I’ve been very pensive recently, I suppose it’s inevitable with our Wedding so quickly approaching?! I adore Phill, I can’t wait to be his wife and spend the rest of my life with him; but there is a strange bitter-sweet feeling running through me and I think I may have worked out why. It’s Beth, my Beth.
On the day Bethany was born, something changed in me: I was no longer one person but part of a pair. She and I would be together forever. When you are pregnant no one warns you of the fierce emotions you will feel after the birth of your child. I remember looking into her eyes and feeling at once so in love and so vulnerable. I felt and still do feel that a little part of my heart, my soul, my very self, was inside this tiny life. Whilst I was pregnant she was safe inside me, but now here she was. She had eyes that could cry and skin that could bruise and she was being passed from person to person. All of a sudden my heart and soul had legs and could move around the World without me. It was overwhelming.
I love my daughter, I love being around her. I am proud every time she breaths in and out again. I love the way she smells like sweets and pencil crayons. I love the way her eyelashes move when she blinks and the way her sentences have a little lilt of a southern accent. She has taught me to feel joy.
At the time that she was born I was still in a relationship with Bethany’s father but as he was away at University for the first 2 and half years of her life, aside from visits, Bethany and I were just that; Bethany and I. Even when his degree was over, I still never felt as though he infiltrated the tight bond that we had and 2 years later when our relationship ended, Beth and I were just us two once again.
My role as Mother has defined me since I was 18 years old. I remember visiting an old boss when Beth was very small. I used to carry her despite having two prams at home, because I loved any excuse for a cuddle! Peter said as we walked into his shop; “Ah, the lioness and her cub”. I asked what he meant and he said that was what we looked like. A strong women, fearsome to many but delicate and gentle to her child. I took it as a compliment! Being the lioness isn’t always a good thing though. My fear of anyone hurting my daughter, physically or emotionally stems from my own childhood and has put the breaks on relationships in the past. Yet here I am, three weeks from my Wedding Day, prepared to share my little cub forever.
I look at the top picture of Beth and I: the woman I am now is so different from the girl I was back then and yet the same vulnerabilities remain. Am I really allowing someone else to come into our lives forever? Yes I am. Although I’ve tried to keep them under wraps, recently my feelings about Beth have been overwhelming and the fact that she and I are welcoming Phill into our little life is testament to how wonderful he is and how much we, the lioness and her cub, both love him.
Thanks to Phill, I have learnt to accept a small distance between Beth and I, allowing her to grow away from me a little and accepting that I cannot be everything to her. I have watched with my heart in my mouth as he teaches her to ride a bike. I have fought against my nature as they go off on outings and bond whilst I am busy with other commitments. Rather than feeling jealous of their growing relationship, it warms my heart.
They might not be biologically related, but the same sparkle of blue shines in both their eyes – he was always meant to be hers too. I still feel the pull of that tight red rope of love as I realise how much she has grown up in the last three years since I met Phill; but I thank God that he has been there with me, reminding me not to baby her, squeezing my hand as I leave her at the disco to dance with the other big girls, telling me she will be just fine.
Beth: “Boys aren’t that bad after all.”