Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr
Written at 34 weeks pregnant… when I didn’t feel like I was doing very well

 

Dear Noah,

There are so many things that I want to say to you in this moment. I want to tell you how proud of you, how grateful, how in awe of you I am. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of you right now though, is the words ‘I’m so sorry!’. I feel this deep, aching need in my heart to hold on to you so tightly and to apologise over and over again until I’m certain that you have heard me.

I’ve never wanted you to have to accept this version of your mama, to understand her, to be so fiercely loyal to her. I’m not proud to be her and I don’t really know how you can look at me like you do. Like I’m the best thing since sliced bread.

But, you do!

Everyday, you wipe the slate clean. You show up. You smile at me. You encourage me. You love me. You love me even harder lately, I can feel it. It’s almost as if you are loving me harder because you know that I am struggling to love myself.

I am sorry Son! Ever since I became a mother… Your mother, I have wanted you to see me as this ‘perfect’ person, this wonderful woman who can do no wrong. I’ve wanted you to put me on a pedestal. I’ve wanted you to hold me in high regard and to hold me in your heart as someone who will never falter.

And now I’m scared that even though you tell me every day without fail, that I am the best mum in the world… You may not really think so anymore. Now that it has become so obvious that I am just a human being. Just a person. Now that I have faltered. Now that I have shown you that I am so very far from being perfect.

Every day you somehow manage to tell me that I am your beautiful mama. Everyday you kiss my belly, your little brother and you talk to him… so excited for him to be here with us all. You don’t show envy towards him. You don’t show resentment, for the times I have been forced to put him first. As someone who loves you with everything I am… It has hurt me to have to do that. To make a choice to lay down and rest so I don’t fall down…rather than to play with you in the garden. You have taken 34 weeks (so far) of my choices and needs in your stride, constantly reminding me that I am pregnant and I need to relax. You are an old soul and you have such kindness in your heart. So much love and empathy. You have shown how truly selfless you can be and I don’t think words could ever express what that means to me.

Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr

I’m sorry that you have had to see me struggle, to walk and to cope with sickness. I’m sorry that I’ve had to ask you to wait, for things and for me. I’m sorry that I have become someone who has made you learn about how patient you can be and are. I just want you to be a child. I just want you to have fun. I don’t want you to learn all of your lessons now. You have time.

I have found myself saying to you a lot lately, that there isn’t long left, that in a few weeks your baby brother will be here. I have implied that as if by magic, you will have me back, as I was. As you remember. As I remember. And it doesn’t phase you. You look at me like I’m mad, like nothing has changed…and then you carry on talking about life after, with your new baby brother.

Can it be that you haven’t noticed how badly I’m doing? Can it be that I’m carrying the heavy burden of this mum guilt on my shoulders, every second of every day and you are actually okay?

Are you happy Noah? I desperately hope that you are.

You are going to be such an amazing brother to your baby brother. Even though you bicker and rough and tumble with her, I’ve seen how great you already are to Ellenah. You are perfect proof of how a heart can grow and how much love one can hold.

Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr

We are all so blessed to have you in our lives. So lucky to have you brightening every day with your beautiful spirit and energy. Apart from saying a world of sorry’s… I also want to say the biggest thank you.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for smiling every day. Thank you for trying your hardest at school. Thank you for being strong. Thank you for being resilient. Thank you for your acceptance. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for loving me back, unconditionally. Thank you for the spring in your step. Thank you for the cuddles. Thank you for the bump love. Thank you for being so considerate. Thank you for being mine.

Noah and pregnancy with baby number thr

Thank you for being a daily reminder that even when things feel tough and I don’t feel like I have very much confidence left within myself at all… I did something so right and so perfect. I raised one incredible little boy. I love watching you shine bright and be exactly everything that makes up who you are.

Thank you for being a daily reminder that there is good in every day… simply because you are in it.

I love you,

Mama x

 

 

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Finding Autumn At The Park

Saturday was the official start of the half term break and it was such a gorgeous day. The sun was so warm, so beautiful and it was beating through my bedroom window from the moment that we opened our eyes.

