a little bit of mindfulness in between the madness 

  
I used to spend a fair bit of time drafting my posts – but 3 children down and I rarely find time to change toilet rolls these days so my new idea is to just scrap the planning and write… Mistakes and everything. Won’t make for the most exciting read you’ve ever had but who knows-Maybe I’ll begin managing more then 1 post a year again.

On Saturday I escaped my house, the kids and my husband and went to the beach. At first I couldn’t get out quick enough. After a months of no sleep, a busy husband and feeling very much like I was responsible for everything and everyone in our house  i needed to get away, if only for a couple of hours. I was exhausted and sat on the sand with coffee in hand. The sun was on my face and sound of the water was all I could hear, it had always been so calming for me. I sat quietly – wanting to enjoy every bit of the ‘no- fighting’ ‘no-crying’ ‘no – whinging’ that wasn’t going on. After an hour or so my desperate need to get away had dissolved into the sand beneath me and I was filled with intense gratitude. After a year of trying to force myself to be ‘mindful’ and to enjoy practicing ‘mindfulness- despite hating the voice of the silly man on the app that was recommended to me, it all suddenly clicked into place.

All it took was some time away, some mindfulness, to again appreciate what I have around me. 

Aside from taking the photo i was able to sit for 2 hours without looking at a screen. I’m starting to believe our need to have constant contact with our phones and a life that isn’t ours or isn’t lived out in front of us maybe the catalyst for us all feeling the need to lead ‘better lives’ to eat ‘better food’, that being a mum and beingaverage isn’t  enough. When since should you feel like a lazy ass because you’re not running a ‘mummy business?… I’m flat out just trying to keep the children alive let alone sewing vintage bibs and screen printing owls onto organic monochrome jumpsuits in the 2 spare minutes I have for the day. 
I took this picture to remind me of this feeling next time I feel like escaping….to remind me to turn it all off and to just face the sun and enjoy being average. 

Life with 3- It’s a girl!

 

I have been wanting to write this for the last 9 weeks. Because I wanted to share, but also so that once the newborn love bubble has popped I could remember this feeling forever. I’m looking at this beautiful little raven haired parcel, our little pixie whose new born hair sits just over the top of her little tiny ears, and still can’t believe how lucky we are. After having two bubbly, full of fun little boys we hit the jackpot and have our little girl. It’s funny, I didn’t really know how much I wanted a girl until we actually had her in our arms. Her name is Elsie, and she is just perfect.

The moment the doctor had delivered her and told us it was our girl, I was overcome with shock. I still can’t believe it-I had to ask if they were sure she was mine. Why would we deserve such a perfect little baby? They placed on her my chest and I just cried the ugly, snorting, raw type of cry that only a mum could understand. I couldn’t take my eyes off her then- and haven’t done since. She is the first girl that her brothers will love.

Nine weeks on and baby number 3 has certainly turned our lives upside down but in the best kind of way. There are the things that I catch myself saying, doing and thinking that would’ve shocked the first time mum version of me. There are now things that must just wait and then there are the things that you want to just slow down. With two children you can still try to have control over your house, your life and your sleep. By number three there is no disguising the fact that shit just got hard, but also that you are happy to just let things slide.

I used to be able to beat my washing….now my washing has well and truly beaten me with a big dirty stick. So much so that most days I only get around to chucking clothes on the spare bed and rarely get around to putting them away. We just accept that clothing is now permanently located on the ‘bedrobe’. I just noticed yesterday that some items are appearing for the 4th time on the bed without ever having set foot in the wardrobe. It’s like a one stop shop that has something for everyone. A place where jocks and socks can mingle freely, and where tshirts and jeans can live harmoniously in one big cult like community without being judged for being on the wrong shelf

I never ever would have let my kids leave the house in mismatched clothing. The thought of stripy tshirts and stripy shorts in the same outfit horrifies me and here we are in 2016 like some Playschool presenter rocking every colour of the rainbow in one outfit. My middle child Sammy has decided now that he will dress himself. He likes to choose outfits while I am stuck on the couch feeding Elsie- knowing full well I can’t do a thing about it. He has now worn the same soccer top for the fourth day in a row….only on the fourth day it was covered in spaghetti. I let him wear it to avoid the argument and to be honest I physically couldn’t chase him around the house and dress him with a baby hanging on to my nipple like it was an all you can eat buffet. I have surrended! Let him wear what he wants! Yesterday this included my socks, because he didn’t like his.

