Dear Duchess Catherine …
I’m thinking tonight about the Duchess of Cambridge going into labour with her third child. And I thought, I don’t make having three little kids at home sound very appealing.
For starters I routinely look tired. And dishevelled. And my favourite joke is to say to people that I haven’t slept since 2008.
When I do talk – I talk a lot about the chaos. And it is chaos and it has been from the start.
In 2013 I had a newborn, an 18-month-old and a four-year-old. And a husband who was rarely home. I can’t even remember the ensuing 12 months because it unfolded in a blur. I do remember how at times the sheer thought of getting all three kids dressed and into the car left me feeling overwhelmed.
Fast forward five years and my days are full of “Sit down please” and “Don’t put the tomato sauce bottle in your mouth” and “Could you please just eat one bite of sandwich for me? PLEASE” and “Stop chasing the dog” and “Get into bed NOW!” and “Why are there six trains in my handbag? ” and “Your hat! Quick go back!” and “Just for two minutes could everyone stop talking?” and “NO MORE POO JOKES!”
I have spent more hours than I care to think about searching for lost teddy bears. And playing trains. And reading Pig The Pug. And pointing out fire engines and tallying the points for SPOTTO and researching Shopkins.
I have written column after column talking about how my boys seem to develop the temperament of Kanye West at 4pm. How my daughter once-upon-a-time was known to follow me around the house narrating our day. It was like living with Evan in The Secret Life Of Us. I have admitted how at the end of each day I have nothing left to give and as messages ping on my phone and emails arrive in my Inbox all I want to do is sit in silence with a cup of tea and speak to no-one.
I have written about the awkward moments. Like the Christmas day several years ago when about to bite into a mouthful of succulent turkey, my daughter paused and said, “So, was this turkey once alive and running around? Is it dead and we’re eating it? What happened to its feathers? Did it die of old age?”
But what I haven’t written about enough is the sheer magic these three children bring into my life. The colour and movement and laughter and mayhem. The “surprise kisses” on my arm. The hand slipped into mine when we’re walking to school or kindy. Watching Anne of Green Gables with my daughter on my bed. The fun I have with them playing Five Second Rule or Race To The Treasure. My kids are my favourite people to spend time with. Hands down.
But my favourite part is the relationships they have with each another. The private jokes they share. The plotting and planning to get biccies when my back is turned. The secret clubs and hide-outs and spy games and rocket ships. The nights my daughter reads Where The Wild Things Are to the boys. The night I overhead Fin telling Quincy that he would put a forcefield around him so he need not be scared of the dark. The nights I hear all three of them in fits of laughter. And then there’s the way the boys look admiringly, adoringly at their big sister as though she flew to the moon and came back to tell the tale. Well until she walks into her bedroom, sees the mess they have made while she was at school and she yells, STOP TOUCHING MY LEGO!! (in a tone not dissimilar I’m sure to Kim Jong-Un) and then it’s on like Donkey Kong.
I always wanted a little gang. And – having suffered both a miscarriage and the stillbirth of my daughter Georgie over the past 10 years – not a day goes by when I take this gang of three for granted.
They are my people.
I am lucky.
Tired? Sure. Do I live in utter chaos? Undoubtedly. Every day I drop many of the balls I’m juggling. But I’m lucky.
My little gang brings me enormous joy.
So I’m sending much love to Prince William and Duchess Catherine.
Your gang of three awaits.
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.