Our Happy Normal

Last night at the dinner table, because school life has been stressful for Noah and emotions have been running high over how quickly I am running out of time with Ellenah, I tried to make everything feel a little bit lighter by announcing a game of ‘Simon Says’ to break the tension.

None of us felt too much like talking but I couldn’t endure the silence that was lingering over us, exposing our thoughts. The pending SATs questions that Noah isn’t sure he can answer, the fear that my son will feel inadequate after trying so hard to raise him knowing his worth and the fear of saying or doing something wrong at a vulnerable time. I’m not one for walking on eggshells… I’m more likely to crunch through them shouting ‘F*ck!’…I’m certainly not good with silence.

So we played as we ate…and it was really funny. We laughed, got things wrong and Ellenah pulled moody, sore loser faces when she got caught out and everything started to feel ‘normal’.

I realised how much I have desperately needed our normal. Our happy normal.

And, the songs that I thought were ‘cool’ as a young one played out from Spotify and we sang along and wriggled in our seats to the beat. And we talked about ‘everything else’ and we talked about the childrens ‘make believe’ and we all started to come back to the family unit that I am so proud of. Like we had come home.

Our Happy NormalWe finally finished eating and ‘Wannabe’ by The Spice Girls started to play. So I did what any self respecting Mother who grew up in the nineties would do and I pretended to be a member of the band, singing every lyric (even the rap) and making up some really epic dance moves. Noah laughed so hard, I thought he might just burst and Ellenah giggled so much that she made snorty noises (which made her laugh even more!)… They thought that I was so funny, a little weird…but funny all the same.

It felt so wonderful to be able to cheer them up and to watch them feel so free.

Isn’t it funny? When you have children and you understand unconditional love in a way that you never imagined possible…the things that you would do to make them happy, feel better and feel good.

Our Happy Normal

Last night, I knowingly flung myself into the centre of their chaos just so it started to make sense to them again. So that we could all come back together. Because that is how we work best. Together is how we are happiest.

Last night, Noah and Ellenah went to bed happy, worry-free and with achy tummies from laughing.

Our Happy Normal

And when they slept, I sneaked back in to their bedrooms to watch them dream, so peacefully. It helped my heart feel better. It reminded me to have the confidence in myself to make sure they know that ‘everything is going to be okay and they are so very loved.

Our Happy Normal

With Love,

Ria x

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SATS And Snails

Dear Noah (My Beautiful Boy),

The sun has been shining lately and there have been blossoms on the trees. The world has started to look so beautiful after a long winter. This morning after a splash of rain, a cool release from the heat over the weekend, Ellenah and I walked back from the school run without you. We walked quite slowly. Ellenah because she is small and wanted to look at the snails which were on the move. Me because like every week day morning, I miss you. I especially missed you today. I missed you because while Ellenah crouched down low, taking all of the time in the world to look at the snail which I held in the palm of my hand for her, it hurt my heart that you were not there. You would have loved that snail. You would have made up a story about it. You would have wanted to keep it. You would have said it was cute. You would have been so intrigued by where it lives, its family…its life so far and where it is going.

And I thought to myself about this moment.

This moment which wasn’t dictated by a clock, elsewhere’s to be… we had time as we crouched down in the rain with the world passing us by.

Moments like that are few and far between with you right now. Our moments are scheduled, organised and not quite so raw.

I have to steal those moments with you. Like at the weekend, on the bridge in our garden. The sun beat down on us and you sat on my knee like you did when you were much smaller. And my heart felt warm. And you will never know how much those few minutes of perfection meant to me.

SATS And Snails

Sometimes I hate myself when I ask you for ‘two minutes’ until I can read to you or for you to ‘wait until after dinner’ when you ask to build lego with me. I know that you want those moments with me too and I know that you hate waiting for them as much as I do. I hope you know that I am trying my best to be everything that you could ever want or need from a mother. I hope you know that when I ask you to ‘please wait’… that doesn’t mean that my love for you is paused.

Noah, isn’t everything so busy all of the time? Do you remember when we walked into the hills of the woods that time and as we stood on that bank and looked out upon tree tops, wasn’t it lovely? Do you remember what we did? When I said ‘Let’s think of all of the busy in our heads, all of the things we need to do, all of the things that worry us, bother us… let’s put it all in a ball in our stomach’s and shout our loudest until it’s gone!!!’ And we did. Do you remember how much we laughed, even though our eyes had tears in… It made us feel much better didn’t it?! Shall we do that again this weekend? Will you come with me?

Noah, I know that you feel nervous right now. Next week you have your very first SATS at school. Each day is taking a little chunk out of you and a little piece of your spirit. I can feel it! I’ve never seen you sweat anything before. I’ve never seen you try and rise to pressure. You have never needed to. You have always been so confident in the fact that you are good enough… because you most definitely are! Sometimes when I catch a glimpse of you, deep in thought… I can almost see you treading water, trying to keep going and all with a smile on your face. I can see you trying to figure out what you are feeling and why you feel strange about a little test. A test that doesn’t say anything about you and one that certainly doesn’t define you.

