I write this to the chorus of mama, I love you by The Spice Girls and I am overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude for my life. Today I’ve had both of my boys home because one is coughing like a baby seal and the other hasn’t stopped since four am, so they’re not exactly a picture of health. But it doesn’t matter, because this morning I walked into the living room and they were sitting together on the lounge, reading the story, “boys will be…” to each other. “Boys will be…kind, loving, funny, respectful, playful,” and it goes on. Moments like these are, of course, interspersed with those same boys whacking each other, yelling and screaming at one another followed by tears and tears and tears, and then there’s also the growling, the use of various random items as weapons, the refusal to eat, sleep and drink, among many more. But when it’s beautiful, wow. There is nothing else like it that exists, and what truly fills me with disbelief is the knowledge that it really is so fleeting. The thought of it – of a floor covered in toys, of a home cooked, half eaten meal, of load after load after load of washing, of minimal time to myself, gone, feels just like a dagger to the emotional heart.
Being “home” with the kids, one is privy to certain experiences that would make even the childless adult cluck their feathers, a lurch in the reproductive organs reminding them of their inescapable, primordial instinct to procreate. Today, I overheard Aston playing with some toys, using the word “humpdink.” Apparently, it’s his own interpretation of a character from a Disney cartoon book. Later on he told Arlo, “you to have this ball (pats soccer ball) and you not to hurt me.” Even typing these little bits and pieces here is diminutive though, taking away from the angelic two year old voice, the acquisition of English and all the grammar it entails, and the development of this small person. The culminating effect of two and a half years of absorption being reproduced in his actions, is really something to behold.
Days like today, when I’ve had sufficient sleep to function as a moderately capable person who doesn’t lose her shit multiple times for reasons that really, are not worthy of such a reaction, these are the days that make all of the other days worthwhile. I was reminded that this time will not last for ever (gulps lump in throat) and one day my boys won’t even be living in the same house as me – although Arlo has disclosed to us that he will be living with us forever because he doesn’t want to get married. He also cried at the thought of having to move away from us.
My unsolicited advice to you is to cherish those little ones. Bend to your child’s height, look him in the eye when he tells you how Bakugans unfold and how Miles Morales became the Black Spider-Man, and listen when things emitted from his mouth don’t make sense because you’ve lost your sense of childlike imagination and it looks like a lopsided hat, not a snake eating an elephant, and read him a book when he needs to hear it from you, and give him a mummy cuddle when he’s the one in the wrong because the day will come when he doesn’t want it anymore and that will hurt most of all, and for god’s sake don’t give him everything thing he asks for. Postponed gratification is one of the most important building blocks for a stable person – that, and your time, so give it! And if you don’t have it, make it. Re-arrange your life for your children because that’s what having children is about and they need it, and we need it, because they are the future for everybody on this planet and they thrive when they are LOVED.
Every one of us has days that are hard, and some days I’m sure most of us wonder how we’re going to get through them. For the majority, we do, though. And things are never as bad in hindsight, that’s the joy of time passing. You can only sample the memory of a really tough time as you do a delicious wine at a tasting. But you don’t want more of the bad stuff, so you look to right now, and then you look ahead. And then, your child throws your car keys at you and it actually hurts your finger, but then he takes your hand and he kisses it, and he says “sorry, mummy,” into your eyes and what’s more he pulls your head in and cuddles you…and you know you really are going to be okay.