With every ounce of my being, I love these little people. I made them with the love of my life, and we made them from love, and I love them. I do. I would not trade them for all the tea in China.
But maybe that's because I'm not a huge fan of tea…
At the moment, they absolutely define me. One is three and a half years old. The other just turned one. So life is all about them right now. It has to be. And it should be. And day to day, that fills me up.
But I have just been looking at an old friend's Facebook page. Years back, we took some acting classes together. We clicked instantly. (No, this isn't another story about Kat Stewart although would you believe it, she does pop up later). Time marched on, I had a couple of kids and she is still hugely proactive in building her career as an actor. As rightly she should. She is extremely talented.
So I just watched her showreel - several minutes worth of clips of her best performance work. And it was brilliant. She's gorgeous and fabulous and talented and her reel sells her wonderfully.
I was happy for her.
As well as feeling like I had a giant emptiness in my belly, as though someone had just socked me. Even now, as I type, I feel it creeping up into my chest.
I am filled with….what? Envy? Longing? Regret? I don't know. All of it.
I was thinking about dreams recently. Not the kind you have while sleeping but the kind that grow like a seed inside you. In my twenties, I was good to my dreams. I believed in them, I fostered them and nurtured them the best way I knew how.
Having children was also a dream of mine. One I am very happily living out. But what of the other dreams?
Having kids doesn't kill your dreams. It buries them alive. With a mobile phone that keeps sending you text messages – 'Hey, remember me? I'm not dead! Help me – I NEED to get out!'
I wrote that down in my notebook a while back.
Not everyone feels that way. Some people were born to be a mother and in becoming so, they fulfill their greatest dream. They are content.
For me, becoming a mother is a dream come true, too.
But I am, and have always been, a person with lots of dreams. I want to do EVERYTHING.
Ticking the mother box is awesome. A blessing.
But there are still so many other boxes.
So, I was happy for my acting friend. And overwhelmed by a sense of longing to be back in that world even in some small capacity. But dreams don't die unless you want them to. And with acting, the truth of it is that until I am dead, that dream can continue to have the potential to be fulfilled. In fact, as I get older, the talent pool is rapidly shrinking – most people get out if they haven't 'made it' by the end of their twenties. But women in their twenties are the most over-represented demographic in the acting world which means it is the most competitive age bracket in which to be attempting a career. Being in my thirties may actually benefit my acting career.
So, there ahead in the tunnel, a light.
Of course, I experience residual guilt after these 'episodes'. My kids are little gifts from above. Little bastards, too, sometimes but gifts. Treasures. And it's hard to reconcile the overwhelming love I have for them, the joy that goes with being their mother, with the competing desire to be someone else, too, someone separate.
There is no answer to any of this. Tomorrow, these feelings will have subsided and I will still be a mum to two of the most beautiful little boys on the planet. And my dreams will be tucked safely away in my soul, waiting for a rainy day.
In the meantime, I suggest you watch this*. And remember the name – Elke Osadnik. She's going to be a star.
* Kat Stewart alert!