Online shopping delivery guy has become my new bestie. I hear his rusty truck pull up and his squeaky little trolley pushing up the driveway and am overcome with excitement. I see him and think ‘ I really hope he has the toilet paper- we have no tissues left, the wipes are almost out and to be honest the paper towel is just too scratchy’.  This little angel who for some reason can only give a delivery timeframe to the nearest 3 hours appears at my door and peacefully delivers my groceries. Groceries that with 3 children would’ve taken me 3 hours, 2 mid shop trolley abandonments, 14 threats of smacks and no treats, 4 arm squeezes and secret underarm grabs, 4 tantrums and the promise of  2 kinder surprises to get myself.

The school run has become an outrageous cruel and sick joke. I will leave it at that…mums will understand. No need to elaborate.

I drink beer now….sometimes at 4pm. Some days I ask myself ‘Is 3pm too early?’.

Suddenly knowing this will be my last baby, the hard things are no longer hard for the same reasons.  Rather than finding it hard to wake up at 2am I’m finding it hard to accept that each night it could be the last time my baby will wake me in the night to let me know she has missed me. It’s not hard that she has wanted to cuddle all day, especially from 4pm till 6pm when I’m trying to cook dinner. It is hard knowing that one day she will be too big to carry on my chest while trying to peel potatoes with one hand. It’s suddenly not such a pain in the ass to sort the clothes she has grown out of already, now it breaks my heart that I’ll never have another baby to wear them.

Having number three has given me a heart I didn’t know I had.  I didn’t know it could be so full, so complete and so thankful. As hectic, messy and loud as life has been this past 2 months there has not been a minute since having her that I would ever take back.

When the only plan you have left is to have no plan at all

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I have always been a planner. Up until a few years ago my life was displayed as a series of dot points listed on one of those shopping list magnets that you find on the fridge. It read something  like this:  get a part time job tick, finish year 12 tick, get into the course I wanted at uni tick, find a teaching job tick, gain a permanent position tick, have kids by the time I was 30 tick etc, etc, etc.

I would say up until recently that things have pretty much worked out in the way I had planned on my little fridge magnet. I strongly believed that with hard work and persistence you could actually control the people and things around you and could purposefully steer your life towards the final destination you had picked out for yourself. But at aged 32, life jumped out with a stop sign or maybe just a slow- down sign, a sit back and take it easy sign. Life decided that it was time to throw the plan on its head. This week I’ve realised that the only plan you can ever truly have, is no plan at all.

Most of you know that at the beginning of the year my husband and I had decided to try for baby number 3. I had it all planned. Start trying in March pregnant by April (as was the case with baby 1 & 2) that way I could finish off my current school year and still qualify for some maternity leave. The timing would be perfect. Six months down the track, and clearly my senior citizen ovaries are still on a day trip to the bingo. Still no sign of our perfectly timed baby. Excuse me plan-where are you? How dare the plan have not worked! What happens to my list now? Will I have to rewrite it? My husband tells me to relax, that it takes most people a long time to fall pregnant and deep down I know he is right. He is the opposite of me – the ‘non-planner’. After a life time playing football professional football, he learnt at a young age to just take things as they come. He constantly reminds me not to plan too far ahead because you never know what’s around the corner, and of course he is right. I have no right being disappointed. I have two beautiful, healthy sons. I know nothing of the sadness in the hearts of couples who have been trying to fall pregnant for years and have nothing or no one to show for it. I had just not planned on it taking this long. So now my plan is to have no plan at all.

In my high school years I remember thinking how great it was that besides Narelle Maylin’s family, my family was one of the only one’s still intact. We were almost the weird ones. We were close, supportive and all living in the same house. Our house was the one people came to on a Friday night, we liked each other so much we didn’t see the need to leave. This may sound no biggie, but at Parafield Gardens High School it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I hadn’t planned for a time when this wasn’t the case. In fact I could never have imagined back then that we would all be living in different places. If there was one thing I believed back then, it was that family was first. That there was never anything or anyone that could dissolve us. I planned for the day when my own kids were surrounded by my family, Christmas’s, birthdays, good times and bad times.  I hadn’t planned to be here alone.  Now my plan is to have no plan at all.

