Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

To my sweet little Ellenah,

Did you know that once upon a time, the thought of having a little girl absolutely terrified me? In a time when so much comes down to who we are on the outside… and comparison (the thief of joy) plagues so many. It’s a scary time to be a girl or a woman, let alone to raise one.

It was hard enough when I was younger. People made comments about what I looked like, all of the time. I would return home from school on the daily and try to think of ways that I could make my legs shorter, ways to looks shorter…to blend in with the other girls my age. I would stare at my face in the mirror, for what felt like hours. Sometimes I would stare at it for so long that it would eventually distort my reflection and then I would walk away, happy. It was my way of hiding from myself. I did this because I was not happy with my outside and at the time, to me… that was what mattered the most.

I felt that because my outside didn’t please others, somehow it made who I was on the inside lesser, unimportant, less worthy.

I was wrong!

I was wrong about that and I was wrong to be scared of raising a little girl.

I was wrong about me because regardless of how I felt about myself back then, I always tried to be kinder than I felt. I always tried to treat people how I wanted others to treat me. I always tried to prevent others from feeling how I did. In that time, bit by bit… I learned about the things that actually matter.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

I learned that your heart should be the most attractive thing about you and like any muscle, the more you use it in the right way, the stronger it will become. In life, if you are using your heart to say kind things to people (and of course, to yourself!), if you are using it to treat everyone as the equal, important humans that they are, to accept people for everything that they are, to love and to forgive, even when that feels hard… Your beautiful heart beams from within and becomes everything that you need, to be ‘beautiful’ on the outside.

And this is what I try and show you, every day.

Being beautiful, being perfect…These are not aspirations. Perfection isn’t real and beauty is skin deep. These goals are a waste of time, energy and nothing good can come from trying to be them.

If you were to ask me, when I feel most beautiful, my answer would be this…

It’s early in the morning, as the sun beams through the bedroom window. I hear the door squeak as it opens and you appear. Your big, blue eyes are heavy and your soft, tiny hand is crunched in to a ball, trying to rub the sleepiness away. Your dainty little footsteps pad along the floor and then from the side of my bed, you roll over me. You snuggle beneath the duvet and rest your head in my arms. And, your eyes meet mine in this secret moment between a mother and her daughter, before the world wakes up… I feel beautiful. I feel beautiful because as you cup your hand on my cheek and stroke my fresh but slightly ageing face, the look in your eyes reminds me that I am loved by you, no matter what. Despite the fine lines that appear when I smile and laugh, despite my messy hair, despite any of the things that mean that I am not perfect. You don’t care about those things… You see me and they don’t matter to you.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

I feel beautiful because the ability to love from within, gave me your dad, gave me your brother and it gave me you.

I so desperately hope that you are the kind of girl who isn’t defined by what make-up you put on, how shiny your hair is, how much you weigh…who you appear to be.

I hope that in the future, any body shaming, mean words, comments designed to make you feel bad or doubt yourself, do not land. I hope they fall, like water off of a ducks back.

I so desperately hope that you have the courage to stand up and be you, unapologetically. I so desperately hope that you stand up and fiercely protect your right to love yourself.

I hope you don’t spend your time trying to adjust yourself to fit in, change yourself to please the world. Be brave, have confidence in exactly who you are and you may just end up changing the world.

Forget fad diets, forget what the media portrays, forget the filters that make you look flawless. That is not real life.

Be kind to yourself…eat the foods that will look after you. Don’t punish yourself though… eat the cake.

Don’t hate your body sweetheart. You are so blessed to have it. Run as fast as you can, dance in the rain, skip when you are feeling happy, climb trees, hike through forests , breathe deeply and feel gratitude for each and every day that you get to have in this world.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

Of course, if it takes you a little time to become you, like it did me and you listen too much to those who try to bash you… I will always be here, loving you so hard, until you love yourself.

