Lewis, Eva, Megan & Harry,
Well this isn’t a letter I ever thought I’d be writing to you, especially given that until nine months ago I’d never left you for more than a weekend, and yet here we are, just two more sleeps until I leave you for thirteen days to Romania.
Just writing this letter makes my heart physically hurt, tears spilling down my cheeks as I imagine kissing you goodbye on Thursday morning, leaving home, and jetting off, knowing that it will be thirteen long days before I hold you in my arms again. Just thinking about seeing your little faces on camera, but not being able to reach out and touch you, makes my stomach tie up in knots and, sitting here now, with panic rising in my throat, I can’t help but ask myself why I ever agreed to this in the first place?
A few months ago, when an email landed in my mail box inviting me to travel Romania this July, I had instinctively gone to delete it. Although, admittedly, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one I was so honoured to have been invited to, the idea of leaving the four of you for thirteen days was ludicrous. In fact it was inconceivable.
And yet over the following week I thought about that email a lot. I allowed myself to imagine what it would be like to do something so far out of my comfort zone even though it terrified me, to go out there with 49 strangers from across the globe and travel a country I knew nothing at all about. I lay awake at night scrolling through pictures in my phone of historical castles and beautiful architecture, imagining myself wandering through those streets with no little hands to hold. I dreamt of waking up each morning without the weight of responsibility on my shoulders, of broadening my horizons, trying new things, meeting new people and putting myself first. And the more I thought about it, and the more I debated back and forth, I could think of a million reasons why I should go, and only one why I should not.
For the last fifteen years I have dedicated my entire life to being there for each of you whenever you’ve needed me, every minute of every day, right there by your sides. I’ve been there at every step and every milestone, from school runs to sports days, class assemblies to sick days. I’ve been there to rub bumps and bruises, to wipe snotty noses and brush away tears, I’ve been the first person you’ve seen each morning and the last person to tuck you into bed each night. And honestly, they have been the best years of my life, no doubt about it.
And yet the truth is, whilst being your Mummy will always be my favourite title, something has changed in me this last year and I wanted more, for my own personal sanity, I needed more. And now for the first time in my life I am finally doing a job I love, a job I am good at, a job that I wake up every single morning and pinch myself that I am lucky enough to be succeeding in. And, as selfish as it sounds, I have realised that I want to be more than just your Mummy, I want to be me again.
Making the decision to leave you wasn’t a decision I took lightly, nor was it one I didn’t go back on multiple times. Every time I was certain I had made the right choice those invisible heart strings would hold me back, over and over, until I wasn’t even sure what the right decision was anymore. I have had weeks of agonising over how you will cope without me here, and sleepless nights worrying about all kinds of ridiculous scenarios, all of which have catastrophic outcomes, and yet ultimately I knew that this is something I have to do, not just for myself but for each of you too.
Because what I want you to know, not just now but in years to come, is that I did something really brave, even when I was so afraid. I want you to know that I saw a chance to make something of my life, for each of you four, and I took it, even when it wasn’t the easy choice to make. I want you to know that despite battling with my anxiety, and struggling with my health, I found the strength to fight those fears, and power through those set-backs, and I refused to let them win.
I want you to know that it’s okay to have goals and ambitions, long after your dreams have been answered as a parent; that it’s okay to have everything you could ever want right there in your arms, and to still want more. I want you to know that you can be anything at all you want to be, alongside being a parent, that you can still be a great Mummy or Daddy whilst still putting yourself first every once in a while.
I want you to know that everything I do, and every fear I face, is not just for the four of you, but for Joseph too. That every place I travel to, every new memory I make, every hurdle I over come, every sunrise, every skyline, every moment filled with laughter, it’s all about living my life to the fullest for that little boy who could not.
And most of all I want you to know that in thirteen days time when I walk back through that door, a better Mummy because of it, there is no-one else in the world I’d rather be coming home to. You four have made me so proud every single day and now, this time, it’s my turn.
I am going to miss you so much.
Love you all the stars in the sky,
P.S Look after Daddy for me, I’m kind of going to miss him too! xxx