Operation day

Dear Jasmine,

I’m writing you another letter because that’s what I find helps me when I’m feeling sad and heavy-hearted, as I am tonight. We’re so similar, you and me, with our sensitivities and our emotions. We feel things deeply and strongly and that’s a beautiful thing my sweet girl. I struggle sometimes to feel the way I do, to feel every ounce of your emotion and pain as if it were my own and to feel intensely sad about sad things. I sometimes wish I could switch off my overthinking brain and things might be easier, more black and white and more straightforward, but then, I wouldn’t be me, would I?

I always knew today would be difficult as of course it is for any parent who watches their child go through an operation, no matter how routine or straight forward it is. I also knew that your hyper-sensitivity to pain and touch and your unpredictable responses to strangers could add another layer of complexity to the mix. Your hyper-sensitivity isn’t just an excuse for challenging behaviours and big reactions and I’m sure it is something that plays a huge part in your everyday life and your responses to the world around you.

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This morning I arrived at the hospital to find Daddy in tears, having just had to hold you tightly in order for you to be sedated as not surprisingly, you didn’t go willingly. You weren’t persuaded by the strawberry tasting mask or the “special cream” for your hand as for you, those would’ve been warning signs, ever perceptive as you are. Daddy held you as you slipped into an unconscious state and I’ve never seen him as upset as after he left you in theatre. He loves you so much!

Later in recovery, I watched as you kicked and screamed in pain and in confusion, drowsy and delirious from the anaesthetic, a look of pure desperation on your face. I too had to restrain you as nurses attempted to stop you pulling out your cannula and strapped your arm with extra layers of bandages. One nurse commented about how strong and determined you were but I knew it was because the sensation of the cannula would have been hell for you, especially without explanation.

I watched as you pointed to your mouth and ears, indicating pain, crying out and unable to speak. I watched as you started to gag and as blood stained snot poured from your nose and I watched as your eyes grew puffy as you were unable to stop the tears. I watched you become increasingly angry with the presence of nurses, touching you and offering you things to cheer you up which you simply threw across the room in a rage. I watched as you took your first bite of food and realised how painful it was to swallow. I held you for an hour in my arms in the recovery room and nothing else mattered to me in that moment than making you feel better and stopping your tears.

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I watched you move so slowly all afternoon, with no energy, barely speaking at all and never once being able to smile. Not once. Not even in the pink princess dress or with a chocolate cake or crisps. I heard the slur in your speech and I heard you cry and moan, sad, confused and unable to comprehend what was happening around you. You have cried so much today and I feel each and every tear that falls from your face. You are searching for answers that I can’t give you yet and you are seeking security in any way you can.

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The adrenaline from today is wearing off now and my whole entire body is aching in pain. Your pain. Pain from the stress and the tension and pain from holding you down. You’re in the hospital now with Daddy because I’m at home with your sister and I am just longing to hug you and hold you tight. I just want to tell you how much I love you and that I’m sorry and that it will be OK but in these moments today, these intense and difficult moments, I haven’t been able to focus on the future at all. I haven’t been able to let thoughts of this being the best thing for you take up space in my mind and I haven’t been able to think about tomorrow being better than today and the day after that being even better too. Although I know these things to be true, today has just been about feeling and being present and allowing whatever emotions we’ve all got to be expressed and to be valid. We’re so often told to spend more time being present but when the present is difficult, we look straight to the future, afraid to just feel and be, even when it’s tough.

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I know you want to come home now and I know you want your special present. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling scared, I would be too. Daddy is there to cuddle you all night and I won’t let you out of my thoughts for one minute. You’ll be home tomorrow my big girl and Mummy isn’t putting any limits on special treats or TV time. The nurse even said it doesn’t matter if all you eat is biscuits, as long as you eat! We can cuddle and play and read and do all your favourite things for as long as you need to until you feel better and Jasmine, you will get better.

I love you so much and I’m so proud of you.

Love,

Mummy

x

 

 

 


Motherhood and the phenomenon of time

Time changes our children at a remarkable rate and time replaces our memories that were once so vivid with ones that have now become a little hazy, much to our disbelief.  Time changes the appearance of our children too. Longer hair, longer legs, a bigger smile. It fulfils for us a wish we made when they were babies, when we could only begin to imagine how they’d be as they grew and what a delight this change is to behold.

As our children approach their next birthday and become a year older, it becomes harder to remember them before, with the newer version of them forever replacing the older one even though really, they’re still the same. Layer upon layer builds up, each day providing new joys, new memories and new things to absorb. Do we have endless capacity to remember each and every change?

