If you go away

This blog was originally published on a different site, 3/11/16

I’ve had a lump in my throat all morning, and not just because I currently have viral strep throat.

Sometimes something happens that brings you fully into the present, something totally innocuous on the surface but utterly sobering when you scratch beneath.

After a bout of pneumonia 2 years ago, I’ve had tonsillitis four times. A quick trip to the doctor and a week’s course of antibiotics and it clears up. This is what I thought I had again, but no, strep throat this time. Viral, so no antibiotics just a throat spray and some “go and rest” advice.

The cubs know about this and hear me up coughing at all hours of the night. They had me in stitches last night when they both came and gave me a big hug and said, “we want you better, Mum,” and I shushed them with “I’ll be fine in a few days, don’t worry.”

The youngest then ruined this Oscar-worthy tender moment by following up plaintively with “Can we get ice cream now?”

But then this happened. This morning, getting ready to leave for school, she started crying for no reason. I mean proper tears and sobs, clinging to me. I finally got her to tell me what was wrong, and she said she didn’t want to go to school in case I wasn’t here when she got back.

I assured her that, of course, I’d be here and that I was going to be fine. Calmed, we went off to school and she’ll have her usual fun day there.

But now, alone to think about it, I’m in bits. You forget at times that they absorb everything, even when you think they’re not listening. Especially then.

I don’t want my kids to worry about stuff like that. I want their childhood to be carefree and fun, not blighted by stress and difficulties. We all do. But for so many, it isn’t. I can barely watch footage of the children on the news, fleeing war, looking for safety and compassion, all alone.

Bloody coward that I am. I’m not going to look away anymore.

I’ve spent today thinking how lucky I am, so grateful to have them and how they make my life so much bloody better just by being in it.

Lucky to be healthy, lucky to be loved and lucky to be here, right now.

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