Maria Rushe talks about the speedbumps of life and looks at how Mammies can learn from each other.
“Your eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing. I want to fill it with color and ducks, the zoo of the new.”
As an English teacher, I find that some poems have taken on a new level of meaning since I became a Mammy. The poem “Child” by Sylvia Plath is one such piece. I’ve always understood it, but only recently, do I completely understand it.
I sometimes feel like she read the minds of every Mum in the world. Had she been a blogger in the 1930’s, she’d probably have had millions of followers for her ability to say it as it is!
The eyes of our children watch us constantly. They are learning our habits, our characteristics, our behaviour. With my eldest, I can see this every day. Let’s just say she is appropriately nicknamed. Not only does she look like me, she reflects me. All of me. The good and the bad. She has my eyes, my imagination, my determination, my stubborness and oh my word, does she have my temper!
I try to give her positivity, to help her to understand that some people are mean, that there are dangers out there, but that her eyes should always try to see the goodness and kindness and possibility. I’ll protect her forever and like my own parents, and every parent, I’ll break my heart as I inevitably see her stumble on the speedbumps ahead.
Today she announced “I’m nearly 5 you know?…and then I’ll be nearly 6!”
I laughed, because I know that she’s exactly how I was; I always wanted to be more, to be older. And now as an adult, I want time to freeze, because it’s going so quickly that I can’t keep up. I still can’t quite believe she’s in big school. I look at her, almost 5 and at my “baby” and wonder how the hell she is one already? It’s unreal. It’s a whirlwind. My feet haven’t hit the ground in almost 5 years. I doubt they ever will. It’s called being a Mammy.
Last night I had a conversation with another S-Mum. She reads my blog and commented to me how my post on Mini-Me’s first day at school left her reeling. Her child is now 18, preparing for the Leaving Cert, in my classroom! She said something that left me reeling. “I just hope I’ve given P the skills to deal with whatever he’ll face. I’ll hold his hand every step of the way, and I’ll always hold it, but this is just like baby infants all over again. I have to watch him walking further away and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
And there it was in a nutshell.
Two Mammies facing each other at a parent teacher meeting, at two very different points in our Mammyhoods, but ultimately, we were identical, mirrors of each other;facing the same challenges.
Because while we both do everything in our power to fill our babies’ eyes with colour and ducks, the zoo of the new awaits and they will see it through the eyes we have given them.
It was the most enjoyable conversation I’ve ever had with a parent, and it once again reminded me how powerful we Mammies can when we lift each other up and support each other. It’s not just our children who need colour and ducks; sometimes we need to look for them too.