I’m a bit of an escapist. By that I mean I go off into a little fantasy world every now and again. Something, a word, a sound, a smell from my childhood, a song or just a mood will transport me elsewhere. I can become quite absorbed, forget where I am and start talking to myself. I have fascinating chats with Ray D’Arcy where I am the guest in his studio and many’s the time one of the boys will ask who I’m talking to.
One evening, on one of my trips, I found myself, in my head, introducing the boys to someone. I have many cousins who are a great deal older than me. I’m not completely sure how I’m related but it’s on my maternal grandmother’s side. Two of them in particular, I will meet only very occasionally.
They amaze me each and every time. Both of them always get my name right. Always. Without fail. They always have done. Bearing in mind I have 6 sisters and 5 of us share the same initial.
And what’s more they know the names of our boys too. But for some strange reason, that particular evening in my head, I was introducing the boys to one of these ladies but also describing briefly what each of them are like.
It went like this: This is our eldest boy. He is 7 and a great little artist and very good at telling stories. The next fella is 5 and he is the Irish speaker in the family. He is really good at it. And this chap here is one of the most affectionate boys you will ever meet. He is forever telling me he loves me, touching me, hugging me and asking me to bend down so he can kiss me.
Our third boy is indeed, the most affectionate child you will ever meet. He is happy out. He wakes up, most times, happy, if a little groggy. He is friendly, sociable, will talk to anyone, tell you his thoughts, and still have tonnes of hugs and kisses to dole out any time of the day or night.
Mister Husband is a cuddler but it is Liam who wraps his arms round my head in the morning as I am still sleeping. He whispers “Mammy, is it morning? I love ya,” all in one sentence and then I get an unhurried kiss on my forehead. His hand rubs my hair.
I love it. I love his openness. His readiness to show and accept affection.
And then I had my AWARE moment. I became Alert. Suddenly Wary. Then I was Accepting. I Realised something and knew I had to Educate myself.
If I am angry, annoyed, upset, stressed or in bad form, Liam will ask me “what’s wrong, Mammy?” He will touch my leg or my arm and look at me. I always tell him that nothing is wrong. Of course I do. Sometimes I say I’m just a bit tired, I’ll have a cup of tea and I’ll be grand.
Passing on that Irish Mammy myth that a cup of tea can fix everything.
Liam will say “OK, Mammy.” And then he tells me he loves me. But this is different.
He is trying to fix me.
Telling me he loves me is ok. But trying to fix me when I’m not OK is not OK.
That is not his job. That is my job. It is my job to fix me and make me happy again. No-one else can do that.
And definitely not my three and a half year old son.