Late last year I turned 50.
I had plans to write wise and funny blog posts proclaiming how 50 was definitely the new 40. I would give advice about the wisdom that comes with age and experience – and proudly declare I would embrace my greys.
But those blog posts didn’t happen.
And the greys were not embraced.
Sometimes things happen that throw your world into turmoil, and everything else is forgotten. It’s in those unexpected awful moments that you realise what’s really important.
And when that hard stuff involves one of your children, your instinct to protect kicks in.
As a mother, you want to jump in and fix everything.
You want to wrap your arms around your child and never let go.
Your heart breaks – but you have to be strong.
You love them with everything you have.
You tell them they can tell you anything – no matter what.
You let them know you have their back.
You do what you have to until you know they’re safe.
Then you get into bed at night and you fall apart.
You question yourself, and every decision you’ve ever made.
And tell yourself you’re the worst parent in the world.
Your heart feels like it’s being ripped wide open and you don’t know how it’ll ever mend.
You cry uncontrollably as the emotion engulfs you.
The stories in your mind unravel far worse than any reality.
The waves of tears keep coming until you’re physically and emotionally exhausted, and you have no tears left.
Eventually, you fall into a fitful sleep, where your dreams scare you and the night feels dark and cold.
But you get up the next day and put the armour back on.
The emotions in control until night falls again
No matter how old they are – they’ll always be your babies, you will always have their backs, you will always feel their pain, and you will always want to take that pain away.
So many of us go through things in our personal lives, and try to put on a brave face, try to keep up, try to appear as if we’re coping, when in reality we’re barely keeping our heads above water.
It’s in those times we realise what’s important.
We realise what matters, and what doesn’t.
Sometimes we feel every one of our years.
50 doesn’t feel like the new 40 right now.
It feels like a continual hangover – but without the alcohol. (actually that’s a lie – there is a definite need for gin)
But 50 carries a heart full of love, hope, and a determination to get through the hard times.
50 brings knowledge that we all fall down.
And sometimes we’re not sure we’ll ever get back up.
But then we do.
My advice to anyone going through a shitty time
· Do what you need to get through it
· Talk to someone you can trust
· Love your family with everything you have
· Let your children know how lucky you feel to have them in your life
· Let them know we all stuff up
· Let them know that no matter what you’ll be there for them – especially while they learn those really hard lessons
· As a parent, step-parent, carer – if you need help – please get it – nothing gets better by holding it all in
· If you need time out – find it – even if it’s just a walk
· Spend time in nature and let the sun bathe your skin
· Breathe in the clean fresh air and exhale the crap
· Find people who make you laugh – it’s a simple thing but laughter releases feel-good endorphins desperately needed by your mind and body
In the end – life goes on, and more stresses will come – but you got this!
And if you’re raising teens like me – godspeed to you my warrior friend – I raise my glass of gin and tonic in your honour!
Love, Nicky xx