As an only child and the daughter of an only child, I grew up without siblings or cousins. We moved house many times during my childhood which was hardly the best foundation for building friendships. I longed for a big family. I yearned for large, noisy family gatherings at Sunday lunches and holidays.
I decided to have six children. I changed my mind after one.
I hated being pregnant. I had none of the nesting glow others wax lyrical about. I was constantly tired, I felt fat, I no longer had control over my body and the whole process took way too long for me. However, my first two pregnancies were a walk in the park compared to the third one, where my morning sickness lasted the entire nine months. Three very different births, each painful in its own way, and the whole experience left me cold.
Each of my boys was, and still is, so different. As babies, toddlers and children, what worked for one didn’t worked for either of the others. There was plenty of trial and even more error. I made so many mistakes, it’s a wonder they grew up at all. But they did and they survived not only my muddled mothering, but their own explorations of the world around them. There were falls off chairs, tables and beds. There were accidents with bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and trees, as well as injuries with every sport they played. They went through all the childhood illnesses and more. They fought like the worst enemies and the next moment were the best of friends. At times, it felt as if all I did was dry tears, rub sore spots better, apply Band-Aids or drive to the doctor.
As they grew older we somehow managed to navigate the school years, the trials of teenagers and the whole messy time of becoming an adult. But we got there together. And, despite two of my boys living on the other side of the country, we are still close. Now, my eldest son is a father himself and I’m a Nana to his son.
Looking back at the good times, the bad times, the even worse times, the ugly, the beautiful and the wonderful, I wouldn’t change anything. I have no words to describe how much I love my boys and how much they mean to me.
My boys might be adults but being a mother never stops. It’s a journey of varied landscapes, scattered with obstacles and glorious sunrises. If I had been prewarned, I might never have taken the first step. But I did and have no regrets. Only a constant sense of wonderment at the delightful young men I proudly call my three sons.