Photos and videos we took provide a heartwarming and beautiful way to remember times gone by yet also make us question how we let these moments pass and how, maybe, we didn’t realise then just how magical they were. Or maybe we did? We document first steps, first words, first birthdays, first shoes and first moments of everything in an attempt to lock these moments in time forever because otherwise, they just vanish. We can’t trust that our memories alone will stand the test of time in years to come.

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Newborn Jasmine

Time is a constant in our world and it is always moving forward, never stopping. A second will always be as long as a second has always been and a day, the same length too. Yet on some days time seems to stretch and drag and on others it races us to the finish line. Time reminds us that nothing, be it good or bad, lasts forever.

Time confuses our minds into feeling that the numbers can’t be true. “How can that have happened a year ago?” we ask, our minds searching to make sense of this confusion.  Our brains scramble that this week marks the start of year three of parenting yet day one feels like yesterday and in an instant we are stunned by how much time has passed, the proof being the child stood before us.

Time passing is a reminder of the need to slow down, to pause and to breathe and to take things in just as they are but then we remember that “slowing down” is simply a perception too because time waits for no man. Memories don’t stay as vivid as we believe they will. Not all memories anyway. The details slip away. What age they did that and what age they did this. Some of it is foggy now, not that it matters I suppose, as long as the memory itself still exists. It’s just scary how passing time makes us forget, isn’t it?

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Jasmine at 16 months, appearing to me now to be just a baby

Our children are constantly growing, blooming and changing at a far greater rate than we are, even though we grow as they do. Our child today, at nearly 3 is the same child she was at 2 because she was destined to be this way but who she is now was impossible to know as time doesn’t allow us to truly see into the future but just to live project forward using imagination.

Time makes things appear differently depending from where, or when, we are viewing them. Our once “so grown up” two year old now seems so baby-like to look back on. So small, so sweet and so young. At the time she’d never been as big as in that moment and so in that moment, that’s how she was. Now we are in a different time and therefore my view of that same child is warped and we are confronted with feelings of longing for that once so small child.

This childhood. This precious time of which parents so often speak. It is going so quickly though the speed of time has never changed. It is yet another perception. An interfering emotion. A desire to be able to hold on a little tighter to feelings and moments so that time doesn’t dissolve them as it so cruelly does and perhaps a desire too to speed things up sometimes, the long days, the hard bits, the not-so-fun moments.

We long for a way to be able to hold moments in time forever. That cuddle with arms wrapped round wide, that kiss on the soft and still chubby cheeks, that sweet and curious voice. We don’t want to forget that sentence that made us chuckle or that question that in it’s innocence made us momentarily remember childhood ourselves. Time allows our children to learn, to make sense of the world a little bit more each day. Time gives them the ability to experience life, moment by moment.

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Jasmine, one year ago today

Will time allow us to remember it all, to lock it up forever and have it all to look back on? The sacred details of the most wonderful moments that are a struggle to recall nowadays. Time often seems to be rushing us and it’s hard to keep up. It is the most precious commodity, each day only providing a finite amount, urging us in this quiet way to learn to live fully.

Time gifts us so much and is the gift that keeps on giving. Every day we are granted another day to Mother, to parent, to love and to laugh and to marvel at the funny games time plays with our minds. Every day we are given 86,400 seconds to use as we please. Every day our children live so presently as we, the adults, dart back and forth between past, present and future, forgetting so often that the only time that is truly ever guaranteed, is now.




To the lady who made my daughter cry

Dear unknown lady who made my daughter cry,

I do understand that what you did had good intentions, that you didn’t set out to make my daughter cry and that you were trying to be helpful. I do understand that it wasn’t the most convenient thing for my two year old to want to walk independently down the stairs of Oxford Circus Underground station by herself, at her two year old, slower-than-average pace, at a busy time of day on New Years Eve. She wanted to navigate those stairs by herself and why shouldn’t she, seeing as she does all other stairs by herself all day long. On top of that, her father and I had our hands full carrying her baby sister in the buggy downstairs because there’s no lift access at many of London’s major tube stations. Read More


“Excuse the face,” and other things Mums need to stop saying

“Excuse the face,” is probably something you’re either guilty of saying or privy to hearing amongst your Mum friends or maybe just your female friends in general. If it’s not that then maybe it’s, “I haven’t even put any makeup on today,” “gosh, I look so rough,” “excuse the bags under my eyes” or, “sorry I look such a mess.”  We are full of these apologies, prefixing conversations or meet ups with friends with a comment about our seemingly less than acceptable appearance, as if the need to do so comes as a priority before anything else we may want to say. Read More