My crafty kids have really gone to town this Mother’s Day. Sissyboo made me no less than 3 cards and a fashion book (no, I’m not sure what that is either, but it’s very cute). Even Boo got in on the action by making a special card and gift at both of his nurseries. In a few days these assorted wares will go in my memory box to be looked back on on Mother’s Days in the future. Who knows what our lives will be like then? How things will have changed by next Mother’s Day or the one after that or even Mother’s Day in 10 years time. Things can change quickly in this parenting game, after all. Oh brother…Can’t they?
Two years ago we spent our last Mother’s Day together as a family of three. I was nervous and excited about the changes that lay a few months down the line when three would become four. But Boo or my body couldn’t hold out or our luck ran out. Or something like that. Whatever the reason, just days later Boo arrived nearly three months too soon. Life would never be the same again. And neither would Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day starts anniversary season for me, you see. It marks the start of many dates that make me remember the glimmers of a life we once looked forward to before Boo’s premature birth, before meningitis and cerebral palsy. A life that will never be.
That day we changed that life for this. A life that I was totally unprepared for. A life that is full of anxiety and frustration. And a little boy, who along with his amazing sister, make me laugh and live more than I could ever have imagined possible.
This anniversary season I am prepared to be taken off guard. I didn’t know what to expect last year. Frankly, the whole thing floored me. I vow this year not to beat myself up if I get sad on days that should be happy (like Boo’s birthday next Wednesday). But I also want to make sure that waves of sadness don’t overwhelm the immense happiness I should feel because we have Boo in our lives. I vow not to forget how lucky I am.
So to remind myself today, here’s a little homemade something for the Boos. A little note to them on Mother’s Day.
When I was a little girl your auntie (who was quite a cheeky little thing – don’t tell her I told you that, will you?) used to ask Nanny and Grandad on every Mother’s and Father’s Day when it was going to be Children’s Day. Grandad’s response was as utterly predictable as your auntie’s question was: ‘Every day is Children’s Day!’, he’d say. He had a point, I guess. But we don’t go rushing to Hallmark or Clinton’s one day a year for our kids. We don’t get to exchange cards with soppy words and rhymes, do we? I don’t think you’d like it much if we did. Not Sissyboo, anyway. At six years old you’re grown up, you keep telling me. And Mums can be so embarrassing, you also keep telling me, but with the reassuring caveat ‘Oh, but not you, Mummy’. (You’ll feel that way about me soon enough, Sissyboo, you know…) But one day, when both of you are really grown up, you might not be so easily embarrassed, so here’s a few thoughts for my beautiful kids on Mother’s Day for you to read some time. When you’re ready.
I never really thought I’d be a Mum. I don’t know why, but I didn’t. And then a friend of mine was killed in an accident and I decided life was too short to put off anything you cared about, too fragile to avoid doing things because they seemed like they might be risky. Risk is life, I realised. So we took one. Twice.
And seven years on, I have two kids who are more beautiful, compassionate, clever and funny than it seems feasible for me (with my rudimentary knowledge of genetics – another Boo legacy) to have.
I love being a parent. I love nurturing two young personalities and minds. I admit, though, that it never occurred to me that this would be a two-way street. That you would both teach me so much.
Sissyboo, from you I have learned about how to accommodate myself to life’s vagaries with sympathy, good humour and kindness. Your adaptability and strength take me back on a daily basis. You are wise beyond your years and your brother is one lucky little boy to have you in his corner.
And Boo? I once got a report from school that said my best quality was tenacity. I had to look the word up when I got home. But I can safely say that I only really understood it when I met you. You are the most determined person I have ever met. Remarkably, you show no anger and very little frustration. Maybe you just don’t realise how hard your life is (I hope not). Maybe you don’t care (I hope so). But how you can respond with such enthusiasm and so many smiles and giggles to daily physio, speech therapy, stretching, being told what to do, being asked to perform like a seal in front of relative strangers is beyond me.
Boos, you both worry me enormously. But you both make me happier than I could ever have imagined. I am no saint, but you two have certainly made me a better person, a more socially aware and responsible person. I have a long way to go. I have so much to learn. I know you’ll help me with that, just like I know you’ll be the last things I think of every night and the first things I think of every morning.
You were worth the risk, kiddos. And you’ve proved that I am one lucky lady.