Three years ago today, you were born, and so was Mummy.
Because let’s face it – up until then I had been someone completely different, with other priorities, worries and hopes. I had always wanted to be a mummy, and now you came along and gave me that chance.
I had spent two years wondering if you would ever happen. I had worried that my womb wasn’t strong enough, that my eggs weren’t always there, that my body wasn’t doing its job.
And then you happened – my little Christmas present – and I spent nine months worrying that my diet wasn’t healthy enough, that my house wasn’t child-friendly enough, that my savings account wasn’t big enough.
Other people worried too. You were a little on the big side (gestational diabetes? No, just a good sized baby), my blood was Rhesus negative, and then you were late.
Nine days late. I overcooked you, my 9lbs 4oz baby boy. You were reluctant to meet us, I think. Maybe my body was where you wanted to stay. Involuntary pushing, failed forceps, failed ventouse, C section and then…there you were, all of you, in your daddy’s arms while he cried and I strained my head, fighting through an anaesthetic and pinned down arms to look at you, my whole entire world, bundled there in a tiny green hat and a cell blanket.
I remember them popping you, naked, down my sweat soaked tshirt and onto my chest, and thinking that I never wanted you to leave there.
You slept there for months, on the sofa during the day where I neglected dishes and tidying and just savoured your being, and my being your mummy. Your little hand would tighten round my finger and I would burst.
A whole new set of worries began. Why wouldn’t you latch? Why were people so against me co-sleeping? Were you gaining weight?
Should you be sleeping through yet? Were you sleeping too long, too late, too much during the day? Should I be putting you down or picking you up?
Did I wean too early? With the right foods?
Teeth. Colic. Croup. A minor operation, where I held your hand as you slipped under an anaesthetic, insisting to myself that I must not cry but crying anyway and the nurse handing me tissues, as she must have to do to every mummy.
And three years later the worries never stop. Diet. Nursery. Pre-writing. Savings. Toilet training, screen time, the green cross code. You want my hand less these days, because you’re so independent, but whenever you are scared or near roads or just showing me that you’re my very best friend, you take my hand again and I relish it. Because I know that a day is coming where you won’t want to hold my hand any more, and you’ll let it go and run away across a playground and mature into a little man.
You’ve been holding my hand all this time for security and reassurance, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve worried and muddled through this for three years and nine months.
When you hold my hand it is you guiding me – come on mummy, this is what I need to be doing now. I need you to give me milk, and help to feed me now. I need you to brush my teeth, sort my pants, do my laces. I need you to take me walking, running, then all the way down the scary red chute at soft play. I need you to reassure me, teach me confidence, and then finally, let me go.
And I’ve worried. God, I’ve worried so much. The worrying never stops. I know I’ll still worry when you’re 21, 30, 45 if I see it.
But look at you: a credit to me, people say. Polite, bashful, a strong and healthy boy. Nothing to worry about at all.
I am so proud of you, and I’m so happy that of all the little people who could have given me the chance to be a mummy, I got you.
Happy 3rd birthday, little one. And happy 3rd birthday, Mummy.