Honest Motherhood: The Messy Colourful Blur of 2021

How we have reached the end of this year quite so quickly I do not know. 2021 has been a messy, colourful blur to me. Lockdown, four weddings, and the birth of Joel’s beautiful baby nephew, as with most years it’s been an eclectic mix of the awful, the joyful, and everything in between. 

We celebrated Leo’s first birthday and watched him grow from a gurgling little bundle to a communicative toddler who repeats “Mum”, “Dad”, “book” and a small handful of other vocabulary. He will shake his head and frown if we offer him something he does not want and stretch out his hand and say “more!” if he indeed wants more of something.
He does not yet walk. It seems the more we will him to walk, the less inclined he is to bother. He took a few steps between Joel and I one weekend. We got very excited, sent the video to half our family and thought that was that. This was over a month ago. Not much has happened in the way of independent steps since but if he hears music he likes, he’ll stand on his own and dance along unaided. (His unique dance resembles that of the infamous “twerking” motion.) 
He loves his walker and will trot up and down the house quite happily with that. We’ve decided to try and forget the walking for now, we know it’ll come in good time, if anything it’s probably been hindered by our incessant cajoling. Neither of us have bothered purchasing him shoes, (I’ve no desire to begin the overpriced Clarks visits a moment sooner than necessary) though some kind of slipper sock might be an idea, the amount he pounds our kitchen floor. 

Maia has gone from sassy seven year old to sassier and even sharper with her tongue therefore more stressful to discipline, eight year old. Paradoxically I adore her for this, as I know it will stand her in good stead later in life. However we can all agree parenting an individual who is basically just a smaller version of you but with far more energy (to fight back), has got to be one of the most relentless, painstaking, patience testing ordeals. And she’s not even nine. I rant to my own mother about this, and receive little sympathy:
“She has SO much attitude Mum!” I grumble. 
“And where do you think that comes from Angela…” she responds without hesitation. 
I go to bed some nights feeling I could have been kinder, taken a breath before reacting or just spent an extra ten minutes with her at bedtime. It seems I am still adjusting to the juggle of two children, and I don’t always get it right. I take comfort knowing she is a bright, hilarious, thoughtful, confident young girl so I must be onto something. She’s also an amazing big sister to Leo. Seeing them together playing nicely (when he’s not irritating her or being downright destructive in her bedroom) does make my heart smile. It rarely lasts long but it makes all the hard bits worth it. 

It has not been an easy year for anyone. The level of uncertainty, the loneliness many vulnerable people have endured, the pressure on the NHS, the list goes on. 
As always it all makes me incredibly grateful for the smallest of things, that I know looking back will be the biggest of things. Having a good long chat with my 78 year old dad, sat happily in his armchair at home, munching on a biscuit. Watching Maia deliver her lines beautifully in her first ever show. Finally painting the living room with Joel and feeling delighted with the end result. Writing a blog post, alone and uninterrupted thanks to the kindness of Leo’s grandparents. Going clothes shopping with my Mum. Catching up with an old friend. 
2022 will be another colourful year no doubt. Despite the current worldly challenges, I look forward to it. For all the smallest of things.

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