We had planned to be in a bigger house by now. Our three bedroom townhouse with no yard seems to be closing in on us by the second, as two young boys burn past my feet on their scooters while I’m cooking the dinner. Our tiny dwelling seems to be giving birth to toys. I swear every day that I wake up the toys have multiplied- soon they will swallow us up. Last night I had to remove a matchbox truck, a minion and ninja turtle mask from my bottom before I could get to sleep. We keep waiting and looking. I hadn’t planned on still being here, so now the plan is to have no plan at all.

I had also not planned for a world without my mum in it. A few weeks ago I received a phone call telling me my 54 year old mum had had a heart attack. It felt like a joke.  Are you f&%$# serious was my exact response. Many scenes in our lives come as no surprise, we have usually played out pertinent events in our heads, even rehearsed our responses, but this one I wasn’t prepared for. I hadn’t prepared for the possibility of having already had the last hug from my mum without knowing it, and without having had the opportunity to hold on a few minutes longer. The opportunity to tell her the things a mum should know every day, not just on her last day. I haven’t prepared for a time when I can’t ring her and ask her what to put down in my tax return. I haven’t planned for the time when I go home to Adelaide and she is not there anymore. I haven’t planned for the time when I can’t call her crying and know she will be by my side as soon as she can. Luckily, and despite the poorness of her current mental and physical health, she is still here, alive and kicking with her achy, tingly, smelly diabetic feet. I now have the opportunity to make my last hug count. The day after her heart attack, after a long day at the hospital I returned home to her house for a sleep. We opened the door and looked around at the lounge room left as it was the moment she was put in an ambulance. Her clothes over the back of the chair, her makeup all over the bathroom and her little black shoes beneath her place on the couch. This could’ve been all that was left, and thank God that the image of her little black shoes won’t be the last thing I see of her. I hadn’t planned on ever losing mum, so now the plan is to have no plan at all. Every hug will be the last one.

It is funny how life changes. How what you had planned on never seems to go according to schedule. I am sure my husband is right. It is time to relax, take it easy and take it as it comes. And just hope I am ready for the next detour.

Third Time Lucky or Three’s a crowd?

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So those of you with children will be familiar with the mad battle that us 20 to 40 something’s have from time to time. Life is going smoothly, the kids are getting older and dare I say ‘easier’. The baby bags are getting smaller and at times can be forgotten altogether . No more looking down at my hands at the supermarket and realising there’s actual poo on them, and no more frantically searching for somewhere to expose my underwear, floppy belly,breasts and nipples to strangers whilst trying to convince myself  that it is totally normal to do so in order to feed my child.    ( which I still have not achieved and sorry guys I will just never be a’ just yank it out,’ type of gal ‘)

The nights are beginning to feel like nights again- full of sleep and guilt free red wines. Then there’s me. I am standing at the station waiting for the train…one is headed to ‘Normal Town’ where bodies have returned to a semi-human looking state after housing two big boys and then the  brain is beginning to turn back towards ‘worky’ type things rather than the big issues in life. Like When will Playschool tour Brisbane again? and Did you know that the new cafe down the street has a kids play area ? #serenity #newhome #myshout.

I can finally start to sit down with my child-less friends for at least one sip of coffee before running off mid sentence to capture a pint sized escapee who becomes an expert at locating the nearest $2 shopping centre ride. Within minutes of seeing your weary bottom hit the chair the toddler radar is alerted to the next colourful target. (This months $2 mechanical miracle ride is the Peppa Pig’s rotating rocket, conveniently located right outside the coffee shop.)

Then there is the other train…roaring into the station at full steam ahead, it’s the train back to what I affectionately like to call ‘Crazy Town’. Yep, that’s right the one where you and your husband discuss ‘trying for a third baby’. I mean what a great idea! Life is good, life is calm, let’s go muck it all up, rewind ourselves a few years and head  back to crazy town! Are we nuts? There are days where I think, I can’t even handle the two I have, why would I add to this madness? It wasn’t so long ago that I couldn’t even do food shopping without my chicken being hurled from the trolley at passers by and my watermelon being poked to death by little fingers…..well actually this was last week (boys and shops huh!)

