Monday, 19 April 2010

The Maximum Effect

When Max was born, I was lying dead on the beach. My eyes were open and I could see seagulls, but until that moment over eight years ago ... I was dead. He breathed life into me. And love. My love for him had the power to slice open my addiction and blackness. I remember sitting down one night when he was two weeks old, sobbing that one day he would leave me.

I didn't want him to ever leave me.

These days, I'm steadily getting my groove on when it comes to parenting. I have fucked up, spectacularly. I come from a long line of shouters; proudly I can say that I have hardly ever hit Max. But man can I shout. I didn't realise that it was just as bad as hitting, if not worse.

One day, when he was about three, I had yelled at him for something. He is so sensitive, and unlike both of his brothers, can't STAND being in trouble. He sniffled up to me, and his words I will never forget.

"Mum, you broke my feelings."

I held him in my arms for so long, told him I was so so sorry. I thought about how, as a child, my feelings were broken. Not just hurt, broken. And I really didn't want that for him.

Another night, he was being unusually naughty, so I was shouting at him to get into bed. Dave came in, starting HURLING abuse at me, shouting right up in my face. I was so angry and shocked, said what the HELL are you doing?


Completely dysfunctional way to make a point, because by that stage Max was fucking terrified. But I understood.

I hardly yell any more. Except at Rocco. (Joking ... mostly.)

Max is growing tall and strong. He does football, hip-hop class, swimming. He's the most popular, beautiful little guy. He thinks big thoughts, always talks about how he saw me down on earth and chose me to be his mother. And maybe next life he will choose to come back as a frog, because they don't have to go to school.

I have made so many mistakes with him, and will make many more. He still loves me, still wants me to tuck him in bed every night.

I'm obsessed with his hands, they are so slender and handsome and delicate.

For many years, I was intent on making him a younger sibling. Then it happened, and it was a terrible time. A baptism of fire. Max instinctively knew he couldn't wake me up in the middle of the night any more, I was run ragged. He took a back seat, for a while. He learned to read, fluently, when I was too busy to notice.

It was hard enought to meet everyone's basic needs of eating and clothing. I had nothing in me to give.

My Max has been here, the whole time. Quietly, watching everything. The past few days he has been away with Dave, bonding and running on the beach and watching inappropriate films together.

(My husband goes off his nut for me giving Rocco half a vitamin C tablet ... but takes Max to see Kick Ass. Rated MA. WTF?)

He's home now, I can hear the strains of Super Mario Bros on his DS upstairs.

He is my anchor to the world, the prince who kissed sleeping beauty. I get this funny warm feeling in my heart when I lie down next to him, like our spirits are saying hi to each other.

One day he will leave me. And when he does, I want to send him out into the world prepared, able to take care of himself. Solid and grounded and hard working ... not a broken feeling in sight.

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