Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A Mother's Love

Isn't parenting a funny old thing? Swinging like a monkey in the treetops from one emotion to another, I muddle through each day, wondering how (or when, or if) it is going to end.

Take Monday evening, for example. Max was due to go to his piano lesson after tea. Except that after tea, he hit his brother, shouted at me and then told me he wasn't going to his lesson. He sat on the stairs, crying and wailing, with his "I am going to be stubborn about this" look on his face. I felt so irritated with him. He had (unusually) practiced his piece that week, and beforehand was really excited about showing his teacher what he had practiced. I asked him to put on his shoes (not in the most gentle voice, I admit). I asked him again, and then I asked him again. Eventually his shoes were put on. I told him to put on his coat. He refused. I told him it was -4 outside. He still refused. I decided not to fight that battle. If he had chosen not to put on his coat, then he would have to put up with the consequences. I told him this (still without that gentle and loving tone in my voice). When we stepped outside and I tried to gloat about how cold it was, he told me he wasn't cold.

All my bristles were rubbed up the wrong way. Inside, I was seething. All I wanted was for him to go to bed early and stay away from me before a major incident occured and the neighbours called Social Services. Sometimes, (shock, horror - is it right for a mother to admit this?)I really dislike my children.

Arriving at his piano lesson, he suddenly transformed into a different boy. Smiling, pleasant, making little jokes. Who was this child? He certainly wasn't the one I had left the house with. He sat down and began to play his piece. Suddenly, the angry, resentful (and let's be honest, childishly indulgent)and irritated feelings were replaced by joy, pride and love. He played so well and I was so proud of the hard work he had put into practising. When we left the lesson, I was feeling so full of love and tenderness towards him. Early bedtime? I could have kept him up all night listening to him!(Well, that is a small exaggeration, but another half hour would have done the trick).

How do our children do this to us? Perhaps it is just me who swings from being ready to lock myself away in a padded room to wanting to embrace my boys and let them clamber all over me, kissing them and cuddling them for eternity. Love is fiercely passionate. I love my boys with an almost primitive, ferocious passion. Yet sometimes (like now for example, when I am sorting out the "Muuuum, Max is putting his feet on me!" argument), they exasperate me.

And how does the day end? Once the irritation-inducing teatime, reading books, bathtime, sorting out clothes, bags and lunches for the next day and bedtime battles are all over, the house is beautifully peaceful. Before going to bed, I check on them. Their sleeping faces are so innocent, so peaceful, so full of promise. The day's battles are forgiven. My love is restored once again. Until the morning comes.... and then we begin all over again....

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