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Still small voices.

After screaming at my kids about how hard this life is for me, I have to take a breath.

I have to walk away.

I have to calm down.

Becoming a mother you think the first year of life is the hardest thing you've ever done. Well I see your Newborn, and I raise you Teenagers. Babyhood never looked so good.

Now I'm in sole charge of two fledgling adults. Who think they know so much and can take my breath away with their insight, yet still know so little at all.

We started the conversation about chores and ended up with me yelling, "If you hear nothing else from all of this, hear this - this is HARD. FOR. ME!" I probably should have led with that.

Why did I need to say that and why did the tears spring so quickly when I did? Why did it feel like such a relief? Maybe it was a cosmic cry of "Is anyone catching this? Is anyone remembering that me is all I've got to work with and I'm not cutting it?"

It may have been a relief for a second but then it kills me. Haven't they got enough to contend with? Shouldn't I be shouldering all this for them and tucking myself up at night to deal with me later?

But I'm it. There is no one to fall into bed with at 11.00 pm and say, "Well that was a nightmare," or "Isn't she incredible?" or "Did you see how he handled that?"

So yes, self-pity bit me in the bum this morning and I yelled. Full volume, in the face of their own struggling.

And that's the moment when I go (again), "I can't do this, can I. I actually can't." And I look around for someone bigger, someone wiser, someone kinder, someone whole-er than me.

"S***, s***, s***. I'm so sorry," I tell Him. Tears over the keyboard, tears in the silence, tears knowing that - when everyone gets to recoup - I will go upstairs and say, "I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry."

I get it wrong, I don't know what I'm doing, I'm inconsistent, I let things slide, I think about myself at the very moment I should be digging deeper for them, and I crack. Yet me is all I've got to work with so I have to find a way of making it work. And that's called grace.

Before I can go upstairs, one of them has come downstairs to me. "I'm sorry, Mum. I'm so so sorry."

We hug.

On we go.

jsg/sept 18

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