(NB. As the below suggests, I wrote this a couple of days after UK Mother’s Day but must have still been suffering from a bit of sleep deprivation as I’ve only just come across it again to post it!)
My very first Mothers Day! And Scarlett wanted me to earn it! My beautiful baby girl has caught a cold, but it was a stealth cold, it crept up and invaded with no real warning and suddenly my baby girl was in the middle of it. The night before Mother’s Day we had a couple of friends over and our normally very good ‘sleep through the night’ baby woke up a couple of times and joined the party to get a dose of Calpol. We don’t bring her downstairs after she’s gone to bed easily but on this occasion, Scarlett had a blocked nose and wanted her dummy to soothe her painful teething gums but then was unable to breathe through the congestion. This, as you can imagine, for an eight month old who can’t understand why she can’t breathe, was quite frightening and so long after our guests had gone, we realised that it was going to be a long night.
As a team, my husband and I agreed that I would be the overnight shift whatever it would bring as i am already very adept at being a night owl, and at around 6am, he would ‘tag in’ and take over so I could get some sleep. And that worked nicely; Scarlett woke pretty much every half hour and I cuddled her when she was frightened, helped clear her nose and soothe her off to sleep. I soon realised that if she was slightly more upright and against my chest, she slept slightly more comfortably and for a little bit longer so I set myself up on the sofa with a rug and an iPad and watch almost an entire series of Greys Anatomy as Scarlett had a fitful night.
As a little treat (and because I was planning on sleeping till midday!) I didn’t wake my husband till 6.30 and as I passed my baby girl over, part of me was sad to end the evening where for for those hours, I was the most important person in her life, her little arms had been wrapped round me clinging on all night and although it was a tough night, it was also kind of magical. Even in that moment I realised that in a few years time, she won’t cling to me quite as much, and one day without realising it, it’ll be the last time I pick her up and she clings round me for comfort. One day, in the blink of an eye, if she needs someone, it won’t be her Father and I, and that’s the job of a parent, to hold your children hands a while, their hearts forever and then let go when they choose someone else’s hand to hold.
When I’m upset, I still talk to my parents but first and foremost I turn to my husband. Quite rightly, I no longer hold my parents hand, I hold my husbands. But that night I had a new appreciation for the moment that as a parent you must hold out your hand ready and see they’re going to somebody else. It must be heartbreaking, but as long as we do our jobs properly, we’ll be happy and feel secure in Scarlett’s choice. I know both my parents are thrilled with mine and I know they worry about me less because they know that my partnership with my husband is a devoted one and I couldn’t be in any better hands and I hope my parents in law feel the same about me and hope they feel secure about my husband being supported by me.
I had a similar experience with my baby brother who I’ve mentioned a number of times, (and who is probably getting a bit fed up of being referred to as the ‘baby brother’ at the age of 21!) when he was a child, I helped protect him (let’s please not mention the incident where for 15 heartbreaking minutes I thought I’d managed to lose him in the park) and when he needed someone, my hand was one of the first he’d go to. He is now in such a committed relationship, they have added to the family with Geof the rabbit (you know it’s serious when a house rabbit gets purchased..!) and I know that he is well supported and that they are happy and I therefore don’t worry about him not wanting to hold my hand anymore. (It’s clear at this point that the hand holding is a metaphor yes?!)
Anyway, back to my first Mother’s Day. It’s a special day and I never quite realised how special until I experienced my first. My husband put a beautiful message online about being proud of me and being a great Mum to our baby girl and my Dad also tagged me in a post to wish me Happy Mother’s Day; I even received messages from friends acknowledging my first! I realised that it’s not just a day where your kids hand draw a card (which Scarlett then attempted to eat when I was given it!) and you drink a cup of tea from your brand new ‘Mum’ mug (surely a requirement at some point as a Mother’s Day gift!) but a day when all those little things you do throughout the year can be looked upon with pride. One day, naturally I will not be one of the two most important people in Scarlett’s life but she will forever be one of the most important in mine. I stayed up all night to make sure she was ok and I’d do it again in a heartbeat (luckily after one more night of similar, she seems to be at least better enough to be back to sleeping through now!), I clear her nose when she screams in my face and I will always do what’s best for her regardless of whether or not she hates me for it! It’s all part of the ‘Mum’s song.’
And for one day, it was ok to concentrate on those efforts and self indulge in a bit of parental pride. My Mum joined Scarlett, my brother, his girlfriend, my husband and I at a family favourite restaurant for lunch and as always I took one bunch of Freesia for my Mum and one bunch for my Mums Mum (my Nana, gone but not forgotten). We enjoyed a meal and Christopher and I paid for Mums and Scarlett paid for mine (I’m not sure how and coincidentally the same amount came out of our joint account but i loved the gesture all the same!). I thought of all the Mothers in my life (people who are Mum’s, I’m not saying I have multiple Mothers!) and how they had influenced me and what they had given to me and my messages that day online were in honour and with thanks to them. They say that every Mum is a superhero and that’s certainly true of most of the Mum’s I know, so with that in mind I wore my batgirl outfit to lunch and took a superhero cape and mask for my Mum as a gesture saying that although most of the time people can’t see her cape, I always knew it was there. I know she wasn’t hugely keen on wearing it in public (my Mums a lot more ’normal’ than I am!) but God bless her she put it on and posed for the picture and i think secretly she liked the idea behind it!
Things like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are always recognised in our house as, although it’d be nice to think that we make the effort to recognise our families every day of the year, the sad reality is that we’re all far too busy and sometimes, time get’s away from it. So once a year each, my husband and I have now graduated to a level where we have one day each year dedicated to being able to thank and appreciate each other. In life, we can only really look forward, which often means that whilst our parents are still worrying and thinking of us, we’re concentrating on worrying and thinking about our child. It’s nice to have a landmark to take a breath and look back, check in with our uplink and say thank you to the people who made the same sacrifices and efforts for us as we are now doing.
I was exhausted yesterday but as my husband said, I earned my Mother’s Day stripe! After lunch we went for an hour drive to allow a still poorly Scarlett to get some sleep and we enjoyed an afternoon together going round some old places, stopping in at the cemetery to pay respects to family members there, and having a little drive round the places we both grew up. When we got home, I was treated to a lazy evening with dinner made for me, washing up done and the Xbox controller handed over so I could play whilst he put Scarlett to bed! I knew another busy night with a 6am tag in was in store as she was still struggling but those few hours were like gold. Happy doesn’t cover it, I know that sounds really smug but it’s those little moments in life, the moments you look round and realise you’re loved and looked after, the moments you know that even in the toughest days, you’re happy. Moments that I hope every Mother got to have yesterday.
I don’t get to see my Mum every year on Mothering Sunday, and we didn’t get to see my Mother in Law as she was with my brother and sister in law for the weekend. But thanks only really needs to be a quick message, I was well and truly spoilt yesterday and I know that won’t be the case every year but my very first experience of Mother’s Day was a hugely enjoyed one!
So to all you Mums out there, or to those for whom Mother’s Day are difficult, a huge ‘I love you’ from me, and I hope that whatever you did with your day, you got at least one moment to be appreciated. All Mums are superhero’s, and sometimes people don’t see our capes, but comrades, I see them, and for all that you do, thank you.