Don't pity me

Writing this note makes me sad. It makes me sad because there’s no reason why I should feel like I need to write this. This, what I am about to write, should be implicitly understood and respected. But it is not. And so here I write - here I scream from the bloody rafters, if you will: being a mother is the best bloody thing I have ever done.
Do not pity me, do not think your life is better than mine because you can still fit into your size ten jeans and you go to sleep each night without mashed banana in your hair. It is not.
Do not assume I want to go on girlie holidays and now am sad I cannot. I can, by the way, but I do not want to. I want to go on holidays with my girl. I want to hold her hands while she feels the sea run over her chubby feet. I want to blow soft raspberries on her pudgy belly under a sun umbrella, hold her close to me in a swimming pool as she flaps with delight. I want to fall asleep in the middle of the day next to her and wake to her beautiful face next to mine, babbling. I’ll take the nappies, the shrieks, the lack of sleep. I’ll take it all fifty times over to have these moments with my girl.
I do not want to go to clubbing. I am 35 and clubbing makes me feel old. Although it’s not an age thing. I haven’t wanted to go clubbing for years. I want to lie in the still night and listen to my girl breathe and snort. I want to feed her in the half light of the moon. You like clubbing, I do not. But it is not as a consequence of being a mother.
Do not assume that my life is easy, do not assume it is hard. It is both. Loving her is easy and, luckily for me, natural. Parenting is hard, harder than anything I have ever done and infinitely more rewarding.
Do ask after her. She exists. Do ask how she is, what is she doing. You’ll see a light come on behind my eyes as I tell you. If you love me, you must love her.
Do continue to ask me out for drinks, meals, plays. Our friendship has not altered and I want to know what is going on in your life. I love you, but don’t pity me.

If I could reach younger me.

If I had to write a letter to my younger self I would tell her that everything was going to be ok. That all the people in your life that make you feel crap will be replaced by people who love you, who make the effort for you. Who want you in their lives so freakin much they travel across oceans to see you.

I would say that you can now look in a mirror and see something that is beautiful, and growing. Something that maybe isn’t perfect, but beauty never is. It’s something that is clever, and hard working and yeah, pretty.

I would say ‘don’t worry about your mum’.

I would say – guess what! You have two cats! And you will work for a magazine! When you speak, people will listen! Someone wants to marry you! And you’ve travelled to so many countries that people come to you for travel advice.

I’d give her a massive hug. I’d give that poor, broken, girl a massive hug. And I would say “you know what, kid, it doesn’t get easier to cope with the shit people throw at you. It’s always going to be really really rubbish when someone you love lets you down, or goes out of their way to dig their claws deep into you and rip out your heart, but you will be stronger and you will be able to cope with it.”

I would tell her that it’s ok to cry yourself to sleep, but it’s better to find a shoulder to lean on – those people are out there, and they do love you!

And I would say, kid, the best thing that’s happened to you is that you haven’t let this blackness shut your heart out. When you grow up you let people in. And yeah, sometimes they stamp on your heart. And yeah, it does hurt. But most of the time it feels amazing to have these people in your life. And the rest of them? You walk away from.

I would say, I love you kid.

pencil drawing by Morgan Ann LaRue