Sometimes I have looked at my big girl as she whirled in the perpetual chaos that is our lounge room and just not known who she was; have felt disconnected and frustrated and completely bamboozled by the lack of association with my baby girl who I loved and adored beyond measure. There have been days where I've been so tired and frustrated and angry about stupid things, and had no idea how to stop. Looking at that tiny beautiful face and a little bit of me dying inside as I watched it crumple; but still hearing the coldness in my voice.
This week I was determined to make all about her. To stop stressing and to just be her Mummy and give as many cuddles as is humanly possible. To make special time just for her. And she has blossomed like a rose, letting the deep fragrant heart of her perfume my life again. We sat in the kitchen this afternoon making canneloni and she helped and sampled and chatted and sang and I had to blink back tears. That's my baby. My sweet, tempestuous, clever, adorable baby except now she's all that and stunning and happy and so very very loving.
Everyone warns you about the sleepless nights with an infant, but until you're there in that sleep deprived funk where you're starting to feel literally ill, it just doesn't sink in what it means. When people talk about the "terrible twos" and the "terrifying threes" you think you get it, but until you're literally dealing with a meltdown over coffee in the supermarket aisle or the toilet training showdown, it doesn't sink in either. How soul destroying it is to know that you're fucking up but being so tired that you just can't do it properly. Until you wake up and realise you only get one shot at doing it right.
I hear the terseness in DH's voice when he comes home from work exhausted some days and I flinch. I then think about being 3 years old and hearing that tone. Of feeling that it's entirely your own fault that the people you love most in the world that are acting like that towards you, and it is a kick in the proverbial guts. I only get to be a good Mum once. I will fuck up sometimes, and that's just the nature of the beast, but sometimes near enough is just not good enough and some things are just too important to let slide. I can still remember almost every time my parents truly yelled/smacked/were disappointed in me. I have almost no recollection of the praise or cuddly times (though I know they happened).
My Elfling deserves a Mum who is good at what she does. She deserves someone who is perfect at looking after her and guiding her and extending her. Who nurtures that vulnerable spirit and helps mold it into a happy, gregarious, fulfilled human being. She didn't ask for me to be tired and stressed, and she deserves more than that.
Gorgeous girl, if you ever read this I want you to know that I have been trying my best, but have realised that what I thought was my best just was not good enough. I am going to try harder OK. I love you and you deserve it so much. I'm just trying to work out how.