As quiet finally descends over our house after a long and difficult day, I take a moment to reconnect with one of my girls.
“I love you mum” she says and I know that she also means she is sorry, and I am sorry too.
There has been too many slammed doors and harsh words today. Today there has been arguments, and rushing and unscheduled hair cutting. Today my girl has been defiant, and frustrated and unthinking.
Today the parent I want to be has gone missing and has left an impatient, angry, and stressed person in her place. I am not proud of my actions today, and neither is my girl. We are both tired and sad and in need of reassurance.
“I love you too” I tell her, “I will always love you.”
“Even if I do something really, really bad?” she asks, looking me in the eye, searching for any signs of a fib or fob off.
“Even if you do something really, really, really bad.” I tell her, returning the stare with a steady gaze.
“Even if I cut my hair again? Even if I say mean things? Even if I hit Morgan?”
I smile at the things she thinks are ‘really really bad’ and reassure her.
“Yes, even then. I will always love you, no matter what you do.”
I mean every word I say, and as crazy scenarios run through my head I realise how big and scary and wonderful that love is.
I may not like that she cut her own hair. I may not enjoy the door slamming or melt downs. I may not like that she lashes out in frustration or that she teases her brother or yells at her father. And I know that she is only eight and that one day, these things I don’t much like could be much bigger, and darker, and even, ‘really really bad’.
Maybe one day she will make a big, adult, mistake. Perhaps she will wreck more than just her hair. Perhaps she will hurt more than just her brother’s feelings. It is a sobering thought, and one I don’t much like contemplating but one thing reassures me…
I may not always like the things she she does, she may frustrate me and even make me angry, but I will always love her.
I must love her.
I have no choice, she is my child.
She is my beautiful, complicated, crazily wonderful, child and no matter what may happen in the future, nothing can ever change that.
I sweep her wonky, ‘self-cut’ fringe out of her eyes and kiss her forehead. She wraps her arms around me and says it again,
“I love you Mum”
I push the scariness of how entirely I love her aside for a moment, I swallow the lump in my throat and I tell her again…
“I will love you forever and ever.
For always and always.
No matter what.”