16 January 2012
How it is
You go to bed full of resolve. You think about the kids and your heart is squeezed with love and your mind is full of failings: the shouted words; the sarcasm; the hug you didn't give; the impatience you felt when they all wanted something; the way you handled the whingeing today; the lecture you gave; the listening you didn't do.
And you know, because you've been told and told, and also because you see it before you, that all this will pass, all this will be gone, all this is fleeting. And there will be a time very soon that you long for those warm bodies to press into yours, that you ache for sticky hands to touch your cheeks. You know that little body breathing beside you in the night won't always be there and that you will forget the squashed night's sleep, the kicks in the midriff, the whack of a small arm across your sleeping face, and will instead remember the nose pressed against yours, the kiss right on your lips, the snuggle into your neck. And you'll long for it in the way you can only long for something that has gone, truly gone forever.
You try to be there, right there, just where you are, but you find yourself flying ahead to the dinner uncooked, the meltdown in the offing, the bickering about to explode and you hear yourself barking orders, corralling, threatening, counting to three until compliance is achieved.
You imagine a day when everything is smooth and easy but you know that is not how it is. How it is, is bits and pieces. An argument between siblings is as water off a duck's back to them; as nails on a blackboard to you. A hug between siblings, an invitation to join a game, a shared story, a joke told, is as common as mud to them, as precious as gold to you.
One day when you get home from work you know that instead of four voices clamouring to tell you of their day, to climb on you or beg to be picked up, to hug you or to ask something of you, you will be greeted by silence, or absence. And instead of saying 'just let me take my coat off' or 'I really need to go to the toilet' you'll say 'hello? anyone home?'.
And yet, and yet, this knowledge that settles on you in the nights, when the house is calm and the children are asleep, falls away in the dawn. This resolve to slow down, to mind less, to talk less, to judge less, is but a flimsy thing. It is shored up by darkness but is unable to withstand the bleaching effects of the sun, the noise of children's voices and the weakness within.
Posted by Julie
Labels: mistakes I've made, things to think about
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Oh, so beautifully true.ReplyDelete
Well, you know I know what you're talking about. And so does any mum/dad. And I know it feels bad when you;re having a patch like that. But, by the thoughtfulness of your blog, I KNOW you are a fantastic mum more often than not. xReplyDelete
Oh thank you Leigh, and happy new year.Delete
My kids have kids of their own and I didn't always get it right. It sounds like maybe you can hold on to your "night resolve" if while you quietly count to 10 for yourself, recounting 10 reasons you absolutely love your kids, before you actually open your mouth. This is my first time on your blog, so I don't know you, but you have such a sincerity and regret at night. Maybe give my idea a try. Being slow to speak and slow to anger will give you time to do it the way you want to in your nighttime heart of hearts.ReplyDelete
Love, another Julie
Hi Julie, thanks for stopping by and for your thoughtful advice.ReplyDelete
Hi Julie. This is the first time I've visited your blog. I can totally empathise with you. I have 6 children who don't get on more than they do at the moment and at times it can be very hard. I had one of those mornings this mornings. P.E kits needed at the last moment, a 5 year old struggling with spelling homework, a 14 year old reluctant to go to school, a 12 year old I barely said a word to, noisy little folk who all needed a bit of me. Day to day at the moment I long for a bit of peace and like you I know the day will come when I will have it and I will miss these moments like crazy. I can feel my heart swell and my eyes fill as I think of it. It is just a hard, wonderful job and although I don't know you, your words really rang with me and I just wanted to say that we all have days, weeks, months when we feel overwhelmed but our children love us anyway. Like one of the previous posters said, you sound like a great mum and all great mums have off days. Hug to you, Sarah, far away in the uk xReplyDelete
Hi mumofsix. Mum of Six! You deserve an accolade right there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I can picture your morning too, even with one third less children!Delete
Living an examined life can make things feel harder but, in the long run, I think there is great benefit in it. It is a process which forces us to face our faults and to seek new paths when the opportunity arises. xxReplyDelete
Ain't that the truth! Sticking to those new paths I'm not always so good at.....Delete