Though it seems everyone has an opinion on the matter. Having two beautiful boys, people just love  telling us how we should be trying for a girl. Yes if I am honest, despite being a huge lover of boys, with two beautiful baby boys already of course I would love a girl to finish our family. Admittedly I  wouldn’t know what to do upon opening a nappy with no willy in it, but am up for the challenge. However, we go into this decision knowing that due to family history the odds are stacked and a third boy will be our  cherry on top. We go into this decision trying for a third healthy baby, and not for a girl. When this baby business started we just wanted three humans in our life….so lets not get picky.

Then there are those from 3 sibling families who say the dynamics were a nightmare. Three’s a crowd they say, ‘there’s always one left out’ or ‘there’s always a weird one with three’ . We get it. Three means new car, new house and no holidays until 2099, but  I just don’t feel finished at 2. Maybe it’s because I myself am from a two child family. Maybe it’s because I feel like my brother was my best friend, and with just two of us, when he’s not there, I have no one. Maybe because I loved the chaos that would occur in the morning at my best friends house with four kids running around. I am sure she got sick of constantly sharing a room with her sisters, or getting hand me downs, but I am also sure she is grateful today for those memories. Or maybe it is because even at my age, I still hate being alone.

So the next  train to crazy town is fast approaching the station, and I am pretty sure we will hop on and see where it takes us.

(NB- for friends and family this train will not be leaving until after Christmas due to mummy’s appreciation of wine during the festive season)

Oh and I almost forgot, If you are one of three and are sitting there thinking, “What is she on about?, there wasn’t a weird one in our house” then it was probably you.

 

 

One Lovely Blog Award: The Soundtrack to my life so far…

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So I have been blabbing away on my Blog for well over a year now, and I have to say that we have experienced a ‘topsy turvy’ relationship. Some weeks are great, the writing comes easy, the stats are high and there are comments a plenty. Other weeks you sit down to write and wind up searching realestate.com despite having no intention of moving. You wonder if the views you’ve had have come inadvertently from a poor dyslexic stumbling their way through Google and finding you completely by accident. You wonder if your latest follower is just another marketing scam promising to boost your ‘Blogging Mojo’. Accident or not it is always nice to know someone is out there.

I still get so excited by new followers, and finding fabulous new blogs is still a thrill. It is especially heart warming to be nominated for ‘The Lovely Blog Award’ by my fellow Queenslander and former A- league Soccer Widow – Mrs C from Mammasvida: A Mamma’s Life Musings.  For a truly honest opinion on all things children, food, life and love head over and take a look. Thank you mammasvida for making me feel so normal, I often read your blogs and think ‘It’s not just me then’, and really admire your honest style. I could use a tip or two from you on how to be truly honest in your  writing without offending your friends, as I am getting to the stage in ones Blogging life when those who know you personally, call you frantically shouting ‘I hope that  blog isn’t about me’.

In keeping with the ‘I’ve been nominated but don’t want to bore every with 7 things about myself again’ theme, I like those have gone before me will create my Lovely Blog Award with a twist.

My 12 Songs: The soundtrack to my life so far …..

Now let me just start by saying, I certainly DO NOT have these songs playing in my car. They are not  my TOP 12 songs in order, or even songs I like, but more the songs that have been chosen for me. These are the songs that when we watch our lives back in slow motion will remind us of  that time in our lives. The songs that take us back to our greatest moments and also the lowest moments in our lives.

1# Nothings Going To Change My love for You: Glen Medeiros, 1987.

I’m not sure how well you would go here but his is actually the first actual song I can ever remember hearing. I was 4 years old, living in the UK (pre-immigration). I remember seeing this film clip on what would have been one of the earliest ‘Video Hits’ shows in London . Terribly, Terribly tragic song, with an even worse film clip. Oh Dear! Child of the 80’s.

2#Give Peace a Chance: John Lennon 1969. Shortly after arriving in Australia I remember by mum and dad playing this on the old record player in our very first house. Usually 2am in the morning after being at the pub and often involving discussions about being homesick or late night calls back to family in England. Some nights it was happy and some nights it was sad.(Often played with Bonnie Tyler and Tina Turner’s greatest hits)

3# Stylistics: Any song, any year. I remember my mum finding this CD in our local Brashes store and being so exciting about it. I too was excited for her until it became the ‘I’ll be playing this very loud for the next 3 hours while I clean the house‘ soundtrack. Will always remind me of my mum.