Noah, you know how special you are, right? You know that you are such a wonderful little boy? Do you know how you make people feel when you smile at them? Do you know how much that matters?

Noah, Do you know that I don’t care what a piece of paper with some numbers on tries to tell me about you?

I don’t care because you make the world better. You make it better with your beautiful eyes and the way that you see the world around you. You make it better with your laugh and ability to make others around you laugh and feel joy. You make it better because you see the good in everyone and you say such heartfelt things that make people feel good about themselves.

You are love, courage, enthusiasm, confidence and good.

You are happiness.

And you are small. And I am your Mother. And in this life, you will know everything that you are meant to and need to.

You will know that the sun will rise and the sun will set and everything in between is all that you make it. And, it is beautiful.

And you will know that your best is always good enough.

And you will know that ‘I Love You’, no matter what!

-Mama x

SATS And Snails

 

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First Love Dear Noah,

A couple of afternoons ago, on a particularly hot day, you sat on the sofa, clammy and done with it all. In a bid to wind the day down, we sat just across from each other and started to talk. The conversation took a turn and you found yourself talking about the girl in your school, the girl that your six and a half year old self is ‘in love with’. I watched as your eyes lit up when you spoke about her, I can tell that you think she is beautiful and so funny. You have told me that to you, she is perfect.

And I smiled… at the wrong time.

To me, I captured a glimpse of the boyfriend, husband and man that I think that you will some day become. Sensitive, loving and warm. I drifted off, just for a few seconds…almost celebrating how wonderful and ever so sweet you are.

First Love

You caught me!

To you, my smile and dopey eyes made you feel silly. You probably thought that I wasn’t listening. Like your feelings about your unrequited love didn’t matter, like they matter to you.

And then, you didn’t want to talk about ‘her’ any more… and you started to cry.

I scooped you up in my arms, a little ball of sobs, sweat and emotion. We stayed like that for a while and then little by little, you started to unravel. You buried your face into my neck, put your arms around me and clasped hold of me tightly.

Overwhelmed and needing air, eventually you looked up at me and I kissed your forehead and asked you what was wrong.

You told me how life feels for you when she is around. One minute you are racing your friends, playing football or playing make believe but as soon as you see her, you get nerves in your stomach and words don’t come out of your mouth. You tell me that you try not to stare but she is lovely. AND, the other boys in your class just want to play football or The Army. It makes you feel strange.

Noah, I don’t like to think that you have your first crush/love at the age of six and a half years old. I want you to be little first, a child.

I’m not ready for a girl who isn’t me, to have such a big part of your heart.. or to potentially hurt it. The thought of that breaks mine a little. My job is to protect you, your feelings… and especially your beautiful heart!

BUT…

What you feel is important and you are not silly. I would hate to think that I ever made you feel that way. The truth is, this is all new to me. I thought I had more time… but we’ll figure it all out together. You can talk to me, I will listen…I will be here for you.

But first…

Please understand that occasionally, I may look like I’m ready to burst with pride. Please understand that this is because I am actually about to.

Please understand that I am glad that I am raising you to treat girls with respect, whether that is the girls in your school, your Aunties, Nan or Me… and to see you be so gentle, sweet and kind-hearted… it will do things to my heart as your mother. It gives me the nod that I’ve put you on the right path somewhere along our journey.

Please know that I pray that in many years to come, when the time is right, you will love someone who truly deserves you.

Please understand that I will worry about this. I will worry about you.

Please know that I am so glad that you have been around true love, pure and good. Please understand how much I hope you can recognise this for yourself in the future because it will matter to who, how and why you love…and how you love yourself.

I will worry about this too.

Please understand that right now, I wish that you would rather be playing with Lego or digging for hidden treasure in the garden and this is difficult for me to comprehend.

Please understand that I hope that you will remain this chivalrous throughout life… even though, you started young so some days it may feel like effort.

Please know that one day, when you are an adult or just big enough to open doors for a lady, you must… even though not all of them will want or expect you to. I expect this from you though, which is why I want you to take your time to get there. You must not feel lesser for feeling as you do right now, but don’t rush to grow up where you can help it.

Please know that as much as I love you, I will not love every part of you growing up. To me, it will feel like you are growing away. Some days I will think that this part of your life is the cutest, and I will hang off of these beautiful little things that you say and other days, it will feel hard at the speed you are going and I will want to hit pause.

First Love

Noah, please know that I love you, everything about you. I love your dirty, mischievous laugh and that you push your boundaries, it complements the sensitive, idealist and romantic side to your personality just perfectly. And as much as it breaks me sometimes to see you cry (especially over a girl at six and a half years old…or whatever age that happens), it heals me when I remind myself that you can ‘feel’ and that makes it all okay. ‘Okay’ because over the years, those feelings and everything that you go through, will help you to better understand yourself.

So one day, in many years to come when I can comprehend ‘letting you go’ and you have this lovely family of your own (the one that you have imagined and like to talk about, the one that is a lot like ours- If that is what you still want for yourself of course!)… I know that they will have a grown, confident man, who has feelings and understands himself and he will love them with everything that he is…

And when you get there, I will show you this letter and no doubt, you will smile… And I will cry!

