The Nicest Thing he Ever Said.

love you


“I love you mum”

“I love you too”

“I love you mum”

“I love you too”

“I love you mum”

Ah that’s lovely, thank you”

Sometimes I like to mix it up a bit. The monotony of replying to that statement can get to you slightly, ok a lot. Actually it’s not a statement, it’s a question. It says,

“Hi I’m here, can you see me?”

Or it’s a need, a requirement,

“Please fill me up with assurance because all my positive self belief keeps draining away”

Sometimes I have to change the reply because I wouldn’t believe my own voice, dripping with tedium and through clenched teeth,


Sometimes I think,

“You know what? Right now I’m not sure how I feel, if I try and fake it, will you be able to tell? Will you notice that at this very moment I don’t actually want to answer? Will that then make you feel even worse about yourself? Will a smile and a hair ruffle suffice?

When he first said it, and the thousand times afterwards, I was really touched. Then it dawned on me, it wasn’t what he was saying to me, it was what he expected in reply that was important.  Giving to receive, is all part of his survival strategies.

It’s like that ever so considerate question I get EVERY morning,

“Did you sleep well mum?”

How sweet I thought at first. Then, how clever, he’s worked out that when I’m tired I’m not so lovely therapeutic mummy. Survival first.

Or the giant hug I receive on pick up from Cubs, school or sports club. I know what follows, a responsible adult tentatively asking “I’m so sorry but, can I have a word?” Soften her up before the deadly blow is delivered. Survival is always on his mind.

Some Saturdays ago, after a really successful family day, Stig and I lay chatting on his bottom bunk.  He loves this, sharing and snuggling at bedtime. We talked this, that and something else, to be honest I really don’t remember. I was feeling contented, he could have been talking me through the building of some major creation in Minecraft and I would have agreed in an accommodating manner and ooohhed and arrgghhed with delight, in all the right places. I’m good like that sometimes.

As we lay there he stopped talking, I noticed that, and then sighed deeply. The type of exhalation of air, deep from the belly, that indicates the height of relaxation. As he cosied his lithe body up against mine, he said without thinking.

“I rrrreeeaaalllyyy like you mummy”

I could feel the smile across his face in the words he spoke. He had delivered the words from his heart.

We hugged, long and hard and then said our goodnights.

Downstairs I sat on the sofa and cried.

“What’s wrong Mr H asked?”

“Stig has just said the nicest thing he’s ever said to me” I replied.


freedomFreedom is something I dream of, something that seems beyond attainment at the moment, just out of reach. Freedom looks like a beautiful oil slicked bubble, sun kissed and floating wistfully on the breeze. Bejewelled in the glint of the summer sun, I wish to be that beautiful and care free bubble.

I struggle with the freedom thing, there is a clue within the word FREE… dom.  I think I’ve always been one that likes things a little their own way, from youthful years. I didn’t always conform in opinions and appearance as a teenager, I didn’t mind being different. Being an individual releases you from the shackles of peer pressure, you are free.

In my twenties, house music and Manchester club land was my freedom. Part of something new and exciting I relished the hedonistic lifestyle that came with this musical revolution. Dancing the night away would still seem like the ultimate expression of freedom for me.

Later our relationship had freedom, Mr H and I enjoyed drunken nights and lazy Sundays, joys that encompass a child free lifestyle.

Work, a job brings a responsibility but beyond the structure of your vocation time is yours, there is still freedom.

Being a parent offers little freedom. Being the parent of children living with early life trauma offers me no freedom. I’m faced daily, hourly with the responsibility of my children. All waking hours I feel the responsibility of my children and it anchors me to this spot.  There is no drifting in abandonment, no blissful carefree moments. Not at the moment.

I know it’s a problem. I can’t let go.

I can’t forget.

They do not have to be with me, they can be absent for 24 hours or more but I can’t forget.  I am tethered securely to each off them.  I want to be tethered to them. I don’t trust anyone else with them.

They don’t keep me here, I could have opportunities to be free, but right now I’m too afraid.

The free spirit within feels stifled and unable to breath but I’m too afraid to allow myself to be free.

What if I don’t want to come back?