As I watch my own daughter delicately dancing between the innocence of her childhood days, and the complexities of womanhood. I can’t help but wonder at times, how I have reached my mid thirties with such speed.
How did I change from being that innocent little girl with goofy teeth and plaits, to a fully-fledged grown up with an overdraft? When did I become old enough to book my own doctors’ appointments without needing you to hold my hand?
I have grown increasingly aware of how you must have felt when I was a teenager myself, learning to let me go and find my own path. Quietly allowing me make my own mistakes without passing any judgement. Always being there for me no matter what ungodly hour I would call home for a lift. No matter what, you always put me first. You put your life on hold for me and I took that for granted when I was younger.
I can see that now.
Because all of a sudden, I am the mother.
I am the one learning to compromise with my own teenage daughter, and learning to let her go. I am the one giving up my job to care for my autistic son, putting my own life on hold for now. It’s my turn to be the grown up.
Yet today; although you may not have known it, for the briefest of moments I was once again just your little girl.
Over lunch you knew something was wrong with me, no matter how often I tried to reassure. Your piercing glare made me wriggle in my seat because no matter how much of a front I portray to other people, you can always see straight through the facade.
Outwardly I am in control of my life at all times. I am the mum who’s got it all sorted and doesn’t need anyone’s support. But really that couldn’t be further from the truth! Because the wall I have built to protect myself sometimes can’t take the strain, the strain that is etched on my face and you can see it.
So I cracked, and the tears streamed. You leapt across the table squashing your plate of fish and chips to hug me, whilst my sniffling awkwardly interrupted the polite chatter of the busy restaurant.
And right then in that moment I was your little girl once more. Your little girl that needed a cuddle from her mother, for no other reason than it made it me feel better. The visions and memories flooded back to a simpler time when I would pass away the hours clip clopping around in your high heels without a care in the world. You always made me feel better when I was little, you made me feel safe and secure and like the world was mine for the taking, it was a magical time.
I didn’t need you to do anything in that precise moment other than simply be there for me.
So mum please know you can’t make all my problems go away, it’s just not possible. Don’t ever feel guilty that you should be doing more to help me. You do more for me than you will ever know.
Because despite how much I have grown up, I will always be your little girl and I will always need you by my side. To support me on the dark days and to show me what it means to love unconditionally.
And most importantly, I will always need you to know when I’m pretending that everything is OK and give me that cuddle that makes me feel like I am 5 again. So for that brief moment I can feel safe and secure in your arms - that’s true magic that only a mothers love can create.
No matter how old I am I will always need you, and if I can be half the woman you were as I watch my own children grow up, I will know that I have spent my life being the best mother I possibly can.
From your little (grown up) girl xx