My character Emily is the character that is most like me and I guess Emily helps me work out all the mothering stuff! She has two daughters aged seven and nine. I use daily snippets of my life and weave them through her story. The story below is mine, but I’ve used the names of Emily’s children instead of my own.
The pool shimmers with heat, the sun is the perfect shade of warmth on my back.
Maddy screams and yells, all fury and tawny skin and anger.
“Maddy, you sounds really upset.” Some furious sentence about a pool floaty comes back at me.
“I think you might be feeling really, really frustrated and like things are not fair.” Her fury settles from outrage to plain old devastation.
“I think it might feel like no-one is listening to you. And I think that’s a really difficult feeling.” Devastation receeds to acknowledgement and she nods.
I rub her back. She leans into me, spitting the last of her steam into a senseless sentence.
“I’m so sorry for you Maddy, I’m thinking maybe when we come back to the pool tomorrow you should have first turn on the pineapple floaty.”
She meets my eyes, her tears stopping.
“Does that sound good?”
“Would it be ok if we have a hug before we leave?”
She hugs me then wanders off after her Dad, chattering.
Lucy siddles up to me, “Mum?”
“When I have babies will you teach me how to do what you just did with Maddy?”
“Sure Lucy, I can teach you how to do that.”
“Did Nana teach you?”
“No lovely. I watched a Masterclass this morning on Negotiating With Terrorists. That’s where I learn my mothering skills.”
Later that night as I lay beside Maddy reading her Harry Potter she says, “I’d hate to have to go to one of those colleges where you have to sleep there.”
“You mean a boarding school?” I said.
“Yes, is that what it’s called?”
“I’d never send you to boarding school Maddy. I’d miss you too much.” Maddy snuggles into me further, “But what if it was Hogwarts and they sent you a letter inviting you to come?”
She snuggles even closer and says, “I’d have to find a way to smuggle you in!”
She cuddles me tighter making my heart smile. I must be doing well, doing a good job at this mothering thing. I must be getting it right. It’s such a relief and stems ‘that thought‘, the secret thought that all mothers have – am I good enough, am I up to it?
“What does smuggle mean?”