My little girl is currently snuggled up in a ball, tucked up, underneath under her fathers giant duvet, fast asleep. She has spent the day throwing her little guts up, after succumbing to the latest winter bug of destruction.
I’m laying on the bed next to her, my bedside lamp is softly glowing in the background, the cat has curled up onto the bed (so as not to miss the opportunity, of snuggling up next to warm bodies) and all is momentarily peaceful in my world.
The kitchen is full of dishes, the laundry is over flowing, the dog needs a walk, I have Voice over work to attend to, there is tea still to make, cleaning to do and emails to write but I am not doing any of it.
Elizabeth has asked me to stay here, next to her, whilst she sleeps and although I am not actually needed right now…I could easily sneak off and get a couple of jobs done whilst she snoozes… I am choosing not to.
There is something fundamentally soothing to my soul, to lie here quietly next to my sleeping child and I don’t particularly profess to understanding it.
She’s asleep and I’m currently ineffective, yet whilst I listen to her gentle snuffling snores, a quiet joy sits within me, keeping me company. As I lay here, I’ve become increasingly aware, that these little, precious moments are too easy to overlook and sadly, too often become buried under the daily lists of ‘SHOULD’ that life dumps upon our doorstep every morning.
My washing doesn’t care whether I am there, to bundle it into the machine, the dishes are not going to grow into better, functioning crockery because I have prioritised them in this moment. My work although important and functional for the paying of my bills, is not going to fall apart and feel rejected because I have delayed sitting with it for a couple more hours and my emails are not going to resent me for a lifetime, because I have chosen not to pay them any attention today.
Life is full of function and requirements and I am not writing this to encourage myself to ignore all the daily jobs that constantly need doing but I am choosing to write this, so that I can always remember, that although those jobs are important, they are not THE most important things in my life and therefore, do not always deserve their elevated position, upon my daily priority list.
Elizabeth will inevitably grow up and she may, never even remember this day. The hours that I have sat with her, holding her hair back whilst she puked, wiping her face and cuddling her whilst she cried, singing her favourite lullabies, until eventually she dozed off…but I will.
One day in the not too distant future, she will be grown and more than likely (if I have done my job right), she will be settled into a life all of her own. A life within which, I will have become a mere background player, a passing visitor with a small, walk on part, within her daily adventures. Someone that hopefully, at times, provides her with a warm feeling when she remembers me, a small cluster of thoughts, tucked up somewhere, safely within her memories of now.
She will forever remain my focus but I will not remain hers and that is how it should be.
The dishes however will never leave me, the washing may at some neglected point, grow arms and legs and could potentially crawl out of the laundry room, all on their own but they will always be back. My career will be with me until my voice gives up and I choose to put the microphone away but this magical little creature, who wants to hold onto my hand whilst she sleeps…I get to hold onto her for the briefest yet most wonderful moments in my lifetime…a gift in my arms, who every day, brings something new into my world. Challenges, heartbreak, adventures and unbelievable joy.
Being a parent is truly the most difficult task, that I have ever embarked upon and from the moment I held my bundle of stringy spaghetti, with tufty hair and a pair of massive, beautiful eyeballs, I haven’t had a serious clue about many things and what I once believed I knew, has been challenged, destroyed and reshaped a million times over.
What I do know though is this:
My daughter does not belong to me, she belongs to herself and I will fight the world until my last dying breath, to ensure she remains that way.
My daughter has the ability to break my heart every morning and tie it back together again, every night.
My daughters smile, is more beautiful to me, than the glowing sun in a sunrise and her tears have the power to wash straight into my heart like a relentless ocean.
My daughter already knows, so much more about this world than me…yet, she is the best teacher I could have ever asked for.
My daughter is fierce and proud and through the process of respecting her, listening to her and honouring her voice…I have learnt how to respect myself, listen to myself and have discovered a voice of my own.
My daughter is desperate to laugh and I have discovered that one of my passions now in life, is to be one of those, responsible for that laughter.
My daughter still knows how to sit still and treasure the magic, hidden within every moment of today and I am not prepared, to allow the world, into tricking her to forget how to do that.
My daughters eyes are wide open and yet still filled with wonder and hope at the beauty of the world and potential of mans humanity to change it and I refuse to be the one to hand her the blindfold.
So, although I do not have the answers on how to be a good parent or even a good human being for that matter. I do know that right now, there are lots of places I ‘SHOULD’ be and plenty of things I ‘SHOULD’ be doing right now but I ‘CHOOSE’ to remain right here. Next to my sleeping, lurgy infested 9 year old daughter. Listening to her gentle snoring and soaking up every precious moment, within which she needs me because one day she won’t and when I’m alone in the kitchen and all my household chores are done, the house is sparkling and spotless and there’s only Netflix to look forward to. I can sit down at my kitchen table, cup of tea in hand and look the old photos captured within my memories and reminisce about this time. My heart peaceful, my soul soothed and my little girl sleeping soundly, trusting in the fact that she is safe, she is loved and her mother will be right here, beside her, when she wakes up.