I was going to write this to you, my loves, when I ran up against that huge, vicious wall of reality which reminds me you weren’t ever going to be all I dreamed of. When I imagine who you might have been, I know I’m just kidding myself and indulging in a bittersweet fantasty designed to make an unpalatable reality less awful.
It’s Mother’s Day in the UK, and I think I might need to try to say goodbye…
Jesse, you were my first, and will always hold a place in my heart for making me a parent, even an invisible one. You left me shell-shocked with the breadth and depth of new emotion I felt in not-quite-having you, and missing you so, so much. I still try hard to believe that it was just ‘how things were’, and not that I didn’t deserve you.
Sam, you were always going to suffer from second-child syndrome – apparently that happens whether you make it out alive or not, as evidenced when earlier in the month I forgot the day I saw sweetly termed by another as your ‘Angelversary’. I wish I had remembered. I wish I could forget.
I still don’t know whether I like that idea. I don’t think either of you would be angels, for one second! I hope you would have been full of mischief and gumption and character….there I go with the hopes again!
Well here’s a hope, my loves: if I manage to somehow get it right, I hope I get to meet you, when I’m good and done with this life. I hope beyond anything that that’s something we get to do. And I hope that you’re both whole and happy and huggable, and who you should’ve been if the complexities of DNA and the brokenness of this world hadn’t nixed your chances before you had any.
A year and a half is not enough to get over this, and a lifetime won’t make me forget you. But here’s to Silver Linings, my dear children:
If I’d ever enjoyed the privilege of (visible) motherhood, there are some fabulous women who I admire so much, from whom I would have liked to have learned. They would undoubtedly have taught me how to do better at doing the job of mothering. Often they still help me out, and teach me how to do better at just being human. There are lots of mums I know in ‘Real Life’ who do an awesome job, but here, in the Blogosphere, I’ll keep things straightforward and share the ones I know onscreen.
Ten (and then some) Mothers of Thankful*
Christine – whose life is full of taxi-ing her children around, teaching them compassion, care for each other (and others), and FUN. She takes them on adventures and makes time for each of them individually, too. She strives to learn more about each of them so that she can parent them better. She brings me such hope, because her children know SO MUCH that they are loved.
Dyanne – has raised children with incredibly caring hearts, and who has promised to live to 106 so that they’re never out of freshly-stocked toilet paper. She’s also demonstrated how unconditional and incredible mother-love can be.
Kristi – whose absolute unwillingness to accept that her special-needs son might grow up in a world which rejects him for who he is, has resulted in her taking not just small steps, but HUGE GREAT BIG ONES to try to change the world. For him. And I am privileged to watch as person by person, she succeeds at spreading empathy, compassion and wonder.
Sandy – not only has she raised her children well, she’s raised them BRAVE, as evidenced the other week, when in an emergency with a rip-current (which could have gone so horribly wrong) her daughter battled and fought to save the younger children from its grasp. Not only that, but her daughter also writes the most incredible poetry…there are two writers in this family.
Dana – and two writers in this one, as well, because Dana once let her daughter, Gwen, write a post for her blog, and it was beautiful. Dana, whose heart is so beautiful, she’s promised that when her daughter wants a hug, she will never let go first…
Chris – she encourages her children so, so much. She’s been through hell and back for them, constantly trying to protect them and find ways to keep them healthy and whole, and puts absolutely her whole self into loving them and nurturing their gorgeous spirits and helping them become wonderful, compassionate, understanding, people.
Laura – in laying paths for the future, she has written each of her children a ‘hack list’ for life, sharing with them the most important things for each of them to take on board – the most precious, important lessons she can impart to them about growing up, so that they always have it to refer to.
Starr – who amazes me by her sheer strength of will, her tenacity and determination to move the entire universe if she has to, to make a better life for her boys. And she’s done it, too.
Kimberly – who fought one of the hardest fights of all: to love her son in spite of not feeling it – who showed immense persistence and grit in the face of PPD, which made her feel like she couldn’t love him, and she damn well did it anyway. And did it damn well, at that.
Kerri – who celebrates so hard when her special-needs daughter achieves another milestone she was told might be impossible. Who does the unthinkably hard things; the unspeakably painful, in ensuring that Boo has the right treatments. And who does all this whilst trying to maintain the balance with caring for her older, ‘normal’ daughter.
Katia – with gentleness and great humility and love, this wonderful, thoughtful writer is raising two sons, the elder of whom could make Socrates’ heart break with the wonder at the depth of philosophy he speaks about life.
Jen – who fights for a safe world for her son, who celebrates every part of his glorious Isaiah-ness, and who shares him with the world as a bright, amazing, incredible boy full of sparky ideas, and challenges the preconceptions of anyone who would try to make him stay ‘in his box’.
Kate – who has showed me that adoption can make your family whole. Who has been honest about the particular challenges and pitfalls it can bring, even whilst she manages her brood with humour and panache. And once she finishes moving house, she’s (probably) going to get back to the book she’s writing all about it…
Janine and Beth – both of whom are doing me absolutely the hugest honour, by letting me taste what it’s like to belong in this group – who have allowed me to set Niece and Neff up with their children as pen pals, and who let me be part of this wonderful, amazing thing, just a tiny bit, and I’m so grateful…
And so I dedicate this post to all of these wonderful mothers, and all the mothers out there who I haven’t featured. And every mum who’s trying her best to raise her children in the best way possible, for their sakes.
But my heart stays, as it must, with those who are my side of motherhood – who don’t have it but yearn for it. Who are hurting and angry at the chances they haven’t had, or the chances which were taken from them. Who were rendered non-mums by tragedy or circumstance. And indeed, to every woman here who has lost a child, at any stage, and whose mother-status and person has been rocked to its core by that stark fact.
My thoughts are with you, and I wish you the very shiniest of silver linings, so that your eyes can be sparkled with wonder and opportunity and joy, rather than glittered with tears. And I pray that one day, your life is so full of Goodness, that sometimes, for a while, you forget.
*I didn’t need to dance for the GuardVirgins. I stood before them and quietly explained why this weekend is so hard. They hugged me and fetched the Book of Secret Rules (or Secret Book of Rules), all carrying it together, respectfully and with great solemnity. They let me hold it, and I raised it up to the skies and cried out, because I’m already breaking the rules by listing more than Ten. And I’m probably going to break them further by not making it to everyone’s blog within the bounds of the weekend. Or maybe at all, this time, because I’m just breaking.
So I hope if you’re one of the people I miss, you’ll understand, and not hold it against me.