We spent the morning pottering around the house, being a little lazy and giving in the the freedom of the holiday. The freedom of the weekend. I managed to drink a hot peppermint tea while I talked to my little favourites. For ages.

It always surprises me in the most pleasant way how they see life, how when I give them a little time they will talk to me for hours, how they always want me to be included in everything that they want to do, play and make and how openly they love the family that they were born in to. How happy they are.

We ate lunch together, at the table where we talked some more, laughed and talked about our plan for the afternoon.

Finding Autumn At The Park

My sister and her beautiful little family were heading to us in the early afternoon to take the children out on their scooters and bikes. We were going to hit the park on such a beautiful day. It was too much of a perfect autumnal day to waste it.

Finding Autumn At The Park

There was so much excitement about our mini adventure. Noah watched the clock and Ellenah asked me constantly if it was time to leave.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finally we were on our way and the kids zoomed off in front.

Finding Autumn At The Park

They enjoyed the park. They played on the outside gym, the zip wire and the assault course. We collected leaves and jumped around in them. It was just so nice to see the children wearing rosy cheeks, big smiles and laughs.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Seeing them all happy makes me happy.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Making memories with them, even the simple ones at the park, makes me feel lighter, content and like I am a part of something so incredible.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Being with them shows me life through their eyes. The beauty of it.

I’m so excited about the rest of half term and all of the joy, love and memories that will come with it. What are y’all planning on doing with your little loves?

With Love,

Ria x

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Harvest Festival 2016

The Harvest Festival is one of my favourite school events of the academic year. I love the build up, of listening to the children singing and practising their songs over and over. I love it when they ask to teach them to me, to practice their lines, their part in such a beautiful assembly. An assembly with such an important message, about giving and thinking of others.

The Harvest Festival takes me back to my childhood. It takes me back to the church school that I attended for my primary education. I can remember how grand and special our church felt, how small it made me feel as I sat their with my bright, blonde hair, having donated a couple of tins of soup, some baked beans and some rice. I was right about the church, years later, Matt and I were married there.

I remember singing the lovely songs about crops, God, giving to others and looking after each other. I remember the warmth in my heart. I remember feeling kind, happy to have helped and like it just made sense to pull together, so that everyone feels like they are cared about.

I remember passing the baton of my youth to Noah a few years ago. He started school and it all became his turn. The Harvest Festival was the first event I went to after I lost my first child to education. I can recall the way that my eyes welled up when I saw him walk in with his class. My little boy who smiled his biggest one for me. His little legs shuffled along to make enough room for everyone and I wanted to scoop him up in my arms and hold on to him in disbelief that this would be his life now. His face locked on to me in the crowd and he sang so beautifully, with such care.

I remember saying to him once (about Harvest, about life) that if we had nothing in the world to offer someone in need, absolutely nothing of value… we always had kindness. I hope that he remembers that still. I hope that he is learning something from these songs. Like I did. I hope that they both do…

Of course, this year I lost my second child to education. It was Ellenah’s first Harvest Festival. Honestly, If I ever manage to forget her singing ‘You Can Pick A little Bean, It’s Harvest Time You Know…’ I will be very surprised!

Again, I saw her walk in with her class and shuffle along to make enough room on the stage. She searched for my face in the crowd, found me and locked her eyes and pretty, little smile on to me. It wouldn’t have been hard, I was standing up, in the second to back row, waving vigorously until we found each other.

I felt the familiar sting of tears and my cheeks were mildly twitching to prevent me from full on sobbing on the mama next to me’s shoulder because my daughter is just so lovely.

And then she started to sing and sign the cutest actions with her arms. She looked so happy, so pleased to sing in front of everyone. I think my heart grew a little more, if that’s even possible.

Unfortunately, I only managed to see one performance from her and never did manage to see her singing the song about picking a little bean. The different classes were rotated on and off the stage and unfortunately, my short little beauty was behind a bunch of older, taller kids. The most I could see was the top of her head. It was quite sad. It made me feel flat all day, a tiny bit upset, selfishly.

