Tuesday, 22 June 2010

that extra cuddle

I was away at the weekend with my University girlfriends, the 10th time we have had a weekend away together. Once I work out how to put some of my photos from my spangly new camera up here, I'll write some more about remembering how important my friends are. How easy it is in our busy lives to forget that they are there, arms open, and that it's dangerous to isolate yourself as I tend to do.

The boys were a bit unsettled when I came back, despite having had a lovely time with Daddy and Grandparents and all.

Tonight at bedtime however, I got to see a little more of the wobble. We did the usual bedtime routine, with me, as often happens, becoming "mean Mummy" and a bit stern in order to get everyone to calm down. We had our nice stories and cuddles as usual and I went downstairs.

About 5 minutes later J came down the stairs looking heartbroken saying I hadn't lain with him for long enough and that I had with L. Instead of getting impatient as on another more tiring day I might, I gently led him back up the stairs and lay down for a cuddle.

Because I like to talk openly with my kids, especially this big sensitive "wiser than his years" boy, I asked if he'd missed me at the weekend and he nodded and squeezed me tighter. I also asked who he thought got more Mummy time, him or Louis. And for this the thumb popped out and he said immediately and with conviction his brother's name. When I asked him when L got this Mummy time, it took a while to come out but I knew I needed him to feel he could say it. "When you go to the hospital". I said I understood, but that he needed to know that it wasn't fun when we went to the hospital most of the time, although my job was to make it as nice as can be. I said that L got poked and prodded and had to be really patient while we waited around and that we had a nice time, but that it wasn't special. Not that L found it upsetting though, as I gestured to his little brother and we giggled at the fact that as usual he was singing away in a silly voice in his own pre-sleep routine.

I told J I understood how he felt, but that here I was giving him a huge long cuddle because I want him to feel special too. That mummy loves both her boys and tries to share herself, but also that going to the hospital together isn't a choice, it's just part and parcel of his condition. Which is unfair for everyone.

I know I succeeded in letting him be honest and not feel guilty about feeling how he felt, although it hurt my heart a bit for how he wrestled with himself before saying it.

Instead of feeling the burden of how to make sure this sibling of a special brother is ok, I can see that each of my boys needs something different from their Mummy, and I have to work out what that is and listen to my instincts. With L sometimes it comes more easily because he's a child where he's either happy or sad, cross or calm, scared or confident. Also because me and him have our own bubble in how we deal with the hospital and illness stuff and it works and evolves with each visit. With J I have a little boy for whom you have to gently coax up the emotions all the way up from his toes

Tonight all it needed was an extra cuddle, and in the grand scheme of things, that felt really lovely.

1 comment:

  1. Extra cuddles are what makes being a mom the best. Our non-affected siblings are wise beyond their years and so graciously understanding. I'm glad you took the moment to be with him.