On Tuesday, when I picked Isla up from nursery, she hugged my lap as she sometimes does.
‘I MISSED you, Mummy.’
‘Really?’ I asked. She’s a Daddy’s girl, see. I am obviously still questioning every bit of affection she doles out. To me.
‘Yeah,’ she said
‘Did someone pay you to say that?’
When I’m happy, my eyes kinda crinkle up until you can’t see them. Like Isla’s. Because, y’know, I’m her mother.
I did a little dance in the carpark, my day made at one o’clock.
‘Mummy funny,’ she laughs.
Yeah, I s’pose I am, a bit.
Isla’s funny, too. She has my eye crinkle and my sarcasm.
Yesterday, she was loaded with big foam puzzle pieces. Her arms were so full she was just a stripey sweater on legs.
‘I LOVE you,’ I tell her. ‘Where did you come from?’
She cranes her neck and looks at me sideways. It is my own incredulous face looking back at me.
‘From my bedroom,’ she says.
I did the pee-pee laugh with that one. Also true.
Since Isla’s started nursery, I’ve been doing some thinking. I’ve also been doing some Math, mostly at 4AM. Mayhaps, more about that later. For now, I will say this: Don’t do Math at 4AM.
Anyway. This is what I’ve been thinking. Since Isla started doing things. Outside the house. Without me.
This is how life goes. I’m proud of her. I’m allowed to miss her. We need to keep going. And I’m so fucking proud of her.
I’ve been thinking that getting help to do things makes me no less of a mother. Because I’m the one who misses her when she’s at school. And also when she’s asleep.
It doesn’t matter that sometimes, I can’t lift her onto the toilet. Because I’m the one who claps when she pees on it.
I’m (one of) the people who reads to her at night. And in the afternoon. She sits on my lap, in my chair. And I can still find that place on her neck that I’ve loved since before she was born.
And sometimes, still, she falls asleep on me.
We wake up two mornings a week, and I make her lunch. Her sandwiches have holes in them, because I have very few knife skills. I don’t care. She eats her lunch.
I might squirt mayo hearts on the bread.
I send her out and she comes home and hands me her empty lunch box. And sometimes her boogers.
She makes me a coffeeshop and a dragon out of blocks.
She goes into the fridge and gets a snack. I tell her not to ruin her dinner.
And she gives me that sideways glance. The one she gets from me.