Shevonne Hunt is the host of our parenting show Kinderling Conversation
Recently Insight on SBS had a fascinating program called 'Why Mothers Leave'. It was confronting, insightful and heartbreaking.
There were women who had left their families talking about why they had left. And there were the children of the mothers who had left.
Richard Glover, presenter of one of the highest rating radio shows in the country, had been one of those children. When he was a boy, his mother left to be with his English teacher.
He spoke about going through her papers after she’d died, and finding a letter. It was written around the time of his 15th birthday, and in it she was saying how Richard was holding her back from being with the man she really wanted to be with - her lover.
Midway through telling that story, Richard had to stop. At over 50 years of age, with a hugely successful career, a loving partner and two sons, the words written by his mother decades ago still had the power to leave him speechless and in pain.
It made me think about my own diary, and the hundreds of Facebook posts that will live on after I am gone. Words written as an outlet, sometimes in anger, sometimes in humour. They’re not words I want my children to use to interpret how I feel about them.
So I decided I wanted to write my own letter to my children...
Dear Darcy and Arlo,
Right now Darcy you are four, and Arlo, you just turned two.
I can’t remember life before you were here. As each year passes, I find myself wanting to hold onto the age you are. Even while I’m excited at the little people you are becoming, I’m filled with a strange sadness knowing you won’t be small forever.
Please ignore all of those FaceBook posts. They were intended for other parents, often to help friends laugh at the challenges of having small children. Darcy, I’m so sorry I posted that video of your face while you were doing a poo, but seriously, how cute do you look?
Regarding my diaries, you need to understand one very important thing: diary writing for me has always been an outlet, somewhere to dump all my fear, and worry, and anger, without it hurting anyone. I snatch time, and purge myself of all those dark thoughts.
I do find that being a mum can be hard. It’s stretched me in ways that I wasn’t ready for, that I’m still getting used to.
But those diaries never capture the little moments that balance out all the fear and uncertainty that comes with being a parent. There is so much more to life right now than worrying about the rent.
So here’s a few of those moments:
At night, Darcy you often sneak into our bed, curling up into my body. You fit so perfectly in my arms and I love it and I will miss you intensely when you grow old enough that you don’t want to snuggle like this anymore.
Arlo, I dropped you at Nanna’s the other day, and as I left I turned back to see you in her arms, the sunlight behind you both. You had your hand cupped under her chin and you were saying something very earnestly. I left for work with my heart full to overflowing.
Sometimes I watch you with your dad, laughing and being silly, and I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world.
Often on a Friday, Darcy and I will grab a coffee and a hot chocolate at a café on the way to day care, and we sit in the sun and just chat, a little cocoon of girl time.
Arlo, when I tickle you or blow raspberries on your belly your laughter is so joyful I feel like I could burst just listening to you.
So many moments, I could write about them forever.
I also want you to know that having you has changed me. I feel like a tree that was a sapling that’s finally growing leaves. I’ve developed more patience, more compassion, more humour and a whole lot more love. It’s not always an easy process, but you’re making me a better person.
I’m sure that as time goes on, I’m going to write more words about you that you will read. I hope with all my heart I never write anything that hurts you, or makes you doubt your self-worth or the love I feel for you.
Being a parent is hard. But you’re worth it.
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