While I love the Summer. I find this time of year really tough.
Bill finishes nursery for Summer on Friday. And it is, truthfully, just another reminder of the time I’m missing with him.
I have, slowly but surely, become immune to the updates in my social media feeds day-to-day. Preferring to be happy for my friends, rather than jealous. So I will like your paddling pool picture. Or the snap of your well-deserved glass of wine in the garden. Or whatever that might be.
But when Summer hits, it feels a bit harder. I’m still really happy for all of my friends. And that’s the honest truth. But it’s sometimes just harder to see.
My son has a tan line on his neck now, and his forearms. From the sun he caught when he wasn’t with me. He’s got one morning in nursery left and then he’s got Gruffalo hunts to go to, miniature train rides, days in the garden, or days just watching telly. He might make pizza with Granny in her kitchen. Or hunt down animal tracks with the magnifying glass that I bought him, saying in a whisper: “Shh, Granny! Animal tracks.”
And, well, I have to go to work.
And it’s fine. I work in a good place, doing good work, and I’m spending my time doing things that make me feel proud. And my bosses aren’t pricks. And I’m happy about that.
And work is what we need to do to survive.
But, as I was saying to Mark the other day, as we got to the train station:
Look at all these people, who are most likely going back to where they want to be. People looking tired. Sat on their suitcases. People running for the train home. The same faces I see every day as we wait on platform 4 for the familiar train back.
And isn’t it strange that, when you consider how fast time runs away with itself, that our we spend so much of our time trying to afford our lives?
I still consider myself to be a new mum really. In that every new year is a new element of motherhood for me. But Bill is three. He starts school next year and, in September, I’ll be applying for him to start the next chapter of his life.
One day my son is going to wear a shiny new school uniform. And he’ll do a cheesy grin in front of our front door. And I’ll probably cry.
But for now, it’s Summer. And I’m on the countdown to the one week of the year where I get to spend the most collective time with my son. Our family holiday. A whole week of us three. He isn’t taken away from me. He isn’t anywhere else but by my side.
I live for that week. I don’t get that at Christmas, now he’s the son of separated parents. And I live for that week because it was all I have ever dreamed of since the second I realised he was in my stomach. A tiny spot that was part of me, that eventually took over me and claimed my heart.
I feel like time with our children must be the greatest thing in the world.
But then I wonder if I’m actually allowed to say that? The most time I ever had with Bill, in my whole life, was eight weeks and five days.
And so I have started to think – do I long for it because I have no idea what it’s like? Do I understand what I’m talking about? And would I love it just the same if it was my every day?
But that’s like saying I’m not ‘mum enough’. That I’m not a proper mother now. And it brings so many questions to the table. Because what is a mother? Really? What is she?
Other people have feelings different to mine. Is the grass greener? Or is there a perfect balance that only some of us have found?
I must stop comparing myself to other mums. I must stop doing this to myself. But it’s hard when I feel like I’m failing at the simplest task – of just being there. Being his mother.
If it were not for money, I would be there. Because, when you break it down, and you consider why we are actually here, I really do believe it’s so we can make the most of it. This life will not last. One day it will be over and I don’t want to be full of regret for not spending my days with the people I love. Motherhood is constantly reminding me of how fragile everything is. It’s almost like I became a mother and I was asked to look at the world again, for a second time.
I love him. And he’s growing up. And I’m just not there.
And no one has invented a way to change that.
Bernard and his watch remain in my childhood. A time that is even further away.
And one day this post will remain in Bill’s childhood.
I hope I can either accept it. Or change it.
Or maybe one day it just won’t hurt as much anymore.