Motherhood is a bazaar rollercoaster of experiences for the most part. Nothing can really prepare you for the challenging and heartbreaking times, the times where you just feel so out of your depth and helpless. The times where you think you just can’t cope with some of the agonising sadness that blows through each season, like a gale force wind ready to turn your world upside down.
And let me tell you, no matter how many times you have been through it, no matter how may times you have been at this exact same point with your previous child/children, it just doesn’t get any easier. Not in the slightest. well for me any way.
My three kids couldn’t be more different. And why should they be? Why would they respond to things in the same way? They were born completely separate from each other. While they have been exposed to the same upbringing and have a similar frame of reference when it comes to how they see the world, they all have vastly different temperaments and have been on completely different emotional journeys from one another. I know this more than anyone, I am their mother. I watch them closely every day and witness the small details that many people from the outside never would.
But something in your heart tells, or better yet CONVINCES you that they will all respond to big milestones more or less the same. And more so that YOU will have gained a certain degree of resilience when it comes to the hard stuff as time goes on. I remember taking Brody to school for the first time and leaving him in tears thinking “It just doesn’t get easier. Even though I have had one child go through this already, I still feel so sore in my heart when I leave him crying everyday.” It was a realisation I made then – that no matter how much of an expert you think you are, no matter how many times you have mastered the art of dropping your child off at school in sate of despair, it never gets easier.
But then some time went by and when Hunter came around I really felt like she would be different. Or that I would be different. I mean I was the crackerjack of raising small humans, I was the master of fixing broken hearts, I was the top of my game when it came to ensuring my children and I were all emotionally in-tuned. I was in control of the way things like first days at school would roll out.
But all these assumptions came crashing down this passed week when on day 3 Hunny Bear realised her new reality and screamed for me not to go. I knew it would be hard, but nothing prepared me for the screaming and heartbreaking sobs as she tried with her little might to hold onto me. Leaving her in that state still felt so wrong to me, it felt so unnatural to ignore her plea for help. My mommy heart was torn between wanting to show her tough love (and leaving her to make sense of this new transition without me getting in the way) to wanting to reach out for her and offer her comfort and safety. I wanted to protect her heart from this (yes temporary) pain and silence her fears by BEING there for her. I sobbed more than I have in years on Wednesday. I just couldn’t help myself.
It never gets easier. My biggest lesson so far in 2020. No matter what, we will always want to protect, comfort and show affection towards our children. It’s a mother’s most natural instinct. I just really wasn’t prepared for it and, as I sit here thinking about her at school I can’t help but think about how many more moments there are going to be like this.
Moments where, even though she’s ready to leap forward into new and exciting opportunities, there will always be an underlying apprehension to the new and sometime scary things. As she grows up I think about her first Day of Grade One, her first ballet exam, her first drop-and-go party. I think about her first day of high-school, the day she writes her drivers test, the day she graduates from high school. I think about first dates, and first kisses behind the side of the house. I think about her leaving for university and possibly studying abroad. I think about her packing up her room to embrace a life on her own. I think about her wedding day and seeing her become a mom for the first time. I think about her.
All these big moments and exhilarating firsts. All these precious and joy-filled seasons, no doubt always fuelled by that slight hint of apprehension, but always, always worth it. And always without a doubt, with her mom right there beside her telling her that everything is going to be just fine, despite the nerves, despite the butterflies. More than that, telling her that whatever she does and no matter where she goes in this life, it’s going to be her best adventure yet.