I pick my son up off the floor, no damage done but tears rack his body. He buries his head against me as he howls, and I kiss his hands and elbows ‘Oh dear.’ I say.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out’?
And suddenly it is me who is bereft.
Because in the long fourteen months since my mother died I’ve wanted to hear those words so badly. In that first haze of grief. On my return to this land that is my home, that I don’t belong in. As I tried to cook meals for my son whilst retching at every smell. While finally getting to hold my daughter for the first time, attached to IVs and monitors, still shaking from shock. During all those long night feeds. When both my children need me, and I only have two arms.
Even though I have a husband who has been beside me every step of the way. Holding my children when I couldn’t. Feeding my daughter when I couldn’t. Feeding me when I couldn’t. Getting up and down in the night. Providing our son with shoulders to climb over, and our daughter a beard to pull.
Even though I have a father who has supported this crazy decision we made to move our little family to the other side of the world. Who looked after our son alone for six nights while we both stayed at the hospital.
Even though I have my sisters, the two other people I know who lost my Mum. Who’ve had to balance that with raising their own young children.
Even though I have my uncles and aunts, my in-laws, my cousins, my friends.
Even though I have so much, there is no-one left on this earth who can hold me like my mother could.
My son begins to squirm, the shock has subsided. I lower him, and as soon as his feet touch the ground he is off again. He pounces on his sister, and they smile at each other.