Sunday, 25 November 2012

If I knew then what I know now

If I knew then what I know now
24 November 2012

With age comes a bit of wisdom, hopefully.  And staring down the barrel of turning forty in a very short while, it made me think.  Have I become any wiser yet?  I know for a fact that I am certainly not wise per se, but perhaps I have grown a bit with my advanced years.  If I compare the Helene of today, to the Helene of ten years ago, I’m certainly not the same person.  And going even further than that, if I compare the Helene of today with the Helene that married Grant all those years ago, it’s barely the same person too.  So what exactly have I learnt, if anything?

If I knew then what I know now:


·         I would have hugged and kissed Luke more while he still wanted me to and was happy for me to do it.  We went out to a 30th Birthday party last night, and we left all three kids at home.  At nearly fifteen, Luke is more than capable of holding the fort in our absence.  The kids are really getting bigger now and the only one I was really concerned about was Cole.  Not because he would miss us or cry for us, but because he is ever so slightly wild and can be a handful.  Anyway, we left them after I’d dished up supper for them and they were busy eating.  I’d taken out DVD’s, got nice cool drink, popcorn, chocolates, etc.  I wanted the night to be a treat for them too.  So as we left, I kissed Amber and Cole goodbye and then Luke walked with us to the door, so that he could lock it behind us.  And just before I stepped out of the door, I leaned forward to kiss him too (the way I do every night when I say good night to him) and instead of leaning forward, he leaned back and said “I don’t think so”.  My shattered heart.  So this is my advice to mothers everywhere, especially mothers of boys – kiss and hug with all of your might now.  This will happen to you too – sooner than you might think.

·         I would have been far less responsible, committed and studious.  I would have jolled way more as a student and lived it up more.  The time for responsibility comes soon enough and tends to last for the rest of your life.  Don’t waste your youngers years being a goodie-two-shoes.  You can do that when you’re older.  You know, when you need to be an example to your own kids.

·         I would’ve spent less time sweating the small stuff.  I really live by this philosophy more and more as I get older.  I put loads of things in a bubble and simply blow it away.  Chances are that the stuff I’m “sweating” about are in any rate out of my control and will sort themselves out in the end.  What will be will be.

·         I would’ve done more tiny little girlie stuff with Amber when she was small.  We still have lots of fun bigger girly time together, but she is already starting to pull away from me more and more.  I get the occasional rolling eyeball and disdain filled voice.  It fills me with horror and though I reprimand and punish her for her behaviour, it is a sign of the times and what lies ahead for me.  Very soon she’ll be a teenager too.

·         I would’ve stopped whinging about imaginary imperfections on my perfect body.  If I’d only known then that it was as good as it was ever going to get.  I would’ve worn mini’s every day.  Crop tops with exposed midriffs too, not to mention the cleavage and strappy tops I would’ve indulged in.

·         I would’ve realised that I actually was able to eat anything my heart desired without putting on weight – at least at that stage of my life.  I would’ve gluttoned myself on caramel and condensed milk straight from the tin.  Whole slabs of chocolates, ice-creams and milkshakes too.  Potatoes in any shape or form – and lots of them.

·         I would’ve drank more champagne.

·         I would’ve worried less about what others thought of me.

·         I would’ve been way more naughty and rebellious – back to the old responsibility thing again.  I think my responsibility gland is over-developed.

·         I would’ve spent more time with my Dad.  Soaking up all that he was.  Learning more about him and filled myself with enough memories to last a lifetime if not two.

·         I would’ve entertained more and worried less about my house not looking perfect.  People don’t care.  In any rate, the people that I invite over are my family and friends – people who would not judge me for my small home, not expertly decorated.

·         I would’ve tried harder to remember every detail of my children as babies and the miracle of being pregnant.  The most special time and experience ever.

·         I would’ve spent less time worrying – such a pointless exercise.

·         I would’ve enjoyed being footloose and fancy free for longer.

·         I would’ve cherished my alone time more.  Though my children have enriched my life more than anything in the whole world, the one thing I miss the most since their appearance in my life is time just being me.  Time when I don’t worry about if they’ve got enough, doing enough, safe enough, cared for enough, just everything enough.

·         I would’ve travelled more when I was unencumbered.

·         I would’ve worried less about the opinions of others and let those very opinions affected me less.

·         I would’ve snuggled more with all of my kids as babies, toddlers, little children and even as bigger children.  In fact, best I cuddle them now.

·         I would’ve showed more kindness in my heart towards others I perhaps thought unkindly of.

·         I would’ve tried being less of a wallflower in life and taking part more.

·         I would’ve been more confidant and outgoing and less unsure of myself.

·         I would’ve started appreciating earlier in my life that the highlights of life are not the big things, but the ordinary, everyday little things.  And I would’ve cherished those more from a younger age.

·         I would’ve learnt to speak my mind more freely from a younger age too.

·         I would’ve learnt to like myself more.  I happen to like myself lots now, most of the time.  But I think that so many of us, so often put ourselves down and criticise ourselves. 

·         I would’ve spent more time listening to the little stories my kids wanted to tell me and less time on the mundane “important” things I felt I had to get on with instead.

·         I would’ve realised that time is fleeting and very, very special.  And that your whole life can change in an instant, when you least expect it.  That you should cherish and appreciate what you’ve got now, before it is gone forever.

·         I would’ve realised that nothing ever stays the same.  Life fluctuates all of the time.  Routines though great, never last.  As children get older and bigger their needs change.

·         I would’ve trusted my gut instinct more – it’s usually right.

·         I would’ve offered less resistance to the bumps in life’s road – they’re normally unavoidable in any rate.  Submission is often best, especially if you can’t change something and it is beyond your control.

·         I would’ve fretted less.

·         I would’ve learnt to adapt easier and with less resistance.

·         I would’ve accepted more.

·         I would’ve been easier on myself and those around me.

 And though I can add to this list probably forever more, it has however made me realise, that yes, I have indeed grown a bit as a person.  I have hopefully matured and gained some wisdom, whilst not losing my enthusiasm and joy for life.  A bit of immaturity, frivolity and fun go a long way.

Growing up is hard work.  Staying young, even harder.  I would like to look back on my life again in another ten years and hopefully think, that the core of me has remained.  That I have learnt much, but maintained my very Helene-ness through it all.  Because though this reflection has made me realise that I’ve grown wiser, it’s also made me realise that I’m still very much the same.  And thank goodness for that.  Because, biased though I am – I kinda like me a lot.


  1. Helene, you are wise and amazing and we all love you so much! Fantastic blog as always. Such wise words and I echo them all. Snuggling babies! I sometimes dream Maria and Gareth are babies again - my favourite!As for our bodies at 18, we would all have walked around butt naked looking back now, never mind mini skirts! You are so wise and not yet 40. Awesome!

  2. Such wise words - so many of which are echoed in my own heart. Well written Helene.