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A mom-shaped gap

No, I am not suddenly hugely pregnant, nor do I suddenly have a young toddler (thank heavens!) But I’ve been missing my mom a lot lately, and this picture from 5 years ago encapsulates the feeling I miss: the relationship equivalent of being able to bury my head in someone’s lap, and have them stroke my hair.

After a deliriously busy week (as my lovely friend described it), we had a weekend filled with slices of joy. An incredible mountain hike, sundowners on the side of another mountain, looking out over the ocean, a giant pizza with the Cape Town City Bowl spread out beneath us, a pancake breakfast, solo gardening time, a nap even (a nap!) So many slices of joy…

And yet, between and underneath them, I have been missing my mom so much. Partly, of course, because I’ve been talking about her so much with all the book press I’ve been doing. But also because, whenever I had a crazy busy time and then landed after it, she was there. There to let me unpack and decompress and be ordinary and exhausted. There to let me emotionally lay my head in her lap as she stroked my hair.

And now she’s gone. And more than 2 years later, although my wonderful friends and lovely husband have stepped in to fill the gap, there is still a gap. A mom-shaped gap that will never entirely close over.

At times like this, I find it particularly difficult that *I* still have to be a mom. My kids don’t care that I had a month filled with a book launch and events and interviews and work, their lives rotate around their own needs – and they need a mom. (“Me too!” I want to cry.)

In the absence of my mom, I know what I have to do. Go back to the beginning and be kind to myself. Wear soft clothing, eat good food. Spend time in nature. Watch funny TV. Sleep enough. Be gentle with my sweet self.

Isn’t it funny that we need reminding of these basics?

Published inMom

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