Written for the Friday Club Carnival.
Whist. There is a thing. What 5 things would I like my children to know about me? I can think of lots of things I would prefer them NOT to know about me, though I can see there will be a time when I’ll have to tell them those things. And I can think of things I would tell them but I don’t really want to load the baggage on them that those things might bring them if I did. I’d much prefer them to grow up without baggage. I’m not sure there is anything I can tell them that doesn’t bring baggage though, because being at home with them all the time, permanently attached by virtue of a lifestyle, my whole life is bound up to their existence. There is not really a me outside of them. My greatest fear is that if they all died, on top of the terrible grief, there would simply be nothing left of me worth saving. Now that’s baggage if ever there was some. And it is something I’m going to have to work on, as they’ll potentially all have left home in 10-12 years.
Of course, I’ve re-read what follows now and I’m not sure it is about me at all. It is more about them, who I am through them. I don’t know if that is good, or bad 🙄
To my girls,
1. I’d like you to know I was all too aware of my faults even when I didn’t do enough to rectify them. I’d like you to know that even though I need my space and feel like I spend a lot of time pushing you away, I love the chatter and noise and mess of the house and wouldn’t change it. I know I should learn to be more engaged all the time but I don’t have it in me. I’m sorry.
2. I’d like you to know that you are a joy to me, exactly how you are, and that I wouldn’t change you. I worry that you think I’m critical or exacting but I only ever want to open your mind to expanding and growing, not changing. I’d like you to know that if I pride myself in anything, it is not the business or our house or how I look or how I write – it is simply you. I measure myself entirely in how happy and how utterly yourselves you are. That I don’t care how successful you are, or clever, or thin or beautiful or academically well endowed; I simply light up inside when I see you being yourselves and the confidence and contentment you exude.
3. I’d like you to know, one day, that it was hard to be me; short, fat, boring, unoriginal, easily shaken, often depressed, un-confident, rubbish at small talk, me. I’d like you to know that I wanted more for you than the environments that made me like that. I’d like you to know that I always acknowledged the parts of your nature which reflected any of those things but I worked very hard nurturing your strengths and giving you tools to overcome those parts of any of us which can make some moments in life hard. I hope I did okay.
4. I’d like you to know that I don’t think I did a very good job of home educating you,certainly not the job that I intended to do, but that was okay, because you didn’t need it really. I’d like you to know that often when I didn’t do things with you it was because I was busy and distracted but often it was because I was sitting back and listening and marvelling at the sounds of you growing all around me.
5. Finally, I hope one day you will forgive me for how selfish I was. I know I was. I know I wanted one more thing when I already had everything I needed. I know it was stupid, I know it was wrong. I hope you’ll forgive me for all the pain that caused you and all the loss and sadness you suffered because of that. I hope one day you know that nothing I ever did was your fault but you were the reason I carried on afterwards. You were the purpose for life beyond that point and I’m grateful. It was the existence of you that raised me from the lowest and darkest moments, twice, and meant I carried on living. That you, and Daddy, are all of the reasons I am the good bits of who I am.
6. (Oops) Oh. And yes, I’m messy. I tell you off about being messy all the time and my room is worse than yours. This is one of the great double bluffs of motherhood. You’ll get to do it too one day. For now though, yes, you do have to tidy your room!