WHEN we bought our first house a few years back it took myself and Yer Man a good while to settle in together.
There was the whole ‘learning how not to stab him in the face with a fork when he snored’ period and the ‘learning how not to go mental when she forgot to put out the food bin and we got maggots, again’ period and then an entire month of ‘It’s not MY turn to clean the bathroom, fuck off for yourself’.
But more than that was the feeling that we were just playing at living together, playing at owning a house. It felt kind of like a B&B, we moved carefully around, putting things back in their rightful place, waiting for the real owners to show up.
If we wanted to move a piece of furniture around we looked fearfully at each other, wondering if it was ok, so used were we to living in either our parents’ houses or rented accommodation where you’re pretty much stuck with what you’ve got.
It took a while to realise that this house belonged to us, that we were responsible for it, that we paid for it and we could pretty much do what we liked to it.
It took a while for it to feel like home, but gradually we got there. I feel like a homeowner now, this is my home, my haven.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day – my first Mother’s Day – and this week all those same feelings I had when we moved in here first have resurfaced. I had a home but didn’t feel like a homeowner. I have a baby but I don’t feel like a mother.
I don’t know how better to explain it, but I feel, again, like I’m playing a role, I’m playing at being a mother and any minute now Seán’s real mother will show up to claim him.
It’s odd because the rational part of my brain tells me that I am a mother – of course I am. I was pregnant, I gave birth to him, I have the c-section scar and the post natal depression to prove it. Of course I’m his mother.
I feel love – all-encompassing, consuming, sunlight bright love – for him. That never wavers, it only grows, it only gets brighter. But I still don’t feel fully like a mother.
There’s the comedy element to it, I suppose. I’ve yet to ask Seán if he’s turned off the immersion; I don’t have hair like Brenda Fricker; I don’t air vests or warn people about getting a cold in their kidneys. So I’m not your typical Irish Mammy. Not yet, anyway. (Though, seriously, music these days really IS just white noise.)
I guess, more than the practicalities of it, I don’t mentally feel like I’m someone’s mother. Perhaps I don’t feel old enough, though the mirror tells me that I’m plenty old enough thank you very much. Those aren’t laughter lines, you deluded fool, they’re wrinkles.
When it comes down to it, I suppose I don’t feel good enough. It’s such a responsibility to be someone’s mother, it is at times completely overwhelming. It is my job to guide this perfect little boy through life and to help him to learn, to grow, to be the best human being that he can be. That’s some job and I’m still not quite sure if I’m the best person for it.
So this Mother’s Day I dedicate this post to Seán – I’m not sure what I did to deserve your beautiful little spirit but I hope one day you’ll be glad that you were sent to me and that I can prove myself worthy. Happy Mother’s Day baba and by the way, turn off the immersion! Do you think I’m made of money?