I decided to confide in a close friend that I’d been feeling a bit rubbish. Nothing major, just a case of 101 jobs to do and five minutes to do them in, getting back into the routine of school; early mornings, clubs and homework after the holidays and finally seeing the light after weeks of illness that made it’s way from one family member to another -which with there being six of us, seemed to last forever!
Anyway, back to the close friend. A friend of over ten years. Our eldest children go to school together; a friend I’ve in the past dropped everything for at a moments notice. A witness at my wedding. My best sweary chum. Amigos bueno.. You get the idea.
That day that we spoke on the phone I didn’t intend to become a blubbering mess, but she asked how I was -and instead of my usual retort of “fine” I felt a hot, bubbly mass claw its way up my throat, my eyes dampened and my chest collapsed inwards as my brain tried to quickly summerise how I was really feeling.
The truth was I didn’t feel fine. I felt exhausted, mithered and suffocated. The previous few nights I had been screaming in my dreams; waking with beads of cold sweat prickling my neck, my shoulders shivering as I came to in a black and still room.
The day after we chatted I wrote my first blog post. I’d felt that something had to give and I needed an outlet. The reason I needed an outlet was because my forever friend had let me down. I’d sobbed during that phonecall as I relived the past couple of weeks; the tierdness and the sadness at what a failure I felt as a mum, and a wife. I trusted her with this painful insight into what was in that moment, my life.
Her response went like this: “But you have a roof over your head, food to eat and just look at your children -they’re all fine!”
Hurm. Not what I needed or indeed expected to be honest. The British stiff upper lip approach to chivvy myself along and be greatful for what I have, made every fibre of my being crumple into a hollow heap. I felt mentally drained. I’d opened up to be shut right back down.
Yes, I appreciate how lucky I am to have my four wonderful children who I love to the very core of my being. Yes, I have a house we’re (mainly) proud to call home (scribbles on walls and miss match accessories aside) and yes, I have plenty of left over selection boxes to eat; but no, right now at this very tearful, lip quivering sobbing mess of a moment, that little reminder did not flip on my happy switch.
Of course I didn’t tell her that, I agreed and told her she was right.
But she wasn’t right. Just because the foundations are hard set in concrete and the exterior looks strong and robost, doesn’t mean that the mortar between those bricks isn’t slowly wearing away. Just because they’re surrounded by greatness doesn’t stop those grains coming loose. One brick wont bring down a building, but constant chipping away at those foundations will. I guess I was looking for a bit of sympathy that day; a quick patch and repair kit, the wounds would have healed by themselves underneath it. What I needed was my feelings validated.
You don’t have to have nothing before you can feel fed up. You don’t need to fall apart before you matter.
I hope my children know that if something is upsetting them, then it matters. It always matters.
And I hope that you know that too.