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“7 THINGS - about which I’ve lied to my kids”
This week's "7 THINGS!"
“7 THINGS - about which I’ve lied to my kids”
Yes, this is a confession from a mother who lies to her children. I always have. And before you recoil in horror and condemn me to the naughty step, ask yourself if you have ever been guilty of any of the following. If you have ever said or supported similar when talking to little ones. I’m kinda hoping you have or else I am a really, really bad person…
Things I have lied to my kids about… here are this week’s “7 THINGS”
1. “Important imaginary figures who may or may not exist.” You know the ones I’m talking about; they deliver gifts via a chimney at Christmas time, they collect your milk teeth from under your pillow and they have long floppy ears and show up when chocolate eggs are in the offing… I still remember the look of horror and confusion on my son’s face when a “big boy” told him the truth. That big boy was 5. Nursery can be brutal…
2. “It won’t hurt, you’ll be fine!” This at numerous appointments for dental extractions, vaccinations, minor ops, and the inevitable stitches to sew them back together. This I have learned only buys you a little bit of time and actually in hindsight it might have been better in terms of emotional and physical preparation to tell them ‘it might hurt a little…’ thus maybe avoiding the shouts of absolute horror and faces contorted with tears when they hold your eye line and say, ‘you said it wasn’t going to hurt?’
3. “We can’t have pets here because they are not allowed.” As an army family, we moved a lot and each time the boys yearned for a dog/cat/rat/gecko I’d tell them it was not up to me but the British Army who had decreed; no pets in army housing.
‘How come George who lives next door has a dog?’
one of their favourite questions and,
‘Millie has two cats and stick insects!’
My reply? ‘Well, I just hope the Military Police don’t catch them!’
This worked well until we dog sat for George’s parents one weekend and the boys insisted on closing all the curtains and jumped every time the dog barked… while we fed and stroked the four-legged fugitive. Walking him under the guise of moonlight felt safest.
4. “Yes, I LOVE them!” I’ve lost count of the times I’ve responded like this to the question of ‘what do you think of my new partner?’ – now just to be clear, son one is going steady (do we still say that?) with the girl of my dreams for him. I’d pick her. I love her. I’ve already told him that if ever they split up – God, I’d miss him… but we have not always been so blessed. I’ve had to bite my lip while girls I knew were going to stamp on his heart like it was a dropped pea in the kitchen or who were blatantly mean, hung around the in their pants, looking at everything and everyone as if we we’d just queue jumped. I knew it was better to embrace them, to make life as smooth as possible but I can’t pretend it wasn’t tricky!
5. “NO! I don’t need a birthday/Mother’s Day/Christmas card!” Pah, I don’t need such bits of paper that are not only bad for the planet – expensive and far more commercial than they need to be! A quick text is absolutely fine! Whereas the truth is this: IT’S NOT FINE! I want that card! I want to open it, savour it, put it on the mantelpiece and get misty eyed over words written in haste in your less than perfect penmanship! I want to keep the card in a box under my bed with other bits of toot you made when you were little, love notes scribbled in pencil and left on my pillow, necklaces made of straws… oh please, just one card would make my bloody day!
6. “You should definitely go – have a great time! Spread your wings!” I’ve lost count of the times I’ve said this about jobs, new homes, college courses, festivals, trips abroad and others… ‘yes, go grab life! Have fun! See the world!’ I smile while I say it. Good Lord, I’ve even helped them pack! When what I want to do is fall on my knees and beg them not to stray too far from home. I want them close because I am their mum, and I can keep them safe. I sleep best when they are under my roof. And all the things that I fear are waiting in the big wide world to trip them up, things which loom large in my mind in the early hours can be kept at bay, if only they stay close to me.
7. “I’m fine!” this my go to phrase for just about anything. If illness is knocking on my door, loneliness is wrapped around my body or worry pokes me with its pointy stick before dawn, I tell the kids, “I’m fine!” Sometimes though I’m not fine. Sometimes I howl big fat, snotty tears. I cry because they are not little anymore but are big grown men whose need of me has (quite rightly) lessened. I cry because I miss their presence, their noise, their chatter, their mess! I cry because as they grow, they slip through my fingers a little, and again, (quite rightly) loving others more than me, building a life that is not set on the foundations I laid. My heart is full for the wonderful grown-up’s they have become. Pride bookends my words when describing them, but I lie when I say, “I’m fine!” and here’s the truth: I would give anything to have one more day when the boys were little and would put their hand in mine to cross a road, would laugh at my jokes, snuggle next to me on the sofa and sleep soundly because I was keeping watch. One more day when the possibility of magic existed, whether in the form of the gifts delivered via a chimney at Christmas time, milk teeth collected from under their pillows or the thought of the floppy eared one, showing up when chocolate eggs were in the offing… God how I miss those days. And that’s no lie.
Thank you for reading X