Giving up

I gave up fear as they came urgently pushing out, tiny curled bundles which completely salved the pain.

I gave up sleep, preferring to hear hungry calls, little toothless mouths at my breast and the intimacy of freshly-fed baby breath.

I gave up a career. I am too busy nurturing Nobel and Oscar prize winners, high court judges, Prime Ministers and future parents for money to be any lure.

I gave up on giving up wine.

I gave up waking up and walking out the door 10 minutes later and took up packing snacks, fitting fingers into gloves, and endlessly strapping babies into carseats… and therefore being late for pretty much everything.

I gave up being their one true love when they started school and discovered cool kids with names like Joey, Roxy and Huw.

I gave up kisses at the school gate but was asked to still come to Christmas Fayre and help on the door at the school play… and being on the parent committee was still ok.

I gave up Radio 4 when one of them discovered In The Heights and Hamilton and that’s all we could listen to in the kitchen.

I gave up and took up and gave up and took up feeding them things like quinoa, homemade almond milk, roast beetroot and chicken liver and equally things like white bread and lemonade.

I gave up on bikinis after four babies.

I gave up on my husband when Baby Six was two. I gave up trying to make him love me.

I gave up my dream of the family I had created and the future family I had imagined. We wouldn’t be all together forever, we wouldn’t share Christmases and weddings and grandchildren.

I took up believing that I was disappointing and undeserving of happiness, that I would be lonely and alone forever.

I gave up thinking I could have a say about where I live and where my children go to school. Divorce is ugly.

I gave up on being miserable and accepted a new reality. (Giving up gets easier the more you do it.)

I gave up worrying what my friends would think and decided to try online dating. They thought it was great anyway… why did I think they wouldn’t?

I gave up being awkward (with the help of wine) and met someone so startlingly wonderful I had to give him up too. I wasn’t possibly ready to be happy.

I gave up not being ready to be happy. Luckily, Mr Startlingly Wonderful was patient!

I took up bikinis again. Sod it.

I took up smoking again. Bad idea – definitely something to give up!!

I gave up that my family is eternally torn apart and had the most wonderful Christmas: our house filled with laughter, a constant doorbell, mistletoe, children, inlaws, dogs (5 of them on Christmas Day!) and of course a truly tasteful and terrible festive playlist.

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