Harvest Festival was tiered between classes and stages so Noah’s group was small. It was full of song and I had managed to move into a seat closer, to see him sing at the front. It was wonderful. His class managed to rewrite and perform ‘I Will Survive’ relevant to Harvest and it was really good, It completely picked me up.  And just because he is a little bigger and things like this have become more normal, it doesn’t mean that I don’t get the prickle of emotion behind my eyes anymore. I absolutely do. I think that I always will!

Today’s Harvest Festival might not have been completely perfect but you know, the whole reason that it is so special, so necessary, is because life isn’t. Sometimes the world and the people in it need a little help from their friends and today, my favourite people in the world helped make a little difference.

This makes me happy!

With Love,

Ria x

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All schools have that smell, don’t they? They all have a school hall, that you know the children think is huge. The school hall that when the children get older, will feel so small to them. They will wonder how they found the space for p.e. lessons, in their little gym shorts and plimsolls. They will wonder how the tables fit in. The tables where they ate lunch with their friends. Made memories. Grew too quickly.

Last night, Matt and I sat in the school hall of our children’s primary school for parents evening. As we waited, we looked through our two beautiful children’s work and I looked around, imagining them here. Feeling thankful for the place that takes good care of them, brings out the best in them and knows them when I am not around.

I started to feel a little nervous, as I always do. I played out the things that the teachers might say in my mind. Usually I’m not one to think the worst, especially about my little humans. Parents evening has always made me feel a little unsteady though. The unknowing, the hope that I’m doing enough, the smidgen of self-doubt that creeps in when I’m faced with the person that gets to spend so much time with my child all day… It all gives me sweaty palms and wobbly legs. And it makes me smile even more, so that the teacher doesn’t sense fear.

Ellenah

Parents Evening, October 2016

Our appointment with Ellenah’s teacher was first, at 6pm. Her teacher is sweet, bubbly and pretty wonderful. Honestly, she is everything that you could ever want from a reception class teacher. She told us that in just a few weeks she has seen Ellenah’s confidence grow so rapidly. She told us how focussed and creative she is and how popular she is in her class. She beamed about how polite our little girl is and how bright… It was just so reassuring to hear.

It’s no secret that when my darling girl started school, I found it difficult. I missed her terribly and still do. So, to hear that she is happy, doing well and fitting in beautifully as well as standing out for all of the things that make her so wonderful… It was just what I needed to hear,  just what I needed to know.

Noah

Parents Evening, October 2016

6.40pm- Time for our appointment with Noah’s teacher. Noah’s teacher who is just as lovely as Ellenah’s, albeit a lot more serious and to the point. I guess that is what comes with the jump to key stage two. She told us that Noah has settled in well into year three and that he is coping well with the higher expectations and workload. She told us that he reads and writes so well and her face was beaming as she spoke. She told us that he is confident in math and is absorbing the class project with such interest and effort. She told us that he is lovely, popular with his peers and a pleasure to teach.

Like most mothers, I am very proud but when it comes to Noah, it feels a little different. He was my first child, my son. He was my main learning curve in motherhood. The boy who I had to ‘wing it’ with. The boy who I hoped I was doing right by. The boy who would be in every single thought of mine. The one who I hoped I wasn’t failing. The one who I worried about because he had the slightly younger mama. The mama who judged herself all of the time. The mama who read parenting books at every opportunity. The mama who tried to be the best but almost always felt like she wasn’t. Wasn’t good enough. I know it isn’t much, it isn’t the be all and end all but to be told that your first child is doing well is a small validation that you are doing okay. You can be proud of you both. You can be happy in the knowledge that you managed to get some things right. And, you are actually the best person to raise him.

I walked out of parents evening feeling content, proud and like ‘The Sweetest Life’ kids are pretty darn awesome. I hugged them both, back at home and told them about all of the lovely things that their teachers have said about them. They smiled and felt pride from within themselves which was lovely, for their self esteem and because when someone notices how hard you are trying and how well you are doing, It’s nice to be told. It’s nice to know that people believe in you, people are in your corner, on your side… and that mama is proud of you.