4# Enya: Only time:2000. This song was played on repeat by my midwife while I laboured my first son in 2010. Being very much the opposite of an earth mother, I refused to make a birth plan or CD like all of the other very  ‘interesting people’ at my birthing class. Who the hell will notice what is playing when a human comes tearing its way out of you like alien life form?’ is what I was thinking. Well turns out you do notice. It probably wasn’t on repeat, but after 18 hours I guess I heard it a few times. Still makes me cry when I hear it, in a good way. I never really listened to the words until afterwards. Such a happy day.

6#Time of Your Life:Green Day:1997. This song reminds me of being a teenager. First parties. First Drinking. First Boyfriends. High School and all that went on in those 5 awkward and horrid years. Also reminds me of the Adelaide Crows (AFL) winning back to back premierships and having a party to celebrate.

7# Fields Of Athenry: Various. This song is important for many reasons. Firstly my Irish heritage meant many family gatherings were spent listening to Irish music. In his younger years I remember my Grandad entertaining at his house with his old tape recorder on the kitchen ledge leaned as close as possible to the fly screen so he could belt out his Irish Tunes into the garden. This song was played at many family events. This was also the song I danced to with dad at my own wedding. We had planned it out for years and when it finally happened, I don’t remember there being anyone else in the room. A moment we had waited for since I was a little girl and one I will remember when I am an old woman. A good memory of the way we used to be.

8#Incubus: Any song, Any year. Reminds me of my husband. Is one of his favourite bands. I have it as my ring tone when he calls. Even our children know the words.

9#Dream Catch Me, Newton Falkner. 2007. This song was still playing in 2008 when I first started seeing my husband. We had only been together a year or so when he asked if I wanted to move with him to the Gold Coast with him for his Soccer Career. Not  one for chasing men and definitely not one for following them interstate,  this was a huge decision to make. Turns our it was the best one of my life but I still remember questioning if I was doing the right thing at the time. I remember this song always use to come on the radio when I was thinking about it.

10# Standby Me: Ben E King.1961. This was our wedding dance. Classic song. Enough said

11#I won’t let you go. James Morrison:2011. Another song from our wedding. Just love the words to this one.

12#Let It go.Idina Menzel (Frozen Movie) :2013. Whilst we are still subjected to listening to this torturous song on Youtube three times a day, I just know this will one day make me smile and think about my beautiful little boys standing on our bed and singing it together.

 

So there you have it My top 12 songs and my  ‘One Lovely Blog Award’  I would love to hear yours!

Have a great week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other words…..best ‘net’ words of the week

I can’t seem to find my words lately. I know they are in there somewhere, but when the world gets messy they are usually the first casualty. So instead of my usual rants I thought I would steal the words of others. Despite loathing many of the cliche’, self promoting texts and meme’s that float through social media,  Every now and then someone will send me one that will make me genuinely belly laugh, or strongly resonate with me. These are some of the recent ones that have made the famous ‘so funny I will screenshot them’ collection.

 

Enjoy!

 

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I love this one…….I do wonder sometimes if the ‘excessive’ status updater’s are trying hardest to convince others of something they don’t quite believe themselves?

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mmmmm…..I am very guilty of this one, perhaps why I laughed so hard on reading it.

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enough said……….Sadly I am sure you could all think of someone this could apply too.

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Beautiful…not too sure if it was actually Shakespeare, but worthy all the same. The sad thing about this one is those playing the game are often too self absorbed to notice that no one else is playing any more.

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Okay I know….this one is very juvenile but I am constantly listening out for strange sounds in night, as my husband is often away working. I can soooooooo imagine this happening in my house! I am thinking I’d go with the laugh……..

 

 

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I am so SICK TO DEATH of people saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ after something has gone wrong. Yes…thankyou for stating the obvious…but sometimes shit things just happen, and not because of some divine intervention but because of sometimes people just do shitty things to each other!

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LOVE THIS ONE ……..You have officially entered parenthood when you do this at 4am on the way to the toilet. You get back into bed hopping around on one leg wondering how the bloody hell the Lego even got into your room. Usually a few choice words to go along with this one.

