Dead Seals and Monkeys Blood

Dear Leo and Miller,

It was Mother’s Day on Sunday which led me to thinking about whether I am a good Mother. I’m trying not to let the fact I’m convinced you both got sun-burnt over the weekend influence my decision too much. Took you to the beach – good mum. Couldn’t find sunscreen – bad mum. Got you ice-cream – good mum. Put you to bad unwashed and without tea because you fell asleep in the car on the way home – bad mum. You both behaved so well all day apart from one unfortunate incident involving you Leo. You weren’t happy with the amount of raspberry sauce on your 99 and began screaming “I WANT MORE MONKEYS BLOOD” at a queue full of people.

It’s definitely getting easier though. The day tripping I mean. Miller, we didn’t take your buggy with us for the first time and it was a revelation. You can more or less get away with not having a day-time sleep now so we just left it behind and only took the essentials (not including sunscreen unfortunately.) No scooters or toys either. Something about the lack of baggage made the whole experience so much more enjoyable. We got up to Beadnell about lunchtime and went straight to the beach. Three hours straight. On the beach. I would like to say that you played in the sea happily together all day but in truth, you spent most of the time fascinated with a washed-up dead seal that was missing it’s face…  And that’s OK because it taught you lots about life and death and allowed me and your Dad to sit and do nothing for a while. It’s getting harder every day now to hide from you that I am a very lazy person. Your Aunty Jess was very sporty as a child. Uncle Max and Uncle Freddie were too and still are now. I have never been. Which is why I’m so grateful that your Dad will happily run around with you in his arms, up and down sand dunes (your new favourite game) for hours on end.

How my Mum found the energy to deal with four small children all at once absolutely blows my mind… And it’s totally understandable why her one answer to all my parenting questions – Did you cry a lot Mum? Did I get chicken pox? Did Dad ever take us all out at the same time? When did we start playing nicely? – is “Sarah, I honestly can’t remember.” The whole experience must remain a total blur. I think that’s exactly what life is like with children – and this weekend with you was no exception – a beautiful blur. Of mess and crying, heart-stopping happiness, exhausted faces, flushed faces, mornings in the dark and night-times when it’s light, furious words, bed sheets and beaches, nothing where it should be, scruffy limbs and sticky hair, out-of-nowhere tenderness, dead seals and monkeys blood.

Love Mum.

x

Family, Work & Charity

Dear Leo and Miller,

So Something for Syria is actually happening. It’s real and we know it’s real because it’s in a newspaper. The event has been picked up by The Journal newspaper who have run a feature on it. It’s brilliant publicity and will hopefully kick-start some more ticket sales. And we could do with a run on sales because at this point there are more organisers than paid-for ticket holders – which I suspect is not the ideal ratio, a month before the night.

The downside to all of this activity is that I have been totally neglecting the other important things in my life. Every spare second I have, I am on my phone or the lap-top. Your Dad is not happy. He made a list of what my priorities should be and they went like this: Family, Work, Charity. Which is absolutely correct but this period of time reminds me of something your Granny Ellen told me when I found out I was pregnant with you Miller and I was worried (as I’m sure everyone about to have baby number 2 feels) that I couldn’t possibly love another child as much as I loved Leo.

She said to me “The child you love most is the child that needs you most and that always changes” which completely makes sense.

And right now, if Family, Work and Charity were babies, it’s Charity that needs me the most and so it takes precedent. I don’t mean I have left my family to starve but my mind is certainly elsewhere a lot of the time and I am constantly breaking my own rule of not having my phone out when I’m with you both. But it won’t be forever and I think it’s important that you both know how crucial it is to spend time and energy on a good cause that in no way directly benefits yourself or your loved ones. Because anyone can say they help other people but usually they’re just talking about their nearest and dearest and I just don’t think that’s good enough. If we don’t widen the net of who we lend our help and support to – how does anything really change?

So hopefully you will understand and look back at what my friends and I spectacularly pull off on February 27th (fingers-crossed) and be proud that you took a back seat to let something wonderful happen.

Love.