For Mother’s day I just wanted to say thank you for everything you have taught me over the years. I wanted to let you know that over the years (yes including those teenage years of tears and tantrums) your little words of wisdom have been engraved in my mind and I’ve carried them with me throughout my life. Each stage of life you’ve taught me something new. When I was little “be tidy”, “look after your skin” and “drink plenty of water” were always your motherly mantras. Whilst i’m still not the tidiest, water and skin care are still part of my daily routine, probably because I still hope in vain that one day I will inherit your youthful beauty.
Whilst I didn’t understand it at the time, and sometimes still struggle to live by it, you have always taught me to nurture my talents and never be afraid of being different. Through times of loneliness you would always remind me that “unless they breathe something other than oxygen, they are the same as you, so never let them make you feel inferior”. Whilst this mantra sometimes fell on deaf ears (especially during those challenging school years) I’ve always remembered those relentless words “it’s like swimming, they can never take it away from you”. You may not know this but it’s these words that have often been an anchor of strength when I’ve been drowning in failure.
One of the most important things you’ve taught me and a lesson that has shaped me into the woman and mother I am today, is how to be a woman in a man’s world. I use to laugh when you’d say make sure you have your “run away money”, but I know now it was your way of telling me that falling in love and being a wife doesn’t mean you can’t retain your own independence. You showed me every day how you can have your own career, be a loving mum and have a long happy marriage with your best friend and soul mate. Whilst I know it wasn’t always easy for you, especially being a working mum in a world which judged you for being one; for being in a mixed marriage and raising mixed raced children in a world full of intolerance and ignorance; and being a carer to a brother who’s disability was unfairly placed on your shoulders by family who were not only distant through land and sea but also love and understanding. Through your own struggles you became a symbol of strength to me.
Over the last few years you’ve taught me how to be a mum. There were the basics like changing a nappy and then there was that first bottle you helped make when we first came home with the boys. Both my babies were screaming for food we had no idea how to prepare (I won’t go into the unconceivable lack of support we were given at the hospital as you were there). When I opened the door to you standing there asking if we were okay, you have no idea how much my heart sank with relief to know you had subconsciously heard my cries for help. You helped me overcome my battle with guilt for not being able to breastfeed my twin boys and reassured me daily of my motherly instincts even though I felt like I was failing. Your hugs during times of hopelessness were my saviour through the first 12 months of motherhood and in case I never said it enough, Thank You!
Thank you mum for all you have taught me and all you continue to teach me.
Tight tummy and flawless skin,
No marks from life that lived within.
Nights out and beauty sleep,
No midnight cries for love so deep.
Luxury holidays and shopping sprees,
No priceless first discoveries.
Spotless house and clean car,
No imprints of a shining star.
Romantic plans and timely arrival,
No endless surprises Christmas could rival.
Fine dining and leisurely tea,
No feeding innocence and curiosity.
Hot baths and lazy days,
No witness to life’s youthful phase.
Peace, quiet and time alone,
No saviour from a life outgrown.
Last night I found myself commando crawling across the floor, holding my breath for fear my exhales would wake him. I reached the door and was just about to cross the boundary to freedom when those damn creaky floorboards alerted him to my escape and the torture began once again. I’m sure he has a special power that allows him to sense my presence. He can be in the deepest sleep and he will wake at the very moment I take my final step out of his room. If I’m lucky enough to actually make it into bed, he times it perfectly to wake just as I am about to fall asleep, or worse I’ve fell asleep and wake thinking its been hours but in fact its only been minutes!!! Everyone says it gets easier, first it was wait until he’s 12 weeks, then 12 weeks became 16 weeks, then it was wait until he starts weaning, then it was wait until he’s one. Well he’s nearly two and he still refuses to sleep…or should I say refuses to let me sleep! I’m still amazed how his twin brother can sleep through his screams, he has always had an ability to drown the screams with sweet slumber. Oh how I envy him!
Yet despite the never ending torment of sleep deprivation, there are those moments at 5am when I hold him and he nestles his cheek against my heart, I remember that it was not so long ago that I would lay awake at 5am dreaming that one day I would be woke in the night by a mini us, or those nights I spent crying after yet another period, or nights after hormone injections wondering if there would ever come a day that someone would cry for me in the night just for a cuddle, that one day someone would look at me like I was their everything. Its when he finally succumbs to sleep, that the silence reminds me that whilst I’m desperately seeking sleep there was once a time I was desperately seeking motherhood, and through the heartache, pain and fear I was blessed not just with one but two little ones who look at me and melt my heart. It gives me hope that although it can take a while, dreams can come true.
The ‘skinny jeans’ those jeans we’ve had from those days gone by when we had the perfect jeans, that made us feel like we had the perfect bodies. But with our increasing waists coupled with our decreasing metabolisms it was inevitable that, that top button was never going to fasten no matter how hard we breathed in. So we fold them neatly, and reluctantly place them in the back of our wardrobes vowing to fit into them once again.
So why do we keep them there? Is it our inner sadistic tendency to constantly be tormented by their whispers of ‘will they fit? Do we revel in the dilemma of that internal debate of whether or not to try them on? Or is it because they are the only friend we have that will actually tell the truth when it comes to that infamous question ‘does my bum look big in this?’
We all have our body hang ups and we all seek the perfect remedy to cure our Buddha bellies, big bums, thunder thighs and bingo wings. Could the ‘skinny jeans’ be the miracle cure we’ve been searching for? When we slide each thigh into those denim legs, fingers and toes crossed, hoping and praying that our feet will come out the other end, its amazing how such flaws can disappear as quickly as a zip is effortlessly fastened. As we stand in front of the mirror, we no longer feel fat and frumpy unwilling to face the world, instead, our new friend has given us a feeling of sexiness, youth and inhibitions.
In reality though, how many of us have tried on these jeans and actually struggled to get a thigh in never mind anything else? Is it not true that nine times out of ten, when we try them on they don’t fit any better than they did a week ago and instead of that state of euphoria we long to feel we actually feel a sense of self loathing, paranoia and along comes that reoccurring promise of never to eat again.
Whilst some of us will take this promise very literally, some will head straight for that secret stash of chocolate, ice-cream or crisps that we keep for ‘emergencies’ and make a new promise to start ‘on Monday’. Both solutions are self destructive, and it begs the question why not throw the jeans away? After all is it realistic for us to think that we will fit into something that last fit us 5 or 10 years ago?
The truth is, deep down we know it’s only natural that our bodies will change over the years and the chances of us fitting into something we wore years ago could be as equal to those of winning the lottery. Yet we still play the lottery in the vain hope that one day we might just win. And so our jeans remain in the dark depths of our wardrobes persuading us to eat less, indulging our nostalgia and feeding off the notion that one day dreams can come true.