Recently with the sad passing of Amy Winehouse Heat magazine ran a poll, asking readers whether being a mother would have changed her. The responses, as always were based on peoples own perceptions, misconceptions, judgements and observations. Deep down inside I believe it would have (maybe there’s the eternal optimist that wishes for that). I know how Emma has changed me. Without even knowing it, this special little soul is teaching me invaluable life lessons such as patience, compassion and empathy. She also helps me laugh a lot of my troubles away. And the clever little thing does it all with play therapy. I don’t even realize I’m learning…
When the doctor told me I had lost the baby I thought it was God in a subtle way telling me that there was no in hell he was letting me pass on my rather messed up mind onto an innocent human being. Physically I wasn’t strong enough to carry a baby for nine months and with a slow realization it dawned on me that mentally I would probably putting a baby at a huge disadvantage.
I am an anxious person. My cortisol levels are way too high. I operate day in and day out on adrenalin. My body is constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode. I am, by nature, a fairly sad person. It takes quite a lot for me to be social and interact on a daily basis. I am a loner and I like it that way. I don’t like opening up to people and would much rather listen to what everyone else has to say. I worry a lot. About everyone and everything. I am a little (okay, a lot) obsessive compulsive and have a few daily rituals that drive Mark insane. I am never in the moment. I worry about the past and stress for the future. Nothing is ever as it should be and the worst is always still to come…and then Emma found me.
The very first time Emma was put in my lap she was fast asleep. I was convinced she was going to open her eyes and let out a blood curdling yell. She didn’t. She slept the entire time. In that moment I experienced a calm like nothing I had ever felt before. All of a sudden I was content and in the moment. Emma is like a little anti-depressant in really cool clothes. I see her and I smile. She says something and I laugh. Like sitting watching fish go round and round, there is something therapeutic about Emma. If I’m sad, she takes my hand and we walk around the garden. Or she puts her arms around me and asks for a ‘big squeeze’.
I have learnt to recognize my feelings, let them be for a while and move on. I no longer wallow in self pity. I don’t have time to. I no longer worry as much about the little things. I don’t worry what people think or say about me. Emma has shown me what my truth is and I am comfortable with that.
She has attracted the right kind of people into our lives. Caring and compassionate people. Honest and reliable people. People who are interested in me for me, and not for the job title, car or brand of clothing I wear. She has shown me what matters when it comes to friends. Emma isn’t concerned with the facades people show. She sees through it and loves a person for who they are.
After Emma’s stay in hospital, Sam, the local vet’s assistant called to let me know he had a gift for her. However he was waiting for pay-day so he could buy one more thing. Early last week he called me to ask if he could drop the gift off at the house for little Miss. Emma was at home with Ester and I said he was more than welcome to pop by. Emma hugged him and kissed him hello. She took him by the hand and sat him on the couch. There is no colour, no class, no distinction for her. She thanked him for the gift and when he left she shouted “Love you Sam.” The gift was from the heart. Everything Sam knew his little girl would need, he had bought for Emma. A pretty little diaper bag and a pink blanket. A frame with a photo inside, which he had taken of Emma at the vet one afternoon. This cost him a lot. A good part of his salary, I’m sure. But he did it because he wanted to and because he has a soft spot for Emma. The lesson for me that day was if you give from the heart it will be the most valuable gift anyone could ever receive.
There is not much I can teach Emma that she doesn’t already know but with every day that passes she is slowly shaping me into the person I’ve always wanted to be.