Here to soothe the soul, I see.
It took us so long to get to you. We nearly made our own body of water inside the house as I soothed the tears of children.
‘Are we going to have a good time at the beach, kids?’ Daddy asks.
I don’t think they hear him over the sound of their despair, with one ear muffled into my shoulder.
I don’t know, but I don’t say it aloud. The anxiety of being ‘so good’ at this is a lot. ‘If you fall apart, we all fall apart,’ I thought. Keep being ‘good’ at holding the space. If you can’t, everything will spill over. A mess we don’t have time to clean up.
Hours later and it isn’t long before I’m cradling a child again. Insert at least eight desperate things I tried that I can’t remember as all of my senses exceeded their limits.
In the end, I surrendered to the noise. Surrendered to the fact that people could witness discomfort. Surrendered to the promise I don’t need discomfort to become my own. They are safe in my arms to express it.
‘Are we going to have fun at the beach?’ Those words, they haunt me. I wish so deeply for it to be easy. I’ve already smothered them in sunscreen, fed them, packed all the good beach stuff. What more?
It’s not perfect. But my body is glistening in the sun, the salt thick on my skin. I don’t really know about astrology but I like the idea of being a Pisces. I’m cradling the sweetest child who loves me so, who believes I can be the person they need. I’m watching other humans engage with nature. I’ve found calm. I feel glad we came. Even if you cry all the way home (which you did). Even if I reach my limit on New West Road (which I did).
I don’t have a beer in each hand and a ridiculous blow up chair that lasts one day, or the bikini body I used to have. But I have this. And it’s fun.
I’m standing there with these thoughts being written on an imaginary page in my head when another car pulls up.
A flurry of unpacking. Noise. Familiar chaos.
Then comes a callous statement, not a question. A demand, a plea; before she throws her hands in the air and storms to the water’s edge.
‘Look, everyone else is having fun. Are we going to have fun at the beach, kids?’
Little does she know.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Zelma of The Postnatal Project. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Zelma here:
‘They say a lot of things. They say mom should listen. But she doesn’t.’: Mom’s beautiful description of mindful parenting, despite criticism
‘I hate grass stains on trousers. Snotty and mucky faces are so gross!’ My parenting pet peeve is that this thread exists at all.’: Mom shares why parenting pet peeves are unfair
Let Them Feel The Love They So Fiercely Reflect Back To You — Let Them Be Little
‘He offered to take it off my list. ‘Oh,’ I said. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t grateful.’: Tired mom talks difficulty of shifting ‘mental load,’ despite husband’s willingness to help
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