say that it was beautiful but it wasn’t. It was terrifying.

You see, today, you outgrew your cot. You climbed over the edges and made your escape. Strategically, you sussed how to manoeuvre over the bars and jaunted to the floor.

Joy filled your face as you landed gleefully and rolled into position. To you, it had become a game – your newest adventure. To me, it had become a death trap – the next phase of worry.

Worst of it all, I wasn’t ready. Worst of all, I just wasn’t prepared.

I wondered then if I’d ever be ready to let you grow? Don’t get me wrong, watching you grow is exciting and thrilling. I instinctively feel so proud of the intelligent little boy you’re soon turning into. However, I feel as though recently, you’re learning something new every day, developing so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up.

Now, you’re one step closer to needing me no longer…and that’s what I’m not ready for.

You’re becoming so independent. You no longer require me to feed you a bottle. You no longer require me to hold your spoon, your toothbrush or your cup. You can pull off your own nappy and tell me when you don’t want to do something. You know your own mind for crying out loud. You have your own likes and dislikes, your own thoughts and feelings. You’re no longer a baby.
I feel panicked, I need you to slow down so I can comprehend what is happening. I’m enthralled for your future but I long for just one more day of my baby boy. I’m starting to forget what it ever felt like to have you sleep on my chest, to rock you to sleep, to hold you as you drifted off into slumber.

I can’t forget, please don’t let me forget.

On that note, I don’t want you to forget either. I see the way you look at me at times. My nerves and anxieties take the fun out of your adventure. I’m forced to take on the role of ‘baddie’ and hider your fun whenever I sense danger. You don’t know that though, you haven’t yet grasped that the word ‘no’ is only used for your own good.


Tonight, you scowled at me as I tried to get you to stay in your new bed. Please remember that I also lay beside you cuddling you to sleep. I stroked your nose, the part between both eyes just as you liked me to as a tiny baby. I comforted you as you screamed.

Now that you’re growing so speedily, I urge you to recall our special moments. As you clamber into you ‘Big Boy Bed’ please remember the nights I’d stand for hours cradling you in my arms until you fell asleep. My muscles would shake, my back would ache but I wouldn’t relent until you were ready to be placed in your cot. I’d sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Hush Little Baby’ over and over until your eyelids became heavy. Never once did I show you how tired or drained I was feeling.

As you eat your tea so calmly, please remember the times I’d sit patiently at mealtimes, rhythmically feeding you the spoon. I’d make chugging noises and repeat aeroplane moves as I tried to get you to take the bait. I’d be covered in food that you’d chuck in my direction. I’d force a smile as I shot back the sloppy mushed up food you’d taken from your own mouth and pushed into mine. Never once did I show you how I hated feeling so filthy, how the food in my mouth would make me gag and feel sick.

As you take your bottle in your arms and ascent the staircase towards your bedroom, please remember the nights I’d snuggle you in tight and feed you a bottle. Some nights, you’d have me up every two hours yet I savoured every bottle. I’d scoop your crying little bones from your cot and hold you tight. I’d sit, sometimes for 45 minutes at a time, rocking in our chair as you sucked harmoniously. Pausing, I’d wind you until I heard that beautiful burp. The nights you’d keep it from me pained me with worry that your colic would hurt. Never once did I show you how exhausted I felt, never once did I rush you to finish or pull the bottle away until you were satisfied.

As a Mother, these moments were so precious. I feel so privileged that I had the pleasure to experience them with you. People tell me that by the time you’re older, I’ll be ready to watch you flourish but I can’t promise I’ll ever be ready to forget the way you made me feel. That flutter of love each time I was needed made me feel special, so important.

If I promise to remember that, will you promise to remember too?

I love you, my beautiful prince, my pirate, my crazy little boy – no longer a baby.

I Still Remember

  
I may be approaching 30 but I can still very much assure you that I’ll always be your little girl. Even just 10 minutes in your presence and I feel 5 again, ready and waiting for fun and laughter. 
When I was little, I completely idolised you. Now that I’m older, nothing much has changed. You may think that we’re no longer close or that our lives have taken us in different directions but in my heart, you’ll always be my home. In my thoughts, you’ll always be that fun loving man with whom I cherish so many memories. I want to let you know that you may think I’ve forgotten but I haven’t, I still remember. 
I remember that as a little girl, you were the most handsome man I’d ever met. There was a time I was convinced that I would marry you when I grew up. In the end, the men that I dated had a very tall order. It took me a long time to find someone even half as good as you. 
I still remember the way you held me and danced with me as I clung to your thumb. We’d dance to Simply Red in the back room and my whole body would tingle with love for you. I always felt safest in your embrace, your warmth made me feel confident and our time spent dancing together were my happiest moments as a child. I would play with your CD player but only as a hint for you to come in and dance with me. You always did, you never let me down.
I remember the year you recorded me and Chris fast asleep on Christmas Eve, played it to us the next morning and told us that Santa has done it. Naïve at the time, we were completely fooled – and completely ecstatic. You were forever doing little things to please us, it worked because our childhood was filled full of happy moments.
I remember the time you woke us late at night (it felt late, it was probably only 9pm) because it had snowed. A thick blanket covered the ground and you were so excited. We got dressed and raced outside, threw snowballs at each other and made a snow man. Even as a 30 year old woman, I look back at memories like these with utter fondness. 
I remember coming to meet you at Carlisle as you cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats. I felt so proud of you for achieving something great. I also remember how scared I was when you left, it felt like you weren’t home for ages. I didn’t want to ever miss you. I remember waiting anxiously for you to come home, seeing your car pull into the drive and racing outside to meet you. I loved the salty smell of your sweat (how awful of me) because it reminded me that you were home. I couldn’t wait to hear your stories, listen to your adventures. I also remember feeling insanely jealous each year as you’d go to France cycling with Chris. I wanted to be the one you took, I wanted that private time together but of course, I was too small or too weak. I could ride for myself but I’d enjoyed too much time on the back of our tandem. I remember the time we cycled up Houghton Cut, you told me I’d done all the work and I believed you. You always found a way to make me feel proud of myself. 
I remember sitting and reading in the sitting room each Thursday as you had your French lesson. I would sit there and listen to you speaking French and feel so proud of you. You’ve always pushed yourself to succeed, to be the best at everything. I want you to know that to me, you really are! 
I remember our holiday to Annecy and Chamonix, places you’d told me about and I was desperate to see. I loved sharing in things that you loved. I remember standing listening to a band play ‘Jump Around’ in Chamonix centre. The heat of the night still keeping us warm, looking out onto the snow peaked mountains. I told you that it was one of my favourite moments and it still is. For all I didn’t say, I cherished each view, cherished each moment because it was spent with you. Your baguette and jam sandwiches for breakfast will always taste better than any other. 
I remember the way you looked at me the 1st time you saw me on my wedding day. The tears in your eyes were real and it was you who made me feel special, it was you who made me feel perfect. I could see the pride in your eyes (maybe not so much later on when I became too drunk and silly) and the love you had for me. 
So even as we grow up, I want you to know that we don’t grow further apart in my eyes. I’ve too many memories to share in a blog, some that are special so I’ll keep just for me.
You’re now not only a great dad, you’re an amazing Grandpa and I can’t wait for our children to share so many fun memories with you. 

  
And of course, for you to teach them that a baby swan is a signet…
Love you always, your little girl.