I’m a bit ashamed to admit I threw a little pity party for myself in the car the other day.
Between the renovation that didn’t seem to be making progress, not having enough time to pack and plan our move, and the whole family being ill for the last week, I was feeling pretty stretched.
Then the baby’s (very part-time) Dayhome called to say he was running a fever and I should come for him early. I’d been hoping to get through just a few of the million-and-one things on my to-do list, but now I started to worry about the little guy being sick all over again. It seemed like it didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t catch a break. And there was no-one to call for help.
That’s what started the tears.
September will be five years since my mum died. She was my best friend and my unfailing supporter, no matter how difficult things seemed. I miss her everyday, but some days I feel her absence even more acutely. When I see grandmothers out at the park with small rambunctious boys and I think of how much she would have loved my two rascals. Or when the boys have birthdays or other milestones I know how much fun she would have had making a huge fuss over them, and how much they would have loved her. But the hardest time is usually when the hubs, the kids and I have all been sick and I reach the end of my reserves and I realize I can’t call her for help.
Sure, there are friends who offer to lend a hand with the kids, and babysitters I can ask to watch the boys for a few hours while we get things done. But when the boys are coughing and runny-nosed, we are all run-down from a bug, and the house is a disaster, the only person you can really ask for help at that point is your mum.
So as I drove along, sniffing and wiping away tears, I thought about what she would say. I guessed it would be something along the lines of, “chin up, buttercup, it’s going to be ok”.
So, with those words in mind, and because I really had no other options, I took a deep breath and went to pick up the kids early.
I obviously looked pretty awful by the time I got to my son’s school because a couple of people asked “are you ok?”. But even if I still felt rotten and now had puffy eyes and a swollen, red nose I had to be ok for the boys. That was another thing my mum did, no matter how worried she was when money was tight, or we moved halfway across the world with nothing but a few boxes of stuff, or in the last few years, how sick she felt, she was always trying to make it ok for me.
And by acting like I was ok, I was ok. The baby was fine, just teething crankiness. And the threenager was very happy to build couch-forts and entertain himself in the afternoon while I got one with things.
So even though I can’t pick up the phone and call my mum for help, I am lucky to have known her well enough to be able to call on her in my heart.