I am tidying the mess my three children have made.Motherhood has broken me, today.It has hurt me, it has hurt them, and all because I have failed to be perfect.And so have they.
But as I am down on my hands and knees, moving toys from here to there, I understand that I am in two places at once. I am here, among the chaos, among the evidence that three uncontrollable children live here.
And I am also seven years ago, when I paced around the living room, my stomach contracting with a baby that I would never actually get to meet.
Tonight, I know the gift of my children, despite the chaos they sometimes bring.
Tonight, I understand the beautiful silence of that night seven years ago. The same silence as tonight. A silence that asked me, then, to be fully there with my baby because we deserved that time to know each other.
A silence that lives imperfectly, now, for my children.
How often have I done this, since the birth of my blog? How often have I just been here because being anywhere else hasn’t seemed like an option? Many a time.
I feel as though, for a very long time, I’ve been in between here and there. Not quite knowing where here is, and not even willing to guess where there might be.
I get the distinct impression I am meant to find here and stay here, without even a thought or wondering of ‘there’. After all, when we get ‘there’ it will become ‘here’, just as today will always be today, and tomorrow will never come. (I wonder if that makes any sense at all. I am running on very little sleep. I do hope you will forgive me.)
All this rambling makes me think of a moment I had today as I sat upon a picnic rug in our yard, with my baby crawling around at my feet. In my left hand I held a large ball and in my right, a small ball. It occurred to me that without the presence of the other, neither could actually be called ‘small’ or ‘large’. The terms large and small are always relative to something else. How would I know I was holding a large ball if I’d never seen a small ball in my life? I marvel at the wonderful nerdy goodness of that.
And it makes me think of all the other ways us humans have framed our world in order to communicate clearly. What would happen, do you think, if every ‘large’ ball was just a ball? To take it even further, what would happen if every ball was nameless; just an odd sort of circular object that sat perfectly in your hands, without a preconceived idea or purpose. What might we think to do with it if its possibilities were not as clearly defined?
Gosh I’m rambling. I really don’t even know why, or what all this is about, so I will say goodnight. Goodness, I’m tired.
I hope the world is being kind to you, bloggy friends.
Mistakes are our greatest gifts, and yet, we are buried in shame.
Do not make a mistake. Do not ever be bad.
We are shamed.
We are shamed.
We are human. Not one of us is perfect, not one.
I teach my children that their failures are the best things that could happen for them, their mistakes, beautiful lessons in how to do life beautifully.
Punishment breaks my heart. An eye for an eye, an ancient, barbaric way. And all of it pointless, in my eyes, because shame only drives the ‘bad’ underground, it doesn’t lovingly guide it to a better day.
Accepting our faults and carefully growing with them through life might work.
Shaming will destroy.
I choose the gentle way.
I choose self compassion, and compassion for others.
I am authentically myself when I am not at all myself, and it is magical, beautiful, wonderful.
What do I mean by this? Well, I’m not sure. It’s a little too obscure to understand or explain, but I’m certain you’ve felt it. I’m certain you’ll know what I mean when I tell you.
I’ve been reading the BFG to my son. He’s seven, and the best, and so naturally I want to give him the most beautiful experiences life has to offer. Reading is one of those experiences, and the magic of Roald Dahl is…well, it’s magic. There’s no real way to capture that feeling, for me.
And when I read this beautiful story to him, I so often find myself transformed. Every night I become the BFG. I put on my unusually accurate english accent and off I go. I am the BFG (or am I Roald Dahl, it’s hard to really say.)
It’s what I loved so much about acting. Embodying and expressing energies that are not my own is so intoxicating I could easily become addicted to the very thing. The deep booming cutesy tone that flies from my mouth every time the BFG speaks to Sophie: it fills my whole body, it resonates down to the bone.
I so love it.
I so love being authentically me, without being me at all.
I sang about fairy lights as we drove. I remember. My tiny head bobbling about in the back seat while Mum drove us through the darkness to her weekly game of basketball.
‘I love your beautiful songs, Brooke.’ It was a line she’d repeat all the way up until I left home; the warbling six year old I was never did stop making up songs.
