Thursday, August 29, 2013

A very special day...

My baby boy turned six today, and my what a day it was!

It started off with opening a single birthday gift (just to buy us a little more sleep). Then we went ahead with what is becoming my favorite birthday tradition. I told Dylan the story of the day he was born. I do it every year, and each year the kids get a few more details. The favorites this year were how my water broke on the landing and the carpet got all wet and how Dylan pooped while he was still inside my tummy. He thought both of those things were hilarious. Oh, and that we stopped to buy icecream on our way to the hospital.

We were supposed to go to the Doncaster Dome for swimming, then lunch and a movie. Got a nice, early start, too. But our car broke down on the way there. Luckily we hadn't gotten very far, so Lewis came and picked me and the kids up while Martin waited for the AA to arrive. We regrouped at home and took the bus in to Hull (alternator went, in case anyone was dying to know). We got our lunch and watched Smurfs 2 (Dylan's choice). Then it was back to Barton, a scooter ride to the Leisure Centre for swimming lessons, and home again for a small dinner party of Martin's parents, his grandparents, me, the kids, and Amy. Martin took the morning off, but had to go in to work at five.

Chicken noodle soup was devoured, cake was enjoyed, toys were played with, goodbyes were said, kids were tucked up in bed, and here I am--alone, exhausted, and happy.

Becoming a mother has not been an easy journey for me. Getting pregnant was difficult. Pregnancy was stressful. Childbirth was impossible. Surgery was painful and disappointing. Staying home with a newborn was stiflingly boring. Post partum depression was crippling. And yet, as with most things in life, the hard things often turn out to be the best.

I am so proud of my son. He is bright and beautiful, sensitive, kind, perceptive, and so very smart! And though he was born with a lot of those traits, I know that Martin and I can take partial credit for the way he is growing up and turning out. Most of the time, though, I wonder that I was so blessed to be his mother. He has taught me so many lessons. I've learned more about patience and unconditional love from him than I have from any other person or event in my life. And he teaches me every day. Sometimes the lessons he teaches me are hard ones to learn, about my own weaknesses and failings as a person and as a parent. But I love him for those lessons all the same.

I still remember the night I found out I was pregnant. I cried tears of joy. I often think back to those times when I used to lie in bed feeling him roll around inside me, watching the taut skin on my belly ripple and wave like a flag in the breeze. I had so many expectations about motherhood. So many dreams and fantasies. Then Dylan was born, and nothing was like I expected it to be. It was so much harder.

But it was infinitely better...

Friday, August 23, 2013


Something amazing happened yesterday. So amazing that I would have blogged about it last night had I not had company over (Thursday night is when Amy comes over for dinner).

I sent the kids to Micky B's shop to get me some garlic.


For those of you who aren't familiar with my little neighborhood, this probably sounds like a much bigger deal than it is. For those of you who know my neighborhood, you're probably wondering what the big deal is. His shop is just around the corner from our house. It's kind of like mom and dad sending someone over to the Jones's house to borrow a cup of sugar, only with money. So it's really close, and they don't even have to cross any roads to get there.

Why is it a big deal then, you ask? Because it was the FIRST TIME EVER they have gone off our property with no adult supervision.

I wondered if it was a good idea. Dylan is not quite six, and I have no concept of what is "normal" and "acceptable" in these situations. But he's super mature for his age, and I was in the middle of making jam and pasta sauce. So I gave the kids £1.50, told them that I needed garlic, and said they could use the leftover money to buy themselves sweets. Off they toddled, I watched them to the corner, and ten minutes later they came home with three heads of garlic and a bag of penny sweets each. They felt wonderfully independent, and I felt so incredibly liberated.

They are growing up so fast now. I know plenty of people who get sad about that, but it really makes me happy. I love seeing my children becoming more self sufficient. It's amazing to watch them learn and grow, and great when they don't need me as much.

I had a moment of clarity the other day about my parenting skills (or lack thereof). My problem with children is that I don't really like playing with them. And it's not a new phenomenon, either. Ask my mother--even when I was a child I didn't particularly like playing with other children. Nine times out of ten I would prefer to play alone. I still feel that way now, and it makes playing with my own children a bit challenging.

I also had another insight a few nights ago. I am doing so much better psychologically than I was last year. It had been a rough day (summer holidays, you know) and I was desperate to get the kids into bed. But I didn't feel stretched to the breaking point and incredibly fragile. I just felt tired. Like any normal parent would after a hard day. And that is progress.

We've only got two more weeks of the summer holidays, and I am ready for the kids to be back at school. Edith starts full days this year, and that's going to be fantastic. But it's been a great school break this time. Four weeks without feeling like I wanted to give them up for adoption? Practically a miracle in my book. Next test will be to see if I can do this without drugs!