So it’s Mother’s Day. Today I’m spending it running back and forth to our local dance eisteddfod for my baby boy Seth (my 14yr old baby who’s much taller than me). I dropped him off early this morning and then grabbed a quick bite to eat with my hubby. We sat down and I mentioned I might write a little Mother’s Day blog today…. I then erupted into tears, blubbering in the middle of the cafe like a total weirdo….. I burst into tears because this is what came to my mind and my heart.
My heart is full of emotion this Mother’s Day as I reflect on the journey of so many millions of brave unsung heroes. The silent little courageous soldiers that receive no accolades or medals or bravery awards. They are the children of mums who suffer chronic illness, whether it be mental or physical. Yes, it’s mum who has the diagnosis but it’s the whole family who live with the pitfalls that come with that brutal reality.
The little ones behind the scenes who go under the radar, the ones on the front line – yet no-one ever asks if they are ok, or if they need a hand. I can only share my story but I know it imitates millions of you out there who are traveling along the same courageous road.
These children are more than just children of mothers with illness, which is their common label. They are also carers, not by choice but birth. Carers without the pay, without the title and without the support. They not only care for their mums but their siblings and themselves; writing themselves late notes for school – not because they are trying to wag, but for a multitude of reasons unknown to their teachers and friends. It might be because they ran out of clean clothes. Dad was at work, so they had to call mum at the hospital to ask how to use the washing machine. They are late to school because they had to help mum get dressed and then mum had a dizzy spell on the way to the car.. she had to lie down before she could drive again. They are the ones who wave their mum good bye at the school gate hoping she’ll be ok and make it home safely. On the really tough days they find it hard to concentrate in school, they get in trouble for not paying attention. They carry this burden throughout their school day, a burden that no-one knows about or ever asks about.
They are the ones who have a strength and empathy beyond their years, they comprehend with great depth why it is, you do not judge a person on surface value, as they understand first hand that there is always more to a person than meets the eye.
These beautiful little children and big children often put their needs aside, they make small of the things they can’t do and instead of complaining they say, it’s ok mum. When really it’s not ok, but it just is, the way it is. They have so many needs and wants of their own but instead say, “Can I pray for you mum?” “Can I get you anything mum?” They sacrifice sleep overs and holidays. They wish for mum to be home to simply tuck them into bed but instead they settle for a goodnight phone call to mum in hospital.
They don’t complain what’s for dinner, they are just grateful for dinner and that mum is able to sit at the dinner table.
I remember many years ago in a selfish moment of neediness, I asked the boys if they could change anything about me what would they change. Arlan spoke up and said, “I know I’m probably supposed to say I would take away your illness, but I wouldn’t. If you had never been sick then we wouldn’t be the amazing family that we are. We are strong because of it.”
So to all the mums out their who feel like failures who are suffocating with guilt that your babies must trudge this overwhelming journey with us. Stop please, as best you can, lay that guilt aside. Whether you believe it or not your kids are becoming incredible humans with profound insight and depth of character that can only come with a life as complicated and at times devastating, as is yours.
To all the children, to my boys, I want to say thank you. I want to say you did a great job. I want to say, I’m sorry it was so hard. I’m sorry it was so lonely. I want to thank you for your selfless sacrifice. I want to thank you for the bedside cuddles and songs you gave to cheer us up on those hard days. I want to thank you for telling me you’re proud of me when all you wanted was a little support yourself. You are my heroes. I am incredibly, incredibly proud to be your mother. It’s not the life I had dreamt for you; but you my darlings are more splendid than I could ever have dreamt of.
Happy Mothers day beautiful ones,
kisses, Meli x