Without doubt there will be tears tomorrow when my children present me with the collection of paper they have spent the better part of today turning into ‘Mother’s Day surprises’. Already I have the hand-written card the six-year-old made at school, and which I needed a teacher to translate the writing for me. The accompanying cupcake decorated in class was eaten in the car on the way home, but not by me.
The eight-year-old has stashed her school-made gifts somewhere, and has promised there will be no sleeping in tomorrow (because why would I want that???). There’s also the
threat promise of a cup of tea in bed.
Today though, has been a day of contemplation of this motherhood caper, and how it affects me at my most intrinsic level.
My heart aches when they struggle, it soars when they succeed. My every emotion is plucked by their antics, words and appearance. There is nothing more powerful than my child’s smile; nothing more painful than their tears and fears.
I watch them and try to see their future. Imagine what paths they will follow, travels they will take, love they will find. My view is rose-tinted, but that’s how I like it – a picture of them bathed in a rosy, warm light.
I feel I’ve been at this parenting thing for ages, yet they are still so young. They have come so far, yet there is such a long way to go. And just as surely as these past nine years have thundered by, I know the next decade will show me no mercy in the speed and ferocity in which it will pass.
Each night when I hold them and wish them sweet dreams, I try and tell them how much I love them. But how to explain to a child the infinite size of a mother’s love? “To the moon and back mummy?” they ask. “No darling, much, much bigger than that.”
I love them with every cell of life on Earth. With every wish ever made on a star. With every sharp stab of remorse for getting it wrong. With every giggle from a tickle ever given. With every breath I’ve taken since they arrived.
I doubt they’ll ever know, but that’s OK, because they have created a love in me so wondrous and unconditional I could never have even tried to imagine it, let alone explain it.
A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands. But a mother’s love endures through all.Washington Irving