Sunday was Mothers’ Day. James made a batch of his famous Chelsea buns for breakfast and I opened the boys’ lovely homemade cards. Gabriel had been particularly sweet about his this year, hiding it in his room as soon as he got home on Friday.
As I ate my sticky Chelsea bun, it occurred to me that this was my seventh Mothers’ Day. It seems a long time ago now, but I remember that first Mothers’ Day well. Gabriel was a few weeks old; the sun was streaming through the bedroom window of our old house and there was breakfast in bed with a daffodil in a milk bottle.
Do I still recognise that person? I suppose I look broadly the same, although I’ve gained a fair few grey hairs since then, and I frown too much. I suppose too that I was more naive then and certainly a little bewildered by the experience of being a new mother. Not too bewildered though, and actually the first few months of motherhood came quite easily, like it was role I’d always been waiting for.
The real challenges came along when the early baby days were over: the toddler tantrums and the daily power struggles, combined with a second baby. It was also at this point that I had to come to terms with how little time I had to myself, and how I’d almost forgotten to think independently. And the loneliness, the terrible loneliness, which comes from spending hours upon end with small children who can’t talk yet – I’d never really prepared myself for that.
Since that first Mothers’ Day I’ve learned a lot. Some things have come easily, others much less so. Over the years, I’ve relaxed into my role as a mother. I’ve learned to say yes more often, and generally be less of a snappy sour-puss. There have been many tears of frustration, confusion and fear – and I still seem to be incapable of learning not to worry what other people think of me. I don’t suppose I ever will now.
But more than any of this, I feel a sense of amazement and pride that we have created two such fantastic little people – their personalities so fiercely different, both full of love. They say such clever, funny things. They can climb up things, whizz around on scooters, learn to read and name pretty much every tractor on the road. They make me smile and give their love so freely. They’ve even persuaded me to go camping with them, something I swore I’d never do!
I made those people.
I’ve still got a lot to learn, but the journey’s been pretty amazing so far.