GUEST BLOG: "Dear Mum..."
A sincerely apologetic lad once said:
"Is it too late now to say sorry?"
And so today, Mum, I am asking you the same question. Begging for your forgiveness, after I've spent almost my whole life making yours so difficult.
I couldn't see what a little bitch I was. I didn't know what I was doing. I was blinded by myself, I was too wrapped up in looking out for number one, that I never truly realised what I was putting you through.
It only took 9 months of my body slowly stretching out of shape, 12 hours of my uterus trying to kill me, and my vagina ripping clean in half to make way for my own child - for me to truly realise what an amazing human being you are. How much you did for me that I didn't used to appreciate. And that's just the start of it.
I'm sorry for never letting you sleep. It was only when I was up all night pacing the halls with my baby that I realised how tired you must have been. I never knew real tiredness until I didn't have the option of sleep. I hated everything. My brain felt like it was made of scrambled eggs, I couldn't make sense of my own words, I cried every day. I never realised; that you too, endured that, for me. As my son grew older and started fighting sleep in more creative ways, I also realised why you used to tie my bedroom door shut at night. You are one smart woman.
I'm sorry for being someone that regularly contributed to your "never-ending list of shit to do." Cleaning. Cooking. Laundry. Nursing illnesses. Breastfeeding, then bottle feeding, then spoon-feeding, then force-feeding. Play-dates that are more for wearing me out because you and the other mum don't even have that much in common.Taxi services. School runs. Weekends taken up by sports, music, sleepovers, birthday parties. And always at the very bottom of that list.. Time for yourself. I'm sure you still haven't quite gotten there, given you've been all guns blazing since 1989.
I'm sorry for not loving you half as much as you love me. All of the epic tantrums I threw at you during my childhood when I didn't get my way (and the photographic evidence of me, on the floor in the local IGA that proves I was indeed, a little shit at times.) All of the times I took from you, and gave nothing in return. All of the fights in my teenage years ending in "I hate you!" - I never meant it. I just didn't know that discipline, as well as praise, is also a form of love. And now, when I get the same thanks from Jack, I grit my teeth and know that one day he will understand, just like I do now.
I'm sorry for the worry I caused you. I know now that a mother worries. I worry every time I feed Lachlan something new in case he reacts to it. I worry about Jack making friends at school - I just want him to be happy and loved wherever he is. I worry that three blankets on each of their beds might not be enough and that they might be cold at night. You must have had the same anxieties. And then some. You must have been worried when I got admitted with pneumonia, and when I caught chicken pox. You must have been worried sick on the nights I stayed out until 3am, and you had no idea where I was. Or the nights where I had no idea where I was, because I was blind drunk calling you from someone else's phone, begging you to come get me. I'm sure I contributed to more than my fair share of your greys.
I'm sorry that I grew up and left so quickly. Jack is now 4, and Lachlan is already 6 months old - and although they are still "little" now, they won't be for long. I can only imagine how quickly it must have gone with me. The one thing that makes growing up OK, is the look of love in your eyes when you hold your grandchildren. I hope that I am too blessed with more little loves, once my own have grown and flown - to help mend the loss of what will be their lightning-quick childhoods.
Most of all, I'm sorry that you had to go through this all five times, with me, then a little boy and three other little girls, who all came after me.
But I know for a fact now, that you wouldn't have had it any other way.
Now that I know - I can only spend the rest of my life trying to make up for lost time. Trying to be half the mother to my boys as I feel you were (are) to me - because I will be able to class that as one of my greatest achievements. I will try to let you know, every day, or as much as I can - that despite what I may have said, done or not done in the past - I appreciate you more than you could ever know.
I love you, Mum.