Stepping out of my own lack and into her abundance.
What kept me sane was knowing that things would change, and it was a question of keeping myself together until they did.’
- Nina Simone
So perhaps this being alone on a Sunday is becoming a ritual. Papa B and Kid E are out visiting his family and I’ve had the entire day to myself again. With the first week of the ‘summer' holidays (London, you played yourself!) firmly behind me, I feel as though I’ve got a good balance regarding the weeks activities; two ridiculously expensive days out, one day at home, another two doing fun (ahem, free) things and then push her in the direction of Papa B come the weekend.
I haven't been too well this week, which meant a lot of the time Esme and I were out, I was thinking about being home, in bed, with a damp flannel on my head. Mature and receptive, she's been giving me lots of kisses and cuddles and even shouted a firm ‘Get better Mum!’ before bouncing out of the door this morning. But that still doesn’t take away the guilt.
It doesn’t help that it’s the summer holidays and unless I was with my father for the first half of it, I was not enjoying myself. I’m very aware of the memories I have regarding those times and I work so hard to ensure that it’s nothing but joy for Esme.
But it’s still a work in progress as I never wanted to do this. I was never one of those young women doodling baby names into the back of their weekly planner. Motherhood was never a goal for me. The way it had always been sold to me is that whilst children were a hindrance the embarrassment of an abortion was far too overwhelming, so most women gave birth only to complain about if for the rest of their lives. I was never inspired by any mother I saw. I was saddened by them. They made it clear that there were far better ways they could've been spending their time and God forbid if the father had done a runner, you were in for an ear bending afternoon.
This all changed when I met my Dad’s girlfriend.
When people speak of that magical motherhood gene, she had it. As the universe has since taught me it’s always those with the most innate skill who struggle to acquire the desires of their heart. But try as she might, she was never able to carry a child full-term. It became common to arrive at my fathers and find the spare room draped in darkness, with sporadic soundtrack of tears wafting down the staircase.
‘Oh, she’s not too well.’ Dad would say.
As a Mother myself, I now know that was a code for another miscarriage.
And as a more mature woman, I now understand the not everyone can just get pregnant and carry a child to full term. Meeting women who struggle in this department has made me check some of my own privileges and made me slow to speak as you never know the battle of another woman below the belly button.
Of course now Esme is here, I couldn't imagine it nor want it any other way. But, I am a Mother like no other.
‘Mum, I didn’t say fuc*ing hell, I said effing hell instead!’ she gleefully pointed out the other day.
That was a reminder that I have a LOT of work to do. But we are steadily leaning into and learning from one another. She goes ahead just far enough to put some tension into the invisible reigns and at that point, I get myself together.
For a long time, I used to focus on what I had not received. I spent a lot of my time feeling like a burden, chastised because of my fathers behaviour then turned into a pawn to get him back. Doctor, sister, friend but never daughter. And I often wondered how I would dare to be what I cannot see. But now Esme is here, it’s all crystal clear. I felt guilty this week because I’ve been that forgotten child in front of the TV, wondering if my sheer existence was an annoyance. And I’ve also been that child whose self esteem was so inflated, I genuinely believed there was nothing I could not do, and as life went on, I’m most sure that the latter served greater purpose.
So, we have five weeks left. Hopefully I will get better, be able to cast the guilt aside and really enjoy this summer Esme and I have together as it’s definitely going to be the last summer of it’s kind. With all of the changes we have planned as a family (wait, is that God I can hear chuckling?’) this summer is perhaps the last moment of calm before it get’s a little chaotic. Whilst as a unit, we thrive off of said chaos, stillness is always appreciated.
And perhaps this is the duality of a lot of Mother’s. Us wanting to show a our children a joy we never had but knew we needed. Us having to step out of our own lack and into their abundance, making sure to give them a fairer view of Motherhood.
I don't know.
But that is where I am today.