Sometimes the word ‘love’ – just doesn’t feel powerful enough. I love chocolate. There are songs I love. I love being at the beach. I love the sea. But the love I have for my girls? There isn’t a word powerful enough to describe it. My husband always says to me that the minute my eldest was born, that was the moment that I totally changed as a person. I melted. I became maternal. The tiny baby in my arms changed me forever. He’s right – I did change. I became a softer person. But I also became harder and stronger than I could have ever imagined. Because I was no longer living for myself. There was someone else who was totally dependent on me…
Was driving home today and was feeling thoughtful. Life for everyone just seems tougher at the moment. Everywhere I look, regardless of profession, it feels that everyone is simply living to work. Everyone’s life revolves around work. Sometimes when I think that I’m having a tough time, I’ll get a call from my brother – it might be half eight, nine, half nine, and he’ll be returning from work, checking to see how my girls, and then me and my husband are. Always asking about the girls first. Knowing that he’s returning home from work so late always makes me feel so sad. At the moment, he has no responsibilities, but what about when he has children? And although I’m always working at the times that he calls, at least I’ve managed to see my girls, put them to bed, told them that I love them.
It was Mother’s Day at the weekend, and I had a lovely time. My husband and the girls made sure that my day was very special. Full of hugs and kisses and laughter. The days are not always like this though. Social media is a funny thing. People only present the parts of their life that they want to show. The glossy, filtered, exciting part. I’m just as guilty of this as the next person.
Here’s what I don’t put on Facebook….I’ve yelled at my daughters for the umpteenth time because they’ve made a pigsty of the back room. The lectures that I have to give about always being honest and being brave enough to tell the truth especially when you have done something wrong, accept the consequences. When my eldest has done some writing and I think that her writing is messy, I tell her off and she feels sad, but I make her do it again. That I tell the girls off because they eat oh-so-slowly! Yep, these wonderful incidents don’t make it onto my edited, filtered, specially selected page. But this is real life.
And then the guilt sets in. During the weekdays, I only see them for an hour a day. How can I tell them off like this? Why aren’t I gushing over them constantly and letting them be, after all they’re only young once?
The answer is simple. Life is tough. Life is hard. My job, when I see them is to love them enough to correct them and make wonderful human beings of them. So that they are able to stand on their own two feet and be people that I am proud of. At the moment, they are known as my daughters. In the future, I want my identity to be defined by them, to be known as their mother.
So I tell them off, I make them finish their plate of food, I make them tell the truth – even if they will get into trouble, I make them go to bed on time. At the moment, they accept what I say, because they are young, and for now, they still accept that I know more than they do. There will come a time, I’m sure, when they will think that I know nothing. That I don’t understand them. That they will resent me for not letting them do whatever the hell they want.
Here’s my message to you now my beautiful girls – I will always love you. Always. Unconditionally. You are both a piece of my heart. A piece of my soul. And God help anyone who tries to hurt a hair on your head – because I won’t spare anyone who tries to anything to hurt you. But with that love, comes a huge a responsibility. I’ve felt what you feel – with my own mother. What did she know? She didn’t understand me. Why was she always so protective? And though I will try to curb my tongue and advise you, but let you make your own decisions…I am my mother’s daughter, just as you are…and I have seen a bit more of life than you have. Every action has a consequence and you may not be able to see/hear/accept my version of things..but it will always be my job to guide you. Know that it is always done out of love for you…even though you may wonder, ‘Where is the love?’
A couple of evenings ago, my eldest had a library book from her school. It was called ‘Tigress’. It looked like a story, but it was actually an information book. Internally, I groaned when she asked me to read it to her, give me a story to read anytime…but as I started reading, I was fascinated. I learnt so much! I didn’t realise that the tigress looked after her cubs on her own; that she had to keep changing dens whilst her cubs were young, in case other predators attacked her cubs while she would be out hunting. That the cubs only stay with the tigress for 18 months, then they leave, having learnt everything from their mother, and she is satisfied because they are self sufficient.
After reading about the amazing tigress, my eldest brought tears to my eyes when she said, “You’re like the tigress, Mummy, and we’re like the cubs.”
My prayer is that you girls always know that no matter how fierce I seem at times, or no matter how fed up you get with me…that you always know….how much, how deeply I feel for you…because that word love – it’s just not strong enough.