Today’s guest post comes from Sarah at Grenglish, who has long been one of my favourite bloggers. Last time Sarah guest posted for me – Just the One – the response was overwhelming, and I have a feeling this beautiful post is going to get just as much love…
Since becoming a mother, there are a great many things I find myself worrying about every single day.
I worry how well my son is settling in at school, whether he eats all of his lunch, and if it is possible for him to escape from the school playground without anyone noticing.
At home, I worry if he is watching too much TV, if we should be doing more crafts, and if he has wiped his bottom properly.
But these are all things I can observe and make changes to accordingly as we go along.
It is the bigger things that have the potential to keep me awake all night. The things that I have no control over. The sudden things.
Like, if something happened to him when I wasn’t there.
Or, to the Greek God(zilla).
What if something happened to both of us?
I worry who would pick him up from school, how they would break the news and where he would sleep that night.
I worry who will love our son if we both die.
I have many friends and family who I know would take him in a heartbeat. I trust he will have a roof over his head and be well looked after.
I know he will be loved.
But who will love him, really love him, as unconditionally and as completely as we do?
There are obviously many ways to give and show love, but could anyone love him in the way that was intended for me.
In my mind, it would be someone who understands me well enough to know the things I would approve of, and the things that I would not.
Someone who will raise him with the same family values.
Someone who totally gets us both and be as accepting of any quirky little ways our son may well inherit.
Someone who will take my husband’s place at bedtime every night and chat about the solar system, sharks, or favourite flavours of ice-cream.
Be as oblivious to his flaws and imperfections as only a mother can be.
Love reading, swimming, and bicycle rides in the park.
Take him to the cinema, rock pooling on the beach, and to see the tigers at the zoo.
Do things together as a family. Play board games, eat out at restaurants, and watch films under a blanket on the sofa.
But also, live close enough and be happy to make regular trips to visit both sets of grandparents. Split time over the summer holidays, Christmases, family occasions and birthdays.
Stand in for us at his graduation, his wedding, and the birth of his children.
Show him my blog, full of stories of how much he is loved.
It is a big ask of anyone. HUGE.
But these are the things that matter to me.
This is what I want for my son.
Although, I quite often fall short of my own expectations.
I can be lazy, impatient and selfish.
I am not always the perfect parent I wish for him.
In an ideal world I hope for a shinier, healthier, suped-up version of me. Someone who thinks like me, only is much better at it.
However, the reality of being a parent sometimes bears little resemblance to the ideal.
It is without a doubt the most wonderful feeling I have ever experienced and has brought so much love, joy and pride into my life. But, it can sometimes also feel overwhelming, exhausting and frustrating too.
I have no idea if the way I am choosing to parent my son is the right or wrong way. It is not like when you do get it right, someone comes along, pats you on the back and says ‘Good job. Well done”
People can often be quicker to criticise than to praise.
I just muddle through; hoping the decisions I make won’t come back and bite us on the bottom.
To me the only clear definition of being a good parent is to love much, laugh often, and listen always. The rest I believe can be worked out along the way.
My husband would argue that actively encouraging an interest in sport and academia are equally important.
He is right, but then so am I.
So maybe it is the question that is wrong.
It must be, because there is absolutely nothing about making this decision that feels right.
I totally get this. I think all parents do. I ticked that box long ago and then put it away to never be thought about again, because although it is the best choice, it still isn’t what or who I’d want for my children. It’s totally who I’d want in the worst imaginable circumstances, but it wouldn’t be me, and that would be awful.
I sometimes feel as though I’m getting through the years, chalking them up with relief as my children get old enough to grow away from me, and to eventually become independent. But that is equally sad, when I should be enjoying every minute of their youth.
Parenting really is the hardest gig.
What a beautifully written post. I have just had a little cry at the kitchen table! So so true. Thank you.
Oh my life – the tears are properly flowing here. All these feelings and questions and so much more. Beautifully written x
I agree so much with what you have written. I would stress to anyone the importance of making a will, and making sure that your wishes with regard to children and who looks after them are included in this, and that your families know of your wishes and more importantly agree with them.
It is a hard decision to make and it can cause hurt on both sides, but it has to be done, or your children could end up where you don’t want them to be,
Lovely post though.
I do this all of this too, beautiful post xx
Love this. I worry about it too and feel sad knowing there really isn’t anyone around who could take over. Love the line “love much, laugh often, and listen always”. Gorgeous.
Oh don’t! I worry so much about this all the time. I never even have it a second thought before I had kids.
The thing that gets me most is that my boys don’t even understand about death. They would think I had chosen to leave them and that breaks my heart most of all.
Beautiful post Sarah x
My parents were both dead by the time I was 18, which sounds older than it is, my sister and I had never so much as done a load of washing at this point… And so this bothers me lots re my own children, but you just have to have as much influence as you can day to day I guess. I hope I’m good enough as much as I know I’m lacking but each day really does count *cliche alert*
Love this, and thanks so much for posting it. Even if we live to be in our 80s, by which time our son will be in his 50s/60s, he is extremely unlikely (but we’ll never stop hoping) of living independently, or understanding that we’ve died. What happens then is the most heart breaking and unanswerable question we have ever faced and it’s strangely reassuring to know that other parents ask it too.
Everything you have written, I have asked myself. It always goes to a dark place. I find that it is, of course, best to be prepared, but something to look at, decide, and move on. The time I get to spend with my children is right now in the present. That is the most valuable thing I have to offer my children actually, time and attention. I work from home so sometimes it is easy to be physically present, but not really there at times. Each moment is precious and I am so grateful my children have so many people who love them who would step in if the worst happened.
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