I stare at you across the table. When did I stop being excited by how much you’re growing? When did your milestones become more expected than exciting? Why is parenting so hard?
You have been through so much, this year. I see it on you, and I feel the pain with you. It is a year we will so vividly remember, while wanting to forget.
So many changes, so much indifference. So many times you’ve been told to hush, so many times I’ve told you I’m ‘too tired, Eddie!‘ and I am sorry.
We are sat in the quiet as your sister naps, your tongue is sticking out and your brow is creased as you concentrate.
I love the way you leave the little white spaces in your all black ‘Minecraft’ drawing. Carefully placed, to give the impression of the creatures eyes.
You are sat twisting and turning, observing how the paper can be used to facilitate your wild, fun and crazy little imagination.
You are shuffling on the cushion, trying to get comfortable to complete your next masterpiece.
Your sister is sleeping, so I take the opportunity to sit and watch you, my masterpiece, at work.
You, like me, exist among the wash of voices. The every day incessant rumble of incomprehensible speech..yet you don’t cry.
You don’t complain, not ever. I watch you merely try your best to adapt, to find the fun.
You aren’t looking for purpose or reasoning, innocently, if not somewhat naive, you search only for the fun..
What else is there at six?
It is December now and we have no tree up, no decorations adorning the house, it is barren and I am guilty.
You do not complain, you do not insist, you simply accept it for what it is. Accept your mother is tired, accept this is not the time to grumble.
You excitedly talk about candy-canes when I mention I might ask P about a christmas tree this weekend. You so desperately want to hang (and I suspect, eat) them!
My mind wanders to how we talk about how you can manage your temper as I walk you into the cloakroom every day.
I tell you it is okay to be angry, but that you need to try and control it. That you are better than it.
You say you’ll count to ten, but, you say, by 12pm you’ve ‘had enough; of everyone. You just want ‘a break’, you want quiet.
How can I berate you when I know exactly how you feel? When I’ve been outside, surrounded by chatter, by social interactions I cannot participate in.
I too, want the quiet.
I tell you thats okay, that I love you, and to have a good day.
And I squeeze you, and I ruffle your hair..
Always I am silently worried it will be the last time you squeeze me back, that you’ll outgrow my affection, as my brother once did.
My first, most lovely creation.
You are my hardest task, but my pride and absolute joy.
You are the best of my friends and, at times, the worst of my enemies..
You are my light in the dark, my way forward when I am lost.
At 3pm every day, you force me to function. To rejoin the real world. To be.
You keep me alive.