So many things change once you become a Mum. Your heart swells 3 sizes, your pelvic floor needs its own exercise regime and your kitchen becomes a great place to hide whilst you pretend to cook dinner. But one of the most profound changes for me was my connection with and understanding of my own Mum.
I have obviously always loved her. Always respected her.
Always been deeply assured in her unwavering love of me.
I wrote that line so simply, it slots in so neatly right? But the weight of the truth in that is something else. How many people can say that? Unequivocal, unconditional love like that gives you something special. It's basically a superpower. It makes you believe you can conquer the world in a quiet, unassuming and confident manner. The older I get, the more and more I realise how unusual that superpower is. I've always known she is the most wonderful person on this planet and that my saving grace in this life is that I got her as my Mum. I know it sounds like hyperbole, but if you've met her then you would smile and nod enthusiastically and maybe think I was being restrained. And yet what I knew before I had my own kids, it was the tip of the iceberg.
My Motherhood is not like hers. She didn't end up with the loving partner, or the safe home, or supportive Mother of her own to confide in. She didn't have many of the things I will never take for granted, but easily could do.
But I am essentially walking the same path she did, just with a different universe around me. I can imagine a little of what it was like for her with two small kids, because I'm doing it. Whether my day is brimming with joy or closer to walking through treacle, I think of her. She responds to the videos and mundane stories of my kids I spam via text with the same amount of excitement as if I’d sent her diamonds.
And then there are the times it’s just all too hard and I need my Mum. Now I’ve had kids, I get how hard it is. On those nights with the colic screaming and utter relentlessness of it all, she is the one I call. She is always there, using her words and experience to soothe me the same way she would stroke my hair when I was small. I feel guilt sometimes when I do this, guilt at my own privilege perhaps? At my own damn luck. Because my 'hard' is nothing in comparison to what her journey held. I'm going to be honest and say that in my darkest times, when I imagine her darkest times, it has physically hurt and overwhelmed me. Those early days of motherhood can be long and brutal, and in the wee hours of the morning your mind can take you to places you haven't prepared for. I've said this to her many times. I tell her I'm sorry because I I know this is nothing in comparison to those nights when I must have cried relentlessly and the consequences that held. She won't hear of it of course. She is always ready to comfort me, even now. Especially now. She validates me and tells me what an amazing job I'm doing and will say that yes, it was hard but don't worry! She had me and my sister and that was the purest joy she'd ever known. I sometimes don't know how she made it through. But not only did she make it through, she did it with grace. She did the unimaginable - she became strong without losing her softness.
The overriding memories of my childhood are *her*. Her joy. Her softness. Her love and spirit. They are like a comfort blanket around everything.
Seeing her with my babies just reiterates this all, how she delights in their presence and explores their worlds with them. No-one can talk to S like she can, she opens up his inner world with just the right questions. I hover around them when they sit together, listening intently, mentally taking notes on how to be better. How to be more like her. Her patience runs so deeply she could be Buddha incarnate. In fact, that would explain a lot.
I remember when S was around 3, and we were walking and I was pointing out small bits of life. Look, that tree! That moss! The way that stone looks like a smiley face! I felt for a second like I had become My Mum. And not in that way that freaks you out and and disorientates you for a second, but in the rarer way that gives you comfort in where you came from. Even though I can't remember an exact moment like that with her, I know there were so many that they have become a part of me. They are the fabric of who I am and how I mother. The way she pointed out all the beauty around us, even when life must have felt far from beautiful at times.
So today on Mothers Day, I wanted to shout about her a little bit. To share my love for her here. She is so fucking awesome, and everyone should know that every good thing I am, I owe it to my Mum.
I love you Mum. Thanks for the memories and the love and the gifs. Same same though, yeah?
Ps. Sorry for swearing.