I’m not usually a fan of New Year, as any readers of my column might know, but I will be seeing 2019 in with an unusual amount of gusto.
You see, 2018 has been the Osborne family’s annus horribilis; we’ve had to deal with a lot this year the crux of which has been having to watch my 10-year-old boy suffer and in the most part being unable to fix it.
I thought I’d been through everything that motherhood had to throw at me, with two teenage stepdaughters and a boisterous 10-year-old, I kind of thought by now had a gentle run-in to the years of grandparenthood in 15 or 20 years’ time. I felt entirely unequipped when face with my boy having a pain that I couldn’t just take away.
I’m an ex nurse, an intolerable empath, a Taurean and so am programmed to need to fix things, to fix people, to take problems away. I think many of us as parents see that as our role: to keep our child safe from harm and to fix any harm that does befall them. To be faced with something that we can’t take away, that we can’t fix makes us feel redundant.
I’ve spent lots of the last 12 months battling with that frustration, feeling that I had failed at motherhood by allowing something I couldn’t control to hurt my child but then I realised I was wasting energy by obsessing over what I couldn’t do when I could spend time thinking about the ways I could help.
As parents we do want to keep our children safe but we also need to accept that if we can’t do that then it falls to us to take on a different role; we need to build our children up, give them tools to cope with the big bad world. We have a responsibility to teach our children how to recognise anxieties, how to process pain and sadness, how important it is to talk to the people we love about fears and feelings and how even if a battle is theirs to endure that they must never feel that they have to fight it alone.
I am welcoming in the New Year as it brings me hope, not only that our current crisis will pass but also that I still have many new things to learn about motherhood, that I will continue to learn these lessons and to help future generations to be equipped to deal with whatever the years to come may bring.