I’m not feeling well at all today. My ears are blocked. My head hurts. My throat is killing. A day off, totally wasted by sitting on the sofa, trying to take my mind off how lousy I’m feeling. Therefore, I’m going to blog about something that made me feel full of pride and gratitude this week.
As I mentioned, I’m not feeling well. I haven’t been feeling well all week actually, and it’s progressively got worse as the week has gone on. Monday evenings are a bit tricky, because that is the evening that the girls have Taekwan-do lessons. As they only go once a week, I never want them to miss these valuable lessons, and my eldest also has a grading coming up soon, so it is imperative that she attends and keeps getting guidance from her teachers. This Monday I felt like I was going to die. My head was stabbing with migraine pains. Strong smells were making me want to throw up. My stomach was doing somersalts. Had it been any other day, I would have said to the girls, I’m sorry we can’t go today, but with the impending grading, I just didn’t feel that I could do that.
My youngest has her lesson first, for half an hour, so my eldest and I, we sit in the car and chat, or just read peacefully, waiting. This week was no different, my eldest had created a den for herself in the back seat, with a hardback copy of David Walliam’s ‘Ice Monster’, she sat absorbed and engrossed, oblivious to the rest of the world. To be honest, I wasn’t in the mood to make small talk with her either, so I closed my eyes and went to sleep for a few minutes. I’m not sure when, but I heard a rustling coming from my bag on the passenger seat next to me. Bleary eyed, I looked over to find Eesha rooting around to find my mobile phone. Confused, and struggling to speak, I asked her, ‘Whattyadoing?’ She just said, ‘Go back to sleep Mummy, I’m putting a timer on your phone, so that you can wake up when it’s time to get Shreeya.’ And she did exactly that, she worked out that there were 17 minutes left of the lesson, so she put on a timer that would ensure that we would collect her little sister on time, and then her own lesson could start.
8 years old. That’s all she is. 8 years old. And she is capable of sorting things out for me. Looking after me when the need arose. My heart just swelled with both disbelief and pride, and had it not been so painful in my head, I probably would have cried with gratitude. How and when did she become so mature and grown up and confident to just take care of things?
The remaining 17 minutes passed, and I climbed the steps, which at this point felt like Mt Everest to me, to the dojo to collect Shreeya. Leaving Eesha to start her lesson, I asked my youngest if we could not do our weekly Taekwan do pilgrimage to Morrisons (a 5 minute drive away), this week because I wasn’t feeling very well. Now it sounds really bizarre, but she absolutely loves our post-lesson trip to Morrisons, when it’s just me and her, as we chat, she helps me buy any bits and bobs that we need, she loves helping me out, and choosing a snack for the drive home. When I asked if it was ok if we didn’t do that this week, her face which had been lit up with excitement, just dropped as if someone had switched a light off. As much as my head hurt, disappointing my little girl felt much, much more painful. Never mind, I said, let’s go! Her face lit up again, and off we went.
I didn’t spend that long in the supermarket, as walking around was tricky, and I just wanted to rest. We drove back to the Taekwan-do venue and sat quietly again, waiting for Eesha’s lesson to finish. I closed my eyes again, the pain in my head worse, even though I had taken some tablets. At that moment, my mum called to make sure that I was ok. She said, ‘You took tablets on an empty stomach, that’s why you feel sick. Eat something, you’ll feel better and the tablets will work.’ Obediently, I did as I was told, grabbed a pain au chocolate and within 5 minutes, the sickness had subsided. My head still hurt though, I closed my eyes listening to Shreeya chat non-stop about anything and everything.
Eventually, she noticed that I wasn’t really responding in the way that I normally would and she asked if I was ok? I said, ‘Would you mind stroking my head, I think it would make me feel better?’ She leapt up at the chance of doing something helpful again, so she began gently stroking my hair, commenting with pride, on how soft my hair was. After a few seconds she asked, ‘Shall I sing you a lullaby?’ The thought tickled me immensely because I knew she had been racking her brain to see what might make me feel better, so I replied, ‘That would be lovely.’ In the most gentle and soothing voice that she could muster, she began to sing a lullaby to help me sleep. I don’t know if you have heard a 5 year old sing before, but try as they might, their voices are hilariously loud, even when they are trying so incredibly hard to be soothing and soft. The pain killers were beginning to kick in, so I thanked her for her help, and enjoyed seeing her face and body puff up with pride, knowing that she had helped me feel better.
We collected Eesha and climbed into the car again. Somehow, I drove home safely. They ate, showered and went to bed. No arguments. No disputes. No, ‘But Muuuuum….’ They just did what needed to be done. And I was filled with immense gratitude. These lovely girls could see that I was finding things a bit tricky because I wasn’t feeling well and they just wanted to do what they could do, to help.
This blog isn’t about ‘Oh look at me, aren’t my children wonderful!’ No. They argue and fall out with each other. They make up again within a few minutes. They want to spend all their time playing together. And they get on each other’s nerves too. But this week, when it mattered the most, they pulled together, in their own ways and did whatever they could to look after and take care of me. I spoke to them in the car on the drive home, about how grateful I was, and how much they had helped. But I said, ‘You know how much you helped me, you’ve got to do that for each other all the time too. Don’t fight with each other, look after each other too.’
They looked at each other sheepishly and smiled…they’d just been arguing because Shreeya was singing the lullaby that she’d sung to me, to Eesha, and Eesha had indulged her for a few minutes, but then her patience had worn thin, and she’d asked her sister to stop singing – Shreeya was in the zone and did not want to stop…
This blog is to remind me, if I read my posts back in the future, how beautiful life is sometimes, even when times feel really hard. When my girls have grown up and flown the nest, I will remember how they used to rally around me and try their best to make me feel better when I didn’t feel good. But I hope that they read this post back, remember how they were so loving and caring at such a young age. And how they were always taught to love and look after each other too, even if they had fallen out.
Sometimes our parents, our siblings, our husbands and wives, our nearest and dearest annoy the hell out of us. It’s the nature of being so close to one another – you’re bound to fall out at some points in life too. But spend less time on thinking about why you fell out, and more time focussing on why you love each other in the first place. Make up with those who you have fallen out with. Reconnect with those you wish you were still in contact with, reminisce about the past. And most importantly, take care of each other. Treasure the people you love. No one is around forever. Don’t live with regrets thinking ‘if only I’d reached out…’ Reach out and be with the people you love again. Life is just too short.