Where do I even begin to start writing this letter to you? How can I ever find the words to tell you just how much I love you, how proud I am of you, how utterly wonderful you are in so many ways, and yet, in the same breath, tell you how much I am struggling at being your Mummy right now?
From the very second you were born I realised that being your Mummy was never going to be easy, from the shock of your speedy birth, to the two long weeks spent in neonatal. I can still remember sitting beside your incubator, holding your tiny hand in mine, knowing that you had changed me in those moments, that my life would never be the same again.
And I was right.
During those early years our whole world revolved around you. Our every move would depend on how you were feeling that day, how many times you’d had us up screaming that night, whether you would ever stop crying for long enough for us to dare to leave the house at all. You pushed me to my limits and back again, you broke me and rebuilt me, and along the way you made me question everything I knew about myself, my sanity, and about being a Mummy.
And five and a half years later it has all come flooding back. All of a sudden, I am that same Mummy right there in the hospital, holding your tiny hand in mine, willing you to be healthy, wanting you to be happy, hoping for all our sakes that we can find a way through.
The last twelve months have been incredibly difficult for you. You’ve dealt with so much illness, undergone so many tests, scans and appointments, more than any little girl your age should ever have to endure. It has broken my heart to see you unwell, it has killed me to watch you lay in those scanners, to hold back my own tears and wipe away your own, to hear your cries at every blood test, every examination, every day you have woken in pain. It is desperately unfair what you have had to go through, and if I could take it all away, I would in a heartbeat.
But now the dust has settled, with positive results and hopeful consultants, and we have been left with the return of a very confused and angry little girl who flips from one extreme to the other at the flick of a switch. Where as on the one hand you are the most loving, sweet, kind, and intelligent child, on the flip side you are angry, violent, destructive, emotional. And whilst it is physically and mentally draining for you, it is equally difficult for me.
I’ll be honest with you Meggy, there have been times when I have questioned whether this was personal. There have been moments when I’ve asked myself, is it me that’s the problem here? Did I do something wrong? Did I not give you enough time, enough love, enough attention? Is it simply a case of you not liking me very much at all? Because at nursery, and now at school, you are an angel. Your teachers tell me you are a model pupil, they sing your praises both academically and at play. They tell me you are friendly, polite, sociable, surpassing your goals, sailing through your work, a delight to teach and eager to please. And honestly Megs, when I hear them talk about you in that way I can’t help but wonder why it is that they get the very best of you and I am left with the very worst.
Because from the moment I pick you up at school each day I see the look on your face as you walk over to greet me, the flicker in your eyes, the change in the tone, and you are quite literally a ticking time bomb the entire walk home. And like clockwork, the very second we get inside the house, by the time your shoes are off and the door is locked, I watch you unravel and fall to pieces before my very eyes.
And I hold my hands up and admit that when you’re lying on the floor in front of me, kicking and screeching and lashing out at anyone and anything, I ask myself why you have to behave this way? When you’re crying for hours on end every meal time, every bed time, I wonder why we have to go through this same rigmarole every single night without fail? When you’re still screaming down the house at 9, 10, 11 o’ clock at night, when we’re all tired and exhausted and our last scrap of patience is lost, I ask myself how much more of this we can take?
And then last week you finally broke me. After months of bad behaviour, of late nights and hysterical mornings, I booked an appointment to speak to your teacher and honestly, it broke my heart. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it was to sit her down, a lady who sees nothing but the very best in you, and reel off your worst qualities, share all of your failings, and list all of the reasons why the little girl who sits in her class each day is not the same little girl who comes home to me each night. It felt like the ultimate betrayal and I hated myself for breaking your trust, for letting you down, and for sharing your secrets.
And yet as I sat there crying, well and truly at my wits end, ashamed at having to ask for support to parent my own child, embarrassed at our lack of control over your behaviour at home, mortified to have others judge me in that way, I still felt the most incredible amount of relief at having shared that burden. And actually Meggy, your teacher didn’t judge me, or berate me, or tell me that I was failing as a Mother; she didn’t point the finger, or disagree with me, or tell me where I was going wrong. She merely listened to me, understood me, and sympathised with me; she simply reassured me, comforted me, and supported me. And sitting here writing this, tears streaming down my face, I hope you understand that sometimes, even as grown ups, we still need that from time to time. We still need somebody else to tell us that we are doing everything right, even when it feels as though we are getting everything wrong.
And I was shocked when your teacher told me how you rush into school every Monday morning, filled with stories of our latest adventures; how you love to tell her all of the wonderful things we do together as a family, the places we go, the moments for just you and I, your memories from long ago, your dreams and plans for the future. And she told me, regardless of how I may feel right now at rock bottom, and despite the way you behave towards me at times, that you always speak of me with so much love, and joy, and happiness.
And that was all I needed to hear.
The truth is Megs, being a parent is hard work, and yet being five and a half years old is equally tough. Just as I’m still trying to work out how to be a parent to you, you’re still trying to work out your own place within our family. In the same way that I am juggling all of these emotions and thoughts whirling around my own head, you are doing exactly the same thing but without the emotional maturity to process it all. And as much as I am able to try and make sense of it all right here, writing down my thoughts and feelings in the hope that one day you will read this back and understand, you are doing exactly the same when you lash out, when you scream and cry, when you say hateful things, or have heavy hands.
You are simply trying to make sense of the world, and I can only imagine how over-whelming that must be for you.
I don’t know what the future holds Meggy, I don’t know if what we are dealing with today will run into weeks, months, years, or a lifetime. I don’t know if this is a behavioural issue, a psychological issue, a physical issue, or just simply who you are. But I promise you this, whatever happens, and wherever this leads us, I will fight your corner every step of the way. I will love you, support you, comfort you, and I will forgive you for all of your outbursts, and all of your wrong doings, just as long as you promise to always forgive mine.
I love you all the stars in the sky,
My beautiful little wild one.