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Ha! Pure brilliance…………that is all.

 

 

Anyway….hope you enjoyed my ‘cheat’ post for the week. If you have any that will make me laugh…please forward:)

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Why Rooms Get Smaller and Heroes Must Fade Away

 

 

Last week at school was our Sports Carnival. It is always a fantastic day for the children and for the staff. It is one of those days when the barriers between students and teachers dissolve, it becomes house team against house team and for a small moment in time we are our student’s peers. Our Academically weak shine on the sports field, and for that one  day of the year they become ‘Top Of The Class’. It is also a day that proud mums and dads line the sidelines to catch a glimpse of their son or daughter, most taking time off from a busy day at work, to support their little person as they run what seems like the longest race in the world. 

One older sibling had come to support his brother, after having left primary school several years ago he as enjoying his trip down memory lane. He approached us teachers in the tents for a chat and a catch up. One thing he said has remained in my thoughts every day since we spoke.

 ‘I remember my last sports day here, but the oval seemed so much bigger than it is today’. Of course in reality the oval had never changed, but the young boy who once ran here had turned into a man. His body had matured, his perceptions had changed and his ‘present’ had become reflective of his current circumstance, he was now an adult.

It got me to thinking about how as children we must experience growth and change in order for us to move forward as well adjusted adults and with this change, comes an acceptance of adult truth.  Yeah sure it was warm there, it was safe there in our minds while looking at aspects of our life through a child- like lens, but this lens is not reality, it is not what is ‘real’. We protect our children from the evils around us by allowing them to use this ‘lens’, because without it, people are just a bunch of pretty shit adults who practice little of what they preach, and for at least 18 years we want to help shield them from the truth. The Tooth Fairy, Santa, fake phone calls to the police when you try and con your son into owning up to a petty theft,  it is all part of this rite of passage.

I look back on my childhood and how lucky I was to have many heroes in my life. As a little girl I remember looking to these people as the light on my garden path, I looked to them for truths and in the most part modelled my own adolescent morality on what I was ‘taught’ was the right way to think and believe. At the time, through my ‘lens’ they were one hundred percent an authority on life and living. Sadly, as age and maturity would have it, with each birthday I clocked, a little more of the lens became cloudy. Each year a little more hurt, a little more let down, a little more tired of waiting, a little more ‘used’. The invisible cloaks that those close had held up to protect us slowly but steadily fell to the floor, what we thought were our foundations had become complete bullshit and replaced with not so nice things and not so nice people. There will always be those in our childhoods who claim high morality,  who are quick to condemn those not living up to the high standard they are faking for themselves, but soon enough  ‘reality’  has to step out of the shadows. Rooms become darker, days become longer, school ovals became smaller and heroes must fade away to nothing. 

There are of course those who for whatever reason choose to stay living as ‘children’ and ignore this passage of truth. Blaming others as a child would, feeling a sense of entitlement, manipulating loved ones around them as a child would,  throwing their toys from the pram as a child does and making choices with no regard for consequences- as a child does. For these people you can only hope that in their lucid hours, they can still remember what is real, what is the truth, for it is only when we are truly alone that we are left with what is ‘truly’ right. You can lie to others, but you can never successfully lie to yourself.  Maybe in those hours when the consequences of the ‘victim’ mentality’ are the loudest thoughts in their minds, they can see that it is actually an impossibility in life – that on every occasion it was always  someone else’s fault, maybe just one or twice being ‘right’ should have come second….and yet because of all of this they choose not to see that they are still loved, because it easier this way. 

If you are lucky, losing this childhood perception is hopefully your first real encounter with grief. Once you learn to accept that it isn’t really ‘anything you have really lost’ but more ‘what never really was’ you can move forward and try be the best adult and parent you can be.

To my dear boys, whilst I can never promise to keep you from the truth, I can always promise you this:

As a mum now I know that it should never be my child’s job to carry and protect me, but always my job to carry and protect my children. It doesn’t matter how old I get, or where life takes us……my love for you is paramount. There will never be anyone more important in a mother’s life than her own children, and nor should there be, for the intentions of those not in blood, can never be as pure. You will never have to wonder if I choose ‘you’, for the answer will always be…..yes.