Fairy lights. They really were beautiful in the distance. Just window lights shining from houses on the horizon, a lot of them. So many it looked like a sea of twinkling stars dancing beside us as we drove.
I’m not in the most peaceful of places. Looking after a newborn is not the easiest of things, and it’s especially difficult when your body begins to misbehave. Mine has done so spectacularly of late, many thanks to all the regular post birth complaints. Crunch, screech, ache, sob. But life can’t stop because I am in pain.We cannot pause our children, we cannot pause the laundry and the cooking that must be done in order to keep us all happy and healthy.
Fairy lights. I needed something to get me through the chaos and through these achy, sleepless days. And here I am, typing away, every now and then gazing up at our ornamental bookshelf, tired but grateful for the unexpected burst of creativity that found me earlier. Fairy lights. I’ve strung some up around the bookshelf frame and it is the most beautiful thing to stare at them and just…let them take me somewhere.
I love my children beyond it all and I am grateful to even have a home and things to care for. But sometimes I need a breath. Sometimes I need to raise my head above the water and find one of the joys of my soul waiting to soothe me.
Fairy lights. Beauty bringing me back to peace, once more.
It’s funny, isn’t it. How we zone in on the things that happen in life that signal an ending of something and the beginning of something else.
They roll on in, these momentous happenings, and soon they pass: although we do wish we could cling to the beauty of them. We do wish we could hold on to their quiet precious hands just that little bit longer than they allow us to. So we can breathe them in. So we can close our eyes and know something bigger than ordinary is actually happening to us.
That’s a lot of waffling just to get to the point isn’t it, my lovely bloggy friends. And yet I’m certain you all know me well enough to understand that waffling is my way of holding on to the precious moments of my life a little longer than the average human might.
Without further ado…
It’s a girl.
A beautiful, darling, button nose girl: isn’t that just the loveliest thing?
She’s been flip-side of my belly for a week and a day. It’s been a foggy time. A time where my hormones have screamed abnormal things and my rational side has begged to make it all feel a little more normal than that. But I am perfectly okay, and that is just about all I am asking of this post birth phase.
I am being so, so, so well cared for by a husband I love even brighter the second time around. I am kept busy giggling at my other children who tumble around, daily, and so often remind me of tiger cubs at play (especially when the tiger mum nudges them away and gently snaps at their tumbling bodies, in order to pull them into line.)
Eight years ago it was, when I sat on the couch, a day before my 30th birthday, suspecting today might be the day I’d meet my very first baby.
There was a muslei bar involved. Four AM insomnia. And I suppose there must have been some sort of mild lower belly/back discomfort that had me thinking this particular morning might be different to other mornings. Waiting for baby. How epic a wait it had become.
Today, I sit upon the couch once more, again at an extraordinary hour, again watching the morning show and dealing with certain pregnancy discomforts. I am smiling quietly as I think of the years to come where I will reflect on the days I once ‘waited for baby’. Usually eating something grainy. Usually at ridiculous o’ clock.
I’m nearly 38 weeks pregnant, now, so it’s lovely to think that baby will be with us any time from now on. Just when it will join us is the greatest of mysteries and, I suppose, one of the most beautiful of life’s epic frustrations. It is one of the many times in a woman’s life where she is utterly out of control, and all that truly can be done to remedy the pain of resistance is relax and let it be. Let it be. It’s not an easy concept for a human mind to grasp, is it, and yet here I am. Having to give it my very best shot.
It’s come at the heals of a good few years of learning to ‘let it be’. Learning to release control and understand that life is only ever what it is, as opposed to what I always thought it was meant to be. What I often try too hard to make it.
I’m tired. I don’t know when I’ll meet this baby, I just don’t know.
But I do know I’m about to roll back into bed for the morning, which will be lovely.
I do know that first breakfast was lovely, and second breakfast (‘I don’t think they know about second breakfast, Pip’) will likely be wonderful, too.
Either way, I’m certain I’ll look back at this uncontrollable life, fondly.
The days I waited for my sweet, sweet babies to come with such frustration and desperation.
The days life happened sneakily in the background while I waited for something else to arrive.