There is a wide gap between who I would like to be and who I actually am. I have a fantasy self-image: patient and calm, funny and relaxed, wise and available, hospitable and welcoming. There are moments, especially if there is an audience, when I can feel myself on the knife-edge between being true and playing a part; or perhaps it is an awareness of trying to be what I hope to be and wondering if I'm coming over that way. It's not hypocrisy but aspiration. But then I am brought face to face with my own weakness. So often I find myself in a situation where I know what I wish I could do, what I believe I ought to do, when I want to live up to my expectations of myself.
I want to be the kind of mum that always kisses her children goodnight, stopping to listen to their hearts and blessing them with a prayer. Some evenings I am. Many more, I tell the children that I am tired and busy and, though I love them, I don't want to hear from them again until the morning and I leave the room with a hastily blown kiss.
I am learning that the more space I have and the slower I take life, the more I am the mum, the wife, the friend, the person I want to be. I am also taking the time to savour the sequin moments when who I am and who I want to be come together. Like last night when, with hot chocolate to drink and duvets on the floor, we all gathered in my little girl's room and I read aloud 'In which house is Built at Pooh Corner for Eeyore' with a cast of voices which I for one felt worthy of an award. We laughed at Pooh's clock always saying five minutes to eleven because it is broken, and remembered playing in the snow, and had a look at a run-on sentence featured in a Bravewriter Arrow, and talked about the earthquake simulation at the Natural History Museum, and it was a special, sparkly, family moment. And I was who I want to be.