To infinity and beyond

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By Ellen Fussell

For about 4650 days, I have been responsible for other little humans. For that many days my first waking thought has been about the little boys who sleep down the end of my hall. An incredible phenomenon when you consider we first bonded through a parasitic relationship, which, in my case, was best described as endured and far from glowing and pleasant.

Every day I wake and hope to be a better Mum. The beautiful, softly spoken, loving, peaceful, vanilla-fragranced and homely creature who wakes her children from their sleep, helps them dress in freshly laundered and ironed clothes, serves a home cooked breakfast and smothers them in love, care and kisses. Sending them joyously off to school for another productive day.

But despite my sunrise intentions, the reality is vastly different, even when sponsored by caffeine. I start by waking them peacefully. But after about 3 attempts, my voice rises as I try and get myself ready for work in between escalatingly less-kind “It’s time to get out of bed” reminders. A search for my own clean pants or a battle with the hair straightener distracts me and before I know it I’m calling out from the other end of the house “GET OUT OF BED NOW OR WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE”.

The chorus of “I can’t find my…” is deafening as I begin the culinary juggle of two different types of eggs and tea/water/milk/hot chocolate in between working out if the bread is fresh enough to make lunches. Reminders pop up on my phone: Band starts at 8am, take the iPad, excursion here, sport there and I tick off the imaginary checklist in my mind.

Hair, teeth, deodorant, socks, glasses, bags packed and “Mum, one of my school shoes is missing” as the clock moves at warp speed towards the time I need to race out the door. A note materialises that was due three days ago and I receive the first news that a costume is required by tomorrow or the world will end. Suddenly my calm, cool and collected facade avalanches to the kitchen floor, which already happens to be covered in crumbs despite being mopped yesterday.

Our day is less than an hour old. But as I kiss those dishevelled and half dressed boys goodbye my heart is overwhelmingly full of love for them. Even though for one of them I need to reach up to get my hug and kiss, each day I look at them for just a second longer than necessary and wonder how, despite all my parenting shortcomings, that they seem to be turning out just fine, and even sometimes quite likable.

So my beautiful boys, my birthday wish for you this year is that you remember these days. And as you grow older and wiser you remember your little mother and know that every day I tried to give you a better day. But life can be hard, and being a parent requires no training or qualification other than an unlimited supply of love. And of that, I have infinity and beyond. I hope it is enough.

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    • Simon Faivel
    • September 6th, 2017

    So beautifully written Belinda

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