I never knew I could experience such extreme emotions all at once but I do…
I’ve had a tough few years with our youngest, mainly due to an undiagnosed auto-immune disease which has now finally been diagnosed. However, for a long time – for what felt like forever – I didn’t know what was ‘wrong’ with my beautiful boy, I just knew that he was wearing me out through his behaviour and lack of sleep. I remember commenting one day when talking about my precious boy, as to how it was possible to dislike someone so much and yet love them so much at the same time.
This took me on a path of thinking about emotions and how they can all get so mixed up to form this incredible blend of something that is at times hard to put into words.
18 months ago, or so I finally said ‘no more’ to something that I loved greatly yet was causing me too much pain and eroding who I was. In the moment it took to utter the words ‘no more’ I was overcome with the engulfing emotion of ‘oh my goodness but what next?!’
I have looked forward to time apart from my children who I love beyond words and at the same time feel so bad about looking forward to being apart. I was excited at leaving them with their amazing Grandparents a few weeks ago and getting to spend time alone, yet missing them like crazy but also loving the time just for me.
Now I can’t be the only one to have ever felt like this…
What about when you are angry, like really angry at your child for something they have done i.e. flood the bathroom, ripped a beautiful drawing to pieces, smeared something disgusting all over the walls (to name a few ‘somethings’), and then your precious child looks at you and does something ridiculously funny that makes you go from high alert wanting to throw them out of the house to heart melting ‘my child is the most precious child that ever lived’ while trying to stifle belly laughs.
What about that one child free day/evening when someone offers to look after them for you so you can have some ‘me’ time? Part of you wants to go out dancing, have a meal out, meet up with friends, go to the cinema and at the same time the other part of you is probably saying ‘stay in bed for the day’.
My youngest child, who I mentioned at the start of this post, is starting school nursery full time in a few weeks and it feels like a big deal, mostly down to the school uniform and school shoes and that he will be going full time (had we still been in Scotland he would have gone part time to school nursery and worn whatever he liked for another year before starting proper school). I am so excited for him to be starting, he cannot wait. I am excited for us as parents and the child free time that we will have during the day. I also find the thought of him starting school heart wrenching, that will be all my children no longer ‘little’.
Last Summer as we prepared to move down from Scotland to Manchester, I was excited at the new beginnings ahead yet incredibly sad about what was ending. Distraught about leaving such a beautiful community of people who knew me, whose children had grown with mine. I still feel overwhelming sadness at times for all that was and is no longer.
As our children gain more and more independence it is incredible, they need us less, yet on the other hand they need us less. Do you see what I mean? There is freedom for all when that happens yet it feels as though we as mothers, guardians of little people lose some of our being and perhaps purpose – when they start school, when they head off to high school, when they have their first driving lesson, when they go out on their own for the first time – it feels as though we lose a part of ourselves.
Guess what though – in the midst of these ever revolving mixed up feelings – our children will always need us. Our children, no matter what their age, will always look to us for guidance, for love, for understanding, for wisdom.
For now, I choose to do my best to let the feelings come and go without them holding me to ransom. As I often quote ‘Now is not always’.
Life, like feelings, can take you all over the place from one minute to the next. Look after your little people, your middle-sized ones, your big ones and treasure them. Find a good tribe of people to do life with, build a wholesome community around you, whatever ‘family’ looks like for you. Be sure to check in on each other, be sure to remind each other how valuable each person that makes up your community is.
I want to finish with a quote from Helen Keller:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
Feelings help us live and experience life to the full and as long as there are children around, we’ll have plenty of feelings!