I am a terrible mother.
My child is crying, standing outside in the rain and his tears, blue wellies, blue jacket shouting into the trees.
I bought him seeds so he could have his own patch in the vegetable garden. When I told him, I’d ordered his own pack of seeds, his response
“Awww. That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me”
A good mother. A kind mother.
Seeds arrive. Not enough for him with the five envelopes neatly packed into a little tin. With pictures of sunflowers and pumpkins, radishes, cress and butterfly flowers.
“I just want MORE seeds. MORE”
Him shouting, me sighing, both sitting on the new rug, fire lighting on a wet day in February.
“But I want to plant them NOW!
Tired Tuesday mother. Thinking of ways to brighten up a rainy day for both of us.
We go outside to plant the cress. This cheers him up, willing to let the other seeds wait until the weather gets warmer.
We go to the greenhouse, pick a couple of shallow trays and he scoops the compost in. Shakes seeds on top. Another layer of compost. Chooses his favourite spot in the greenhouse.
Done. Greenfinger mother and son. We head back inside. I pick up some wood from the shed for the fire. He wants to pretend it’s a boat. I don’t. I just want to pick up the wood and go inside and put it on the fire and sit by the fire and not have a small person give out to me every five minutes.
A mini tug of war. There is more wood, but we both want this piece. He is three. I am three times his height, his weight. I pull it out of his hands. I am old enough to know better. I pull too hard, too roughly. I scrape his hands in the pulling. He wails. He is young enough to feel a minor scrape like a dagger to the side.
I am angry mother, small-one’s-cries-grating-on-my-ears mother. I am in-the-wrong mother, not wanting-to-back-down mother. Having-a-shouting-match -in-my-head-with-a-three-year-old mother.
I am the only mother he knows. I am letting him down, letting him stand outside shouting into the rain.
“Are you ready to come inside?”
“NO, I’m NOT ready!” Stomps, Shouts. Echoes. I worry about what the neighbours think.
Eventually he calms enough to let me close. Space opening up between the thing he was annoyed about and the current moment.
“Will we sit down and read a book?”
Yes, we will. Coats off, wellies off. Hugs. Sorry.
I’m sorry I’m not perfect. I’m sorry I’m mean sometimes. I’m sorry seeds need to be planted at certain times and there aren’t enough of them. I’m sorry that wood is for burning and that sometimes the stubborn three-year-old in me wants to do the thing that I want to do.
In his book a sheep is getting a massage. He wants to know what a massage is. So I massage his feet, as I did when he was a baby, before he would crawl away from this gesture of love.
I am forgiven. By both of us.