Sometimes in life things happen that are hard to explain and to justify. The past few weeks have been precisely that. I have found myself wondering how to broach conversations with my children, knowing all too well that they will come up. Wondering, if I am doing a good enough job as a parent in teaching my own babies about the difference between good and bad?
Of course my gut instinct is to protect, to shield and to keep them from harm’s way – but that is just not real life, or not life as we know it anyway.
Just lately I have found myself staring at the boy and taking in every detail of his smile. He has grown again, his face has caught the sun and he his freckles dance across his cheeks just like mine. Still cheeky and kind, but those large green eyes are becoming deeper and more knowledgable. He can read and tell the time now, he listens to the news and forms his own opinions. After a few days of turning the news down in the car I realised that I could only partly protect him from the truth. He is growing up and there is nothing I can do to stop that.
As always we find ourselves wrapped up in school and activities – football mainly. I find more and more that I repeat our little chats about good attitude and listening. Admittedly this is somewhat lacking at home, but on the pitch it seems that he is turning into an accomplished young player who respects others. I find myself watching him, beaming with pride and I can’t stop myself, my heart swells. If my mind ever wanders I sometimes wonder just how much of him growing up that I will get to see? Will I see the gangly teenager? The first love? The first heartbreak? Will I take him to Uni or help to buy his first car? I truly hope so..
I know all too well that I will be the parent waiting outside the gig to take him home. Waiting to pick him up from a club or expecting a phone call after a football match. I will be standing right there waiting to see him catch my eye with all the other parents. And if for whatever reason I am not there he will always know that I am in his heart.
As the days go by the girl is changing too. Her hair seems to get lighter as it is bleached by the sun. Her eyes sparkle green just like her daddy’s, and her little arms and legs seem to never stop moving. She is quick and she loves to run, usually after her brother. She has picked up the footballing ‘bug’ and thinks nothing of weaving her way through boys much taller than her. Most days I feel I can’t quite keep up with her to tell the truth. She has almost taught herself to read and understand phonics much better than I. She is loyal and caring, but only to those who have earned her trust. Mostly she loves to laugh, at her cousin, at rude noises and cartoons. A childhood innocence that I hope she keeps for a long long time. She often reaches for my hand when she is unsure and this worries me a little because I know how much she needs me to be by her side.
And as ever it is the small things in life that seem to see us through.
The rush of the school run. Blowing a kiss through a window. Saying “I love you”. Little surprises or the normal everyday. Singing in the car and getting the words wrong. Sitting on park benches with an ice-cream. Eskimo kisses at bedtime or reading stories. These are the things that are priceless, they have no value to anyone but us.
More and more I am learning to appreciate the little things and the normal. In some ways I am still learning to be a parent too and feel like I am ‘winging it’ on a daily basis. Some days it can feel overwhelming, like perhaps too many plates are spinning, but surely we can only do our best?
Over the past few weeks I have tried to answer honestly all of the questions that have come up. I have tried to reassure and give a positive to any negative fact, where one could be found anyway. I have watched in awe at our own community and how they have been affected by recent events, and I have realised that we absolutely made the right choice to move here all those years ago.
Look for the kind people, the good people, the ones who are helping. There will always be more good if you choose to see it. This is one of my favourite quotes that I have repeated to the children because I believe in it, and it explains things in a very simple way.
Tomorrow will bring a new day and it will be the same for them, a luxury not everybody has. Laughter, fighting, running, skipping and all the other things that they decide to do. I will be there in the background as always trying to catch up with them, trying my best not to be late, and stealing a forehead kiss before they try to get away from me.
More then anything, I want them to remember the way we once were.
The things that we do together and the things that might fade over time. Happiness is all around you, you just have to look in the right places. I don’t know much, but I know that.
A list of your favourite things;
To Noah & Isla, always be happy.
Love Mummy xxx