“Aai, do you miss me?” My son asks as we get ready for his second full day at reception. “I so do!” I say aloud, while my heart sighs, “More than you could ever know, my darling.”
“But Aai, you can get all your work done,” he pipes up. I hug him close and am enveloped in guilt. Is that all my son remembers from our four years together? Me working? Have I really not made any better memories for my little boy to cherish? Something to bring a smile to his face?
Hand on heart, it has not always been smooth sailing. When has parenting ever been? We’ve had our fair share of tears and tantrums, trials and tribulations. There has been enough melodrama to fill all of Albert Square. But surely, surely, there have been those wonderful moments when we have laughed together. Those cherished memories of sharing a book or humming a song or simply pottering around the house. All those kisses and cuddles. Can he not recall any of that at all? Or are those moments too few and far between to make a significant impression on his developing psyche?
Have I really let my son down?
I am not much good at playing, I admit. I can get impatient. My attention span at pretend play or garden games is perhaps worse than that of my son. Also, there is this uncontrollable need to capture every moment on camera for posterity. And for the blog.
That magical moment when my son and I are enveloped in our own little imaginary universe. I am guilty of breaking that spell.
I have other shortcomings that perhaps get in the way of a more laid back upbringing. I have this almost obsessive need for order - in the house, in the garden, even on the computer. My head physically hurts when surrounded by chaos. I like things to be just so.
Plus there is always something that needs doing. "I'll be with you in a minute, darling. Just as soon as I have finished this." How many times have I said that over the last four years? How many times has he heard me say that?
Little wonder then, that all my son remembers is his mother working - on the blog, in the kitchen, around the house - cleaning, tidying, just trying to keep on top of everything.
The time has come to take a step back and let go. Let go of the need to control, the urge for perfection. Deep breaths, relaxed shoulders. To go with the flow. I only hope it is not too late. That I can make amends for my earlier impatience. So that my son knows how much I miss him without the need to ask. So that he knows I will always be there for him, no matter what.