Because, you are a beautiful person Els. You are a sweet, kind-hearted soul. A diva…Yes! Fierce… Definitely! A force to be reckoned with… Absolutely! An absolute blessing to the world?

Ellenah, this big, wide world is incredibly and undoubtedly blessed to have you in it. Exactly as you are.

I love you!

– Mama x

 

 

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As Noah Turns Seven

Dear Noah,

Tomorrow you are turning seven!

Tonight I am sitting here having just written in your birthday card and I am surrounded by banners and balloons that say ‘Happy Seventh Birthday’ and it doesn’t feel like they belong in our home.

I can’t look at the number and see you being this age. I feel like some time has been rather wickedly stolen from me and I will never see it again.

About Me, The Sweetest Life

But it’s all true. You will be seven. In just a few hours…and I am trying to catch up quickly.

I need to catch up so that tomorrow morning, when you bundle in to bed with me and whisper that it is your birthday, I don’t fall apart.

I feel like falling apart right now. My lips keep quivering quite hard, my eyes are full of tears…my face is a little contorted…because I am trying to push the need to cry to the back of my heart.

But I could Noah! I could sit here in the privacy of my bedroom as you sleep so calmly next door and cry hard in to my hands. These tears that I’m not sure I can keep in if I’m honest, they have been trying to fall a lot of times in the past year.

First Love

This year has been a hard one to be your mother. Before that makes you sad…It has been hard in the best way that I could ever imagine.

You have grown so much. Yes you still have shorter legs and a longer body like daddy…but really I mean, you have grown up so much. And, at a speed that makes everything that holds me together, feel a little unsteady.

While you have powered on with your Beaver Sleepover, SATs and many other wonderful things, I have questioned and doubted myself. I’ve realised how far we have come and i’ve looked back at what we’ve had…and all I ever hope is that I am a good mama to you. I hope that you feel as proud of me as I do you.

This year I have internally battled with being a working mum. I know that over the years I have missed little things, not heard everything that you have said, I have had to ask you to ‘wait’ and I’ve begged you for your patience. It has broken me a little this year that I have had to do those things when time is passing us by so quickly. I feel guilty that I’ve wasted precious time working so hard, working late in to the night and using energy that could have been better spent, being in this moment with you. I’ve realised how fast time goes and how easy it is to miss the little things that matter so much. I’ve questioned what the point is. I’ve questioned myself constantly, always asking if I am doing the right thing.

-x-

This journey leaves me dizzy right now my boy!

Noah's 6th Birthday Eve

Do you know what steadies me though and helps me to gain focus?

It’s you!

Noah's 5th Birthday Eve

Because even when our journey as mother and son shakes me and scares me… you are absolutely, every single reason for me to smile and love bigger and harder. No doubt or worry will ever be bigger than all of the good that comes from you and out into the world.

Sats And Snails

Like today, after you shared your birthday sweeties out to your school friends at the end of the day, you went back in to class to give the last ones to your teachers.

Like your opinion on The EU Referendum. You said you wanted to remain because the more people, the more friends, the merrier. You couldn’t understand the choice to be alone.

Like when you hug me for no reason and you say that I am your favourite person in the whole world.

Like how you read my copy of Matilda by Roald Dahl, that I got for my eleventh birthday and you hold it dear to you.

Like when you make a plan every few months to donate everything that you have to poor countries and to people who have very little to nothing. You understand that material things do not define us nor do they matter.

Like when you say nothing at all and I look at you with such pride. I am truly grateful for you and for who you are. You were the first person to make me a mother and with that you have given me the strength and courage to realise all that I can be, want to be and all that I am. You never make me feel lesser, even when I feel like I could be more. You are kind, brave and charming. You are everything that I could have ever hoped for and you will never know what your smile does to my soul.

You are exactly the reason that I believe in dreams coming true. Because you did.

SATS And Snails

I hope your seventh birthday is as perfect as you are.

