On Friday afternoon I got the girls up from their nap and within minutes they were both screaming. Not just crying, or having a tantrum, but really really screaming, which in itself is pretty rare for both of them. LL eventually calmed down, but poor Mads carried on sobbing, while clutching her ear in pain. I tried to reason with her, to cuddle her, to comfort her, but nothing was working. After realising she wasn't going to settle, I rang the emergency doctor and headed down there to get them to check her out.
I rang my Mum in slight despair at the noise and stress of the situation, and on hearing Mads and LL crying in the background, she came to my rescue. She sat with Mads on her lap, holding her tight, doing her Grandma duties, while I cuddled LL. She came in while the doctor checked them over, and after diagnosing both with bad coughs, high temperatures, and poor Mads with a severe ear infection, she took me to Sainsbury's and bought us 'essential medical supplies' such as antibiotics, ice cream, ice lollies, diet coke and sweets.
She then came back to my house which I had left in a hurry and in a complete state and she cleaned up around me while I cuddled my poorly ladies close on the sofa. She got on her hands and knees and scrubbed a rather disgusting cat poo off my carpet (thanks Walter!), she changed the litter tray, she hoovered and she helped me sort out the girls. She pottered around for an hour or so, before giving me a cuddle and leaving us to it, as Mr E was out for the evening.
As I lay in our bed a little later on, my arms tightly round Mads who was whimpering and crying in her sleep, while playing with my ear as she so often does for comfort, I thought back to my Mum. Those simple gestures, those things she does for me day in and day out, that show us just how much she cares. How she comes up to my house and grabs a load of my washing, takes it back and irons it just to help me out. How earlier in the week when we were all feeling under the weather she told us to come up to hers. She helped the girls paint while I sat back, had a break and ate beans on toast. How easily it is ingrained in her to take care of us, even now. How these things are so small that sometimes I don't even notice them, but that when I take a second to think about it, I realise just how much she does.
This is motherhood.
It's not always plain sailing. It's not always about picture perfect photos, happy days out and ticking off milestones. It's about having that instinct in you to know when your children need you, whatever age they are. It's about the simple things, the ordinary moments and the little gestures. And as soon as you take that little person in your arms the moment they are born, you learn what it is like to love someone unconditionally. Through the amazing times, the rough times, the ordinary times and the day to day times.
We have had a fair few moments like that this week. Moments where I have felt this raw emotion that comes with being a mother. Like when I was cuddling in bed with Mads, letting her play with my ear pretty much all night long even though it actually hurts a little sometimes and meant I couldn't sleep. Or realising a poorly LL had fallen asleep on me and not moving for an hour because I was relishing that feeling of having her so close to me. It's these moments, that technically are supposed to be tough, that are genuinely the sweetest. To feel that satisfaction and utter love that comes with being the one my babies need. That I am the one that makes it all better.
Sometimes I think about how fast the time is going and it almost takes my breath away. It makes me feel so sad to think that one day my girls might not need me, or that I might not be their whole world. The thought of it makes me get tears in my eyes and I will the days, months and years to not pass so quickly. But then I think about my own Mum. About how she would drop anything to look after us. All the simple, little things she does to help us. About how at thirty years old, I still need her. And I know that she is there. She always was.
I hope one day my girls will look back and remember not only the big holidays, fun days out, or exciting times. I hope they will remember the ordinary and the not so good ones too. How I held back their hair as they were sick, how I cuddled them close and held them as they cried. How I would do anything for them and about how I loved them unconditionally.
Because that is motherhood.