With Love,

Ria x

 

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The Feral Children

I want to remember you like this. When I’m an old lady and I’m looking up our memories in photograph’s. I want to see how the wind blew your hair in the breeze but you stood firm, strong. I want to see that I tried to dress you nicely but your knees were grass stained and perhaps a little scuffed. I don’t want to see you smiling primly in every photo, I want to see your laugh. I want to see those faces that you make when you are deep in thought, pulling together your next batch of questions. I want to see you find yourself throughout your years. I want to see that you understand what the meaning of ‘human’ is.

Some people will think of the word ‘feral’ in such a bad way, but I can’t.

I grew up on a farm and as my mum worked with many other mums, picking fruit for the day in their rows… I went off to explore, play, climb, build camps and when I felt hungry, I ate wild fruit from the bush or tree. My siblings and I never really looked, well, clean. Of course, we were. We were scrubbed spotless and our clothes would be washed to try and rid of any strawberry stains on the knees. We just didn’t stay that way for long. Come the next day, we were too busy having fun, finding ourselves and figuring out the world that we knew.

That world wasn’t so scary as it is now. It’s not the same. It can’t be. And all I want is for you both to feel how I felt as I bolted through the trees, bright blonde hair shining in the sunshine, without a care in the world and feeling as free as a bird.

So sometimes I let you. Sometimes we run as fast as our legs will carry us, shout as loud as we can, sing our happiest songs, pick wild fruit and eat it, get down in the mud to see what we can collect, build camps, climb trees…And it’s very rare that you look neat.

It surprises me how much people stare!

The Feral Children

And I know other mums might not like it. I know other mums may stare and tut as we pick and eat blackberries along the roadside on our way home. They judge you when you run fast at the park. They don’t realise that you don’t have problems. You don’t have any disorders or behavioural issues…. You are just energised and happy. And. That. Is. All. Other mums find you too bold when you join in with their children’s games and you have the confidence to introduce yourself and have ideas. You just want to make friends. You just want to play together. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t sensitive, gentle, kind and sweet.

I know they think that you are a little wild; feral…Like they used to think about me. But that’s okay. I’m proud of the person I am at thirty (almost) thirty years old and I’m already proud of who you both are, so we’re doing okay.

This version of the world is so full of worry and sometimes it feels like all I do is teach you how to retreat, keep yourself safe and to ‘be alone’. The world is so busy teaching us how to be afraid of everything and each other…but I don’t want you to be alone. We aren’t meant to be alone. The world is too lovely. I just beg that you both always try and keep your eyes open, to see past the fear…and you will see what I used to.

The Feral Children

Of course I want to keep you safe. You are my most favourite people in the world. You are my world. And, if I try and define how much I love you both from my whole heart and the pit of my stomach…There will be no words. It is likely to come out as a tear, a laugh and a smile like you have never seen before. You both leave me speechless, that is what the overwhelming love that comes with being your mama, does to me.

Remember when I said that I want you to understand the word ‘human? You can only do that if you have the opportunity to feel everything that you are meant to. You are meant to feel freedom. Feel love, disappointment, anxiety, fear…hurt! From scraping your knee to having your heart broken, as much as that will hurt me too… These things will help you grow up with an understanding of your emotions and other people’s. Human. It’s what we all are. Despite where we are from, the colour of our skin, how we grew up…none of us better or more worthy than the next person. The beautiful world that I talk to you about… There is room in it for us all. We can make room.

Noah and Ellenah, The world is incredible…but it’s not perfect. So, you certainly don’t have to be. You don’t have to look flawless. You don’t have to be shy. You don’t have to be aware of how others may see you. You don’t have to care about judgement. You don’t have to be afraid to ask questions. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AFRAID TO BE YOU.

And if that is a little ‘feral’… I’m okay with that. Perfectly okay with it.

Love, Mama x

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