Today I am wearing a pair of gold earrings that once belonged to my mother. They are small, golden swans and they were my heart’s desire when I was a small girl. I still remember looking into my mother’s jewellery box; a treasure trove of necklaces, rings and bracelets. But nothing could compare, in my eyes anyway, to those golden swans. How my little heart ached for them. But they could only be worn in pierced ears! My parents would not allow their eight year old daughter to pierce her ears. So I sighed with longing every time I spied those two swans, certain my life would be complete if they could only be mine.
Time passed and I became a teenager. The day arrived when my mother took me to the local jewellers to have two holes punched in my ears. Oh the pain! But the sparkly ear lobes more than made up for it. By this time I had forgotten about the golden swans and by the time I remembered them I was heavily into silver hoops which were all the rage in the mid to late 90s. I thought I was the height of cool one day when I wore ripped jeans, a faded plaid shirt and two silver hoops in my ears. Rock on sister! Definitely glad there was no Facebook back then. My fashion mistakes only exist in my memories!
It was only in my late twenties that I finally fell back in love with the swans. But my mother was not ready to part with them and so another five years passed before they became mine. I don’t think my mother realised the joy I got when they came into my possession. They are such a symbol of my childhood, a relic from a time when being a grown up meant simply gold earrings and lipstick. My eight year old self didn’t know about mortgages, job stress or the joyous pain of being a parent but she did know a pair of gold earrings can make even the rainiest of days that bit brighter. So today I wear my swans in memory of that little girl. Maybe my own little lady will one day fall in love with them herself.
This morning I read yet another article cajoling us to be grateful with our lot as parents. I must admit that sometimes I get heartily tired of reading this claptrap. I’m sorry but to be brutally honest sometimes its bloody hard to be grateful…there are the moments when you have been awake since 3am and its now 6am and you know, you just know you aren’t going to get any sleep and if someone tells you be grateful for this time in life well you might just scream! Be grateful for sticky hands (thanks that was my new top), the sleepless nights (that no concealer can quite conceal) and the fact you don’t have five minutes to yourself.
Attached to this article was a poem that when I first read it (a few months ago) made me well up and hug my rugrat even tighter. Since then I’ve read it on numerous occasions in various moods. Today I read it and thought oh what utter crap! That was the mood I was in. It’s called ‘Once Last Time’ and it is basically about how children are only small for a very short time and that one day it will be the last time you rock them to sleep, the last time you hold their hand and the last time you wipe their s***** bottom (okay I made that last bit up). Essentially the perfect poem to read when you are close to tears and feel like a bad mother. Worry no more this poem will make you feel like one.
Just for the record I know my tiny lady won’t be tiny forever and I am so grateful for her and I would never want this time to just fly by me, unacknowledged and unappreciated. But I can’t pretend I am grateful for every moment or that in the midst of wiping wee off the carpet that I thank my lucky stars. Sometimes it sucks to be a parent. Yes it just sucks. It is like being tortured by a very small, very cute master villain who knows all your weak spots and can bring you to your knees in mere minutes. And sometimes you might want to run very, very far away.
You are not a bad parent for wishing this. You are not a bad parent to long for the day your child can wipe their own s***** bum! Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. In the midst of whatever our current situation of course you will look back (through rose-tinted glasses) and think oh how I wish I knew how lucky I was back then. This poem is nostalgia at its worst. You may well look back, as an older person, and wish for these days again. But that’s because you will have long forgotten the vomit-filled days and tear-stained nights.
Now if you should read this poem I suggest you mentally tear it up. Don’t attach it to your fridge or burn the words into your brain. Yes we will have lots of ‘one last times’ as parents but we will also have so may firsts. Aren’t these worth celebrating and focusing on instead? They also come with the positive addition of not making you feel guilty!
So give yourself a break, don’t feel guilty that you aren’t ms. or mr. grateful one hundred per cent of the time. None of us are.