Seb has made me cry today. Twice.
The first time was this morning at school drop off. What should, in theory, now be an easy thing has turned into a bit of a headache as Seb is very reluctant to go into his class knowing his brother has another 15 minutes of playtime. On paper, it sounds ridiculous, but the frustration of trying to get him into school (or come up for his bath, or not run into my neighbour’s house, or stop chewing the sleeves on his school jumpers etc etc) often feels like a relentless battle. This morning his refusal whilst trying to keep tabs on the other two, with the feeling that people were watching my struggle all coupled with the lovely mum who came over and offered to help and Seb’s kind TA who recognised I was upset and told me not to worry and we will take things one day at a time (and….breathe), was enough to make my lip wobble.
As seems to be the pattern, he went on to have a fabulous day. “His best yet” I was told. He was given the rather cleverly thought up and exciting responsibility of delivering the milk cartons to the reception classes…..where his brother is. He counted and shared the milk out and thrived in his important new role. The afternoon that followed was also great.
So at pick up, the mood was very different. He was chirpy, he had birthday treats from a school friend and I was chirpier too. Plus it’s Friday and his dad was home.
At bathtime he specifically asked for Mummy to help – something unusual as Dad is ALWAYS número uno as far as Seb is concerned. It was a lovely moment, the other two were already out and dressed and me and Seb had a laugh at drying his hair like Ernie McCracken.
Book and bedtime and simon and I trotted off downstairs to order a takeaway. I heard a familiar bottom bumping down the stairs and knew exactly who it was.
Seb came and sat next to me on the sofa. Then patted the seat next to him, squeezed his lips together and made the noise all people do when trying to coax a cat. Up jumped Moomin, our cat.
“Hiya Moomin” he said, and gently stroked her hair looking at her with his head on one side and the deepest, deepest adoration.
“I like cats” he said to me, making small talk.
“Moomin scratched me once. When I was little” he carried on. “She likes climbing. She climbs trees. And buildings. Oh. And sofas” he added chuckling to himself, all the while stroking her while she put her nose to his nose. “I think cats are really wonderful” he concluded. And it continued on like this for a while. I just sat observing him, looking at his beautiful eyes, counting his sunkissed freckles, not speaking, not wanting to break his train of thought. It was the most precious moment. My heart was thumping out of my chest.
And out of nowhere, I found my lip wobbling again. This little boy, who this morning wound me up so much I could have kicked a wall, chatting away with the most beautiful, eloquent speech and perfect observation. So tenderly and open and adoring and so unaware how deeply he had touched me. I hated myself for being so mad with him this morning and for the split second I had wished I was standing with the “other” mums and resented my path.
I’m not saying anything new here, but this little chap, that is now snuggled up under my arm on the sofa asleep, is the most incredible thing that has happened to me. He has shown me a depth of meaning I didn’t know existed. To love and be loved. An innocence with the purest of hearts, who sees the absolute best in everyone and everything, with (mostly!) no agenda.
I know the “other” mums are not looking at me or judging me or are even “other” mums, they’re just mums too, and lovely mums at that, but it’s just that moment when you are having a horrible situation and at your wits end and you feel so exposed and on show as a parent. My absolute worst fear is that anyone pities me. Days (well, moments) are often hard, but I consider myself very lucky to have Seb in our lives.
And if to have that I have to stand afar from the “other” mums, kick a few walls and cry with frustration, then it is something I will happily do a million times over……