A day when the heart is tender

How are you today? How is your tender heart?

Mine is aching, the constant stretching of the cord between my children and I feels hard this morning.

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I know that some days motherhood feels more tender than others.  And I am practicing allowing myself to sit with that ache.

To allow myself compassion for the pain,

I am trying to be gentle with myself in this constant tug away that comes with motherhood.

Be gentle with yourself today.

I shared this image yesterday, and I keep finding myself coming back to it, so maybe you need it too.

My daughter

It took a moment for her to recognise herself in this photo - her hat, her hair.

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There seems to be a woman present in the girl somehow, in fact she thought it was me for a moment (oh to be that beautiful!).

It's strange to sense her all grown up in these fleeting future woman moments. In them I see all my hopes for her tangled up with all my fears...

...and yet I can also see something of the beauty in my mothering as she walks across the beach so happy in her skin and her beloved floppy hat, lost in her own imagination, then swiftly switching her focus to confidently approach playmates and make new friends.

If this could only last forever...

If I could keep her strong and bold and rooted, in spite of a world whose messages will squash so much of this in her...

I don't know if that's possible. I feel like I'm only just getting back to being grounded in that feeling most of the time myself, nearly 40 years later.

Maybe all I can do is hope to fill her up with enough moments like this, and some of them will leave a trace that lasts into adulthood.

My hope is that she will return to that feeling more often, and sooner than I did. So happy in this precious six year old space.

My son

And what of my boy? 

My boy who doesn't reach out for cuddles in the way that he used to.

I'm starting to become the one who reaches out to him, and pulls him in.

And for a moment, he will stay there.  

Such a brief moment.

Until he's off again. Talking, explaining, moving around constantly as the words come, every sentence turned up into a question, a question he will answer with the next. And on, and on again.

He doesn't need my physical presence in the same way that she still does. 

In the same way that I need his.

This boy who talks of lego and rockets and pokemon, and the stories he reads, and the facts he knows, and the same rude jokes about nuts, on and on and on. Who draws us all out of the house to capture the dawn.

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There are so many words, so many facts he wants me to absorb, that I find myself easily distracted.

This morning, as I sat by the sea, I felt like I was failing him - all those times that I've looked at my phone for escape instead of forcing myself to stay rooted in his constant stream of words.

I had thought it was the details about the lego models that had caused me to step away - too many details making my brain fuse.

But as I sat in the quiet of the sea, allowing that ache, I realised that it was not just that...

...Without that familiar touch, that physical closeness that can root me in his world, I find it harder to listen, because I become aware of the incremental distance. The phone-checking is also a response to that pain, an attempt to numb it. Somehow in that moment of loss, I become untethered.

And I also realised that I am not failing him in those moments. Just as you are not failing your child in those moments when it's hard and it hurts, and it feels like we are barely holding on, when we do what we need to do to cope.

We are simply, and always, adjusting. They are pulled by their own current and somehow we must stay anchored in our own.

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And just as his stories of lego and rockets need to be heard, so does our tenderness at another stage of motherhood moving onwards.

And so, here I am, sharing my ache with you, knowing that you too have aches of your own.

We are learning. And we are doing our best. Which can never be perfect.

But it is always full of love. And with learning, and changing, and trying again. 

And sometimes it hurts. 

In those moments, know that we are all here, in this, with you.

Give yourself time to listen to what you need, allow what you feel, and above all, be gentle with yourself. 

With love, 

Pippa and Penny 

PS Join us for our #somum monthly chat in Mamas' Everyday Retreat on Weds 12 July from 8.30pm to 9.30pm

PPS Our next Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat in July is sold out, but keep your eyes peeled for the next retreat in September.