All Of My Love Sweetpea,
Mummy xxx

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Katie Fay's Bridal Shower

This afternoon, Ellenah and I walked to pre-school together. The sun was warm, radiant and beautiful as it shone over the gorgeous pink blossoms which are standing strong in the transition between seasons. We held hands and talked about life through her eyes. Her doll with the purple hair who she calls ‘Love Heart’ was poorly today and she had spent the morning nursing her better and sharing her strawberries with her. I was asked to check on her as soon as I returned home. I was asked to hug her and make sure that she wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Of course, I agreed! What mother wouldn’t play along with such a pretty little game and one that brings out such a sweet side to her littlest child? She hasn’t always played like this. In fact, her imagination and ability to dive in to role play or the make believe, well…this is new territory.

As we walked, I couldn’t help but compare Ellenah to the blossoms that we shimmied past.

In my bag were the documents that would confirm her place at school in September. In my bag were the documents that identified me as her mother and Ellenah as my child… because her having the same hair as I once did, the same love to dance, the same stubbornness or the same smile wasn’t enough proof. In my bag was my signature which officially decided her next steps, next chapter… her path. And once I had handed her over to her lovely key workers to join in with ‘Rising Fives’ (school preparation)… I would walk the few steps to her future school reception and enrol her into the system, in to her school career.

It was a quick process, we made small talk about over subscriptions and what I will do without any children to run around after throughout the school day… and I could feel a surge of emotion burn my chest. I could feel how badly I wanted to cry. I could feel how badly I didn’t want to think about it or face my reality. I could feel how badly I wanted to change my mind and be selfish. I could feel how badly I craved a little more time.

Anyway, back to the blossom and my little girl. Just like the beautiful flowers that pop up when we least expect them, I hoped that Ellenah would do the same. She has always been beautiful but for a long while I had worried about her readiness to face school with the other children her age. Her interest in anything learning wasn’t where the parenting books thought it ‘should be’ I suppose. I feared that she would be behind and she would struggle. Her speech was delayed…which was no problem to me, I knew that (just like her brother) she would get it when she was ready. And suddenly, out of nowhere she did. Much like the blossom, Ellenah popped up out of nowhere and astounded us all with just how much she knew, how much she was keeping in, holding back and just how ready she is.

And quite sadly, like the pink blanket of surprise around us right now, this time will pass and I will have to send her to school in September… And It will be exactly what she is ready for. She will have her hair in two braids on her first day, pleats in her skirt, sensible shoes, a book bag and her lunch box. She will smile nervously while her big, blue eyes will be wide with excitement…and she will wave me goodbye at her classroom door. I will cry once she has gone. I know this because I could cry right now. I will feel like a little more of me is missing. And…my little heart will ache for a while.

And…over the years I will remember this day, the blossom and my little girl. As she grows and continues to surprise me with all that she does, all that she is and all that she grows to be.

Blossom And My Little Girl

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Noah lost his third tooth on Sunday evening. It was his front tooth at the top. The gap is huge. He looks kinda funny, a bit odd…a little goofy. Although, incredibly cute.

It was a process, it had been wiggly for a while and I watched him every day, trying to get that sucker out. It didn’t want to budge…but he got there in the end.

It is meant to be simple. It happens to every child, right? It is to be expected. It’s almost business for a young lad. A transaction. Every time a tooth comes out, it goes under the pillow and by the time he wakes up in the morning, a shiny penny is in its place. It’s a handshake. It’s a deal. Final. Normal.

So, why do I take it so badly?

Why do I get a stinging in my tear ducts each time I see that big, gappy grin edging towards me with his little milk tooth tucked in to his clammy hand? Why does my lip start to quiver and my stomach feel a little sick with the thought of it? Why do I take any little sign of him growing up so badly?

Why does it hurt my heart?

I wish that sometimes I could pretend to be a bit harder, with no regard for the way of things. The truth of things. That Noah is quickly growing up and it makes me dizzy.

Why do I sneak in to his room before I go to sleep each night, just to watch him breathing and dreaming. Why does that time matter to me so much when he doesn’t even know I am there? Why do I feel the need to steal his face for a few more minutes in the day, during his stillness, his healing, his growing.

Am I trying to delay the inevitable? Trying to control it perhaps?

I know deep down that his growing up isn’t on my terms, not really!

He surprises me everyday, with his knowledge, his acceptance of the world… the way he handles scissors in arts and crafts.

I’ve taught him, sure? I raise him, definitely! But, he leads the way… he would be bored, unchallenged and uninspired if he waited for me to pick up the pace, to catch up with him. We both know, I wouldn’t be able to do it and I would happily wrap him in cotton wool if he would let me.

I would do just about anything to be able to turn back time some days, so that we could both have our own way.

It’s a shame I can’t.

Toothfairy

Instead, I have to shove a smile on my face and put on my best wings.

Because ‘The Toothfairy’, she loves this shit.

With Love, Ria x

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