I love you more and most,

Mummy x x 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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Dear Ellenah,

I’m not starting this letter to you at all well. You my darling are turning four tomorrow and before I have even managed the start of this letter, I already have a tear on my cheek. I can’t believe how quickly this day has come around. You have been waiting for this day… one that in your eyes, will make you ‘big, big, big!’

I know it is selfish but, I don’t want you to be ‘big, big, big!’… I have truly cherished you this size, the size you are right now… with your bright, blonde hair and blue eyes. You look like an angel and despite the fact that can have an extremely quick temper, sharp wit and stong mind… You really are truly sweet. So fresh and so pure. I love you when you’re this big and I know that people say, ‘the older your children get, the more you fall in love with them!’… that just can’t be possible. My heart will practically pop if I try and squeeze any more love for you in.

If I could pause this moment, this ‘you’ for a tiny while longer, I really would. Just to get more hugs, kisses, songs and love from you…’when you were three’.

Ellenah from Maria Noell

We have been through so much together this year and we have become closer and closer. I have watched you change so much in front of my eyes and that is such a beautiful transition to be a part of. Last year was a big deal because you were reaching milestones…and some were questioned. We were unsure if you were colour blind and your speech wasn’t where some people thought it should be. For these reasons, you were frustrated often and it made you sad sometimes.  This year, you have really come in to your own. You live life in plenty of colour, ones that you certainly recognise and now, you talk well. Some would say maybe too much and too often, haha. Not me though, I love to listen to you tell me little stories, involve me in your games and sing to me. When you sing to me, that is just the best.

I have been so blessed to have the pleasure of seeing all of the wonderful things you can and do, do every single day. You make me so very proud of you. A few days ago, I watched you copy the words on your christmas list with such care and attention to detail and it blew my mind. The simple things that you do every day…they really are such big things to me. Things I won’t forget.

I can hear Daddy getting you ready for bed right now. He has just said, ‘Ellenah, when you wake up in the morning, you are going to be four years old!’… It’s a tough one to hear. You are growing further away from being my baby girl and in to a little girl who knows right from wrong and you are one step closer to realising just how incredible you are. I have just had my last cuddle with you as my three year old daughter and it was like a stab to the heart. I cradled you in my arms and you reached your hand up to stroke my cheek…just like when you were a tiny baby in my arms. We looked at each other and I started to cry one more time. I don’t for one second think that you understood why but you stuck out your tiny, soft little finger and wiped my tears away anyway… and you smiled at me. And, because I’m an emotional mess right now… all I can bring myself to think in my heart and out loud is this….

‘I just love you so much Ellenah! From that first moment I set eyes on you, I have loved you and there has not been a day that goes past that my love for you has faltered in any way. You are my daughter and as each year goes by, I understand fully the impact that has on me. I have a best girl for life. I have a girl to protect and raise so that she will become a good woman someday. And, as much as that is a strange thought…because I can’t quite handle the fact that you are turning just four tomorrow. We have got some wonderful memories to make together, us girls. I have a daughter that I will one day pick a wedding dress with, talk over adventures with while staring at beautiful photographs that she has taken and I will see her achieve everything that she sets her mind to in life. Because Ellenah, my sweetheart… you are unstoppable!’

And when you are older, I will turn to you and say, ‘Ellenah, you always have been since you were a little girl!’ – I hope this year has taught you that much about yourself as it has taught me about you.

‘I hope you always see life the way that you do, through innocent eyes, hope and joy… and I insist that whenever you struggle to see yourself for whatever reason, you try and see ‘you’ through my eyes…because then you will always find love for yourself, belief in yourself and you will always be happy. And if all else fails, you will always have me, your mama…. and I will love you, believe in you and be happy with who you are inside, enough for the both of us’

I hope tomorrow is everything that you have been waiting for sweetpea. I hope your fourth birthday is as perfect as you are.

I love you so much, more than words could possibly describe,

from

Your Mama

xxx

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