Today is a momentous day. One we have talked about since Squidgelet was born, but alays seemed so far off and mythical. Today is “The First Day of School”.
My Squidgelet is ready. Inquisitive, chatty and full of questions and confidence that I am both in awe of and envious of. Squidge, I look at you and I wish I could be more like you. I know you will do just fine in this new chapter of your life. Mummy walked away as you rushed off today, feeling so proud, if not a little choked up. Those were happy tears. I am so proud of you. Always.
I don’t know that Mummy will do as well. The truths that Mummy wants to tell you and your sister now Squidgelet, they are not truths you need to know at 4 years old. But this blog is designed to stand as Mummy’s truth, so you can understand why things were as they were when you were growing up into the wonderful little lady you are.
At the moment, you are learning about big feelings. You struggle to listen and contain your upset if you do not get the things you want without remembering your manners. Sometimes you shout and want to hit out. The truth is, Squidge, Mummy is struggling with some very big feelings too. And I am so sorry, because I cannot deny that you will have borne the brunt of them. I am not proud of this. In fact, I am ashamed of it, but I must own it.
I think Mummy is only just beginning to process all the awful things we have had to live through in the last 21 months. Everyone tells me how strong I am, how well I have done, but the truth is, my little one, that right now, Mummy is broken. More than I have felt before, and I have felt this before. But this is a good thing, because I know I can pick the pieces up again. I know this, because I have you and your sister to live for. You do not know what a gift you are in all this sadness.
In the last 21 months, Nanny and Daddy have been in hospital. Mummy began to grow your sister in my tummy and for a while, I was alone with you, worried and so, so tired. I remember falling asleep with you in my bed and feeling so comforted because I had you.
Then, the pandemic came and Mummy had to surrender her dream of taking care of herself through pregnancy because there were no choices. It was lonely and painful and everything I did not want it to be, because it was never going to happen again. You were the one who taught me how to be a mum, your wonderfulness showed me that I so wanted your sister to love. She was your gift to me. You are the best big sister in the world and I cannot tell you how proud it makes me to see how much you love her.
She can walk now, young just like you, confident and away on her feet. This is so physically hard for your mummy with her tricky legs. I ache a lot, can never keep up with the mess and dangers and I constantly, constantly feel like a failure. I am insanely tired morning and night. I live off coffee drinks and forget to eat because I get swept up in the mum jobs that seem endless. I can feel myself slipping down into what I used to call “the black box”. My nerves are on edge, I’m snappy and I don’t have time to take care of myself as I was learning to. Sadness is getting in the way again.
Last month, we lost your Granddad, just 6.5 months after Granny also went over the rainbow to Heaven. I was not as close to my mum as Daddy was to Granddad, who adored you and was in our lives everyday. You have taken to the new normal well, and we have met a white butterfly that follows us around that can only be Granddad. But I am so, so heartbroken for you and your sister that a man that loved you so cannot see you today and will not see you grow. You have both been cheated.
I thought I had handled the loss of my mum well because our relationship was more complicated than that. Only now, I feel like I have been kicked by a horse because we have dealt with so much unfairness and loss so soon. It hurts so much that sometimes my chest tears open. These last few weeks, I cry most days, wondering how I will find the energy for the next day, the motivation. It does not feel like there is anyone that will understand because no-one can take the pain away. Sadness is such a heavy thing to carry. It hurts when it sits in my chest. I want to curl up in a ball and let the world be still, just for a little while. But it never is.
Mummy feels hopeless just now. I’m not sure what to do for the best because I’m still waiting for the next blow. Know from me that this is not the best approach, I am just trying to survive. Because nothing has stayed the same for very long. Your sister goes to playgroup now and we have school runs to contend with, a new routine to get to grips with. I know I will miss you and feel lonely without you, but oh, how you deserve your own little place in this world.
I do not feel I have given you enough in all your time at home. But I can tell you I have worked to better myself in your honour. Mummy sought therapy when you were a toddler and I could no longer contend with the sadness that cerebral palsy as a lifelong condition brings me, I am back to feeling that now that your sister is mobile and my attention and my physical capabilities are so split between you. I feel like it is so unfair on you, because inevitably you are the one that must miss out in favour of your sister’s safety. I am so sorry little one. I feel so out of control of many things and it is a familar and hideous feeling from those years ago. I will do my best to fight these intrusive feelings and to right those wrongs as I did before. I will remember that I deserve to.
I will remember that you stil call your shouty, tearful, exhausted mummy the “best mummy ever”. I’m sorry I don’t play so much just now. I’m sorry we are not charging around together enjoying everything the world has to offer. I’m sorry I’m snappy, that I don’t always remember to take a breath.
Know that however hopeless and sad Mummy ever feels, you and your sister are the reason I will keep going, the reason that I will commit to helping myself, even in the hopelessness. I will do it for you, because you are the part of my soul that is on fire with laughter and colour and love and I could not exist without it. You, my babies, are everything and as long as you know this, it can only ever be a good thing to let you know that Mummy is sad. But I will not be forever. Soon, I will wake up smiling again and Wednesdays will be our special day together again and I will feel able to give you the world.
Because it is yours for the taking Squidgelet. Take it by storm. You deserve nothing less.