I know you felt perpetually tired. Even when you had a full night’s sleep, I know you were still exhausted from the challenge of raising two children.
I know you sometimes held us in the middle of the night and cried. I know you felt helpless and desperate because we wouldn’t sleep. I know you felt like you were the only person awake, holding a crying baby at 3am.
I know you had days where you felt like you were winning at being Mummy. When we were not having tantrums and we were sleeping through the night and not throwing food on the floor in restaurants. I know you felt like you’d cracked the parenting thing.
I know you had days where you felt like you were failing at being Mummy. I know you may have sat on the stairs and cried as I had a tantrum because I wanted to pour boiling water into your cup of tea at the age of three.
I know that you worried about us constantly. I know that you slept on our bedroom floors when we were sick. I know that if smartphones had existed when I was two, that you’d have been Googling ways to bring my fever down, to stop me vomiting, to help me sleep.
I know that some days you were super pro-active in making sure we ‘did things’. Baked or painted or went to the park
I know that some days you were so tired and fed up that you couldn’t be bothered and you settled on crisps for tea and The Raggy Dolls as entertainment.
I know that you made sacrifices for us. I know you stopped buying things for yourself because we needed pyjamas and new shoes.
I know you shouted at us sometimes. For reasons we deserved (when I cut my own fringe at age 5 and my sister’s – she was 3), and sometimes because you were just so frustrated that we wouldn’t do our teeth after you’d asked us seven times.
I know you sometimes got frustrated with Dad when he was at work and you were stuck at home with us all day. But I also know the warm fuzzy feeling you felt when you heard him reading us a bedtime story or giving us a bath.
I know that sometimes you wanted to go to work.
I know that, when you went to work, you just wanted to be with us.
I know that you cuddled us when we were hurt. I know you desperately wanted to make it better.
I know you read us stories. I know you sang us lullabies, despite having an horrendous singing voice.
I know you felt guilty. About everything. Treating us fairly. Working. Shouting. Crying. Watching too much TV.
But guess what Mum? I don’t remember any of it.
I don’t know any of it because I remember it. I know it because I do it.
I get it now.
Now I am Mummy and I do all of the above. I work, I shout, I cry, I bake, I paint, I sing (badly). I am tired, I make sacrifices, I read stories. I give cuddles. I feel guilty.
But my own memories are my consolation.
Because I only remember doing shows for you and Dad in the front room,. Holidays, sleepovers, car journeys listening to The Beatles (Cornwall) and Simply Red (Wales). Playing in the garden on Summer days. The personalised birthday cakes. Dancing lessons where you passed on your amazing talent. Making my clothes (I did not appreciate some of them but all is forgiven for that Forever Friends jumper you made me in Year 6). Doing my hair every morning. Watching Heartbeat on a Sunday evening.
I get it now Mum.
And I love you for it.
All of it.
Because I know it was hard and you did it all anyway. And I think you are amazing for doing it all. Which I suppose kind of means I must be amazing for doing it all too.
And I now realise how lucky I am. To have someone who loves me the way I love my own children is an extraordinary feeling.
And you Mum, are an extraordinary person.