When I was thinking about becoming a mum, I remember having an idea in my head of the things I'd do, and what I'd be like...a bit like little girls who plan their weddings and know exactly what dress they're going to wear.
I would be a cool mum, the one who all the other kids liked, the one whose house would be pretty much open for snacks and playtime anytime, the one who would have plenty of other mums round to chat over coffee and the one whose garden would be full of children running around playing in the summer, whilst I provided tray after tray of homemade cakes and biscuits, and jug after jug of chilled squash.
I'd also have a small but very close network of other mums (who I'd met at playgroup) who would babysit for each other, pick the kids up from school, and because like surrogate aunties to my children - just like my mum and her friends. In fact now, 30 years on, my mum is still friends with one of the playgroup mums, and she is affectionately referred to as mum no.2.
In reality, I missed out on meeting other mums early on at playgroups, the other mums at nursery were rather snooty and wouldn't talk to anyone else, and now Mini's at school and doesn't seem particularly friendly with anyone. Don't get me wrong, he has friends, and there are a couple of them who I'd happily have round for playtime, dinner, and in the summer - a play in the garden. But he hasn't got that big circle of friends that I hoped my child would, or even a best friend, he often isn't in the right frame of mind to have friends round anyway, and I'm too embarrassed by my freezing cold house to invite the few mums that I am friends with round for coffee.
There are a couple of other mums who I know I could call if I was really stuck for picking Mini up, and one has been a star recently, but in all honesty, Mini couldn't cope with it. This week he hasn't even been able to cope with the thought of the NC picking him up, let alone anyone else. Right now, we're at a crucial point with therapy, where Mini is a blank canvas and we can start working on emotions and making him feel secure. I don't want to do anything to jeopardise that.
This is yet another one of those ways in which adopting is different. My son's needs mean I can't be the type of mum I thought I would. I'm sure I might come across as over protective to the other mums, making excuses even, but really, I'm putting my own needs, wants and hopes to one side so I can focus on Mini and his needs. That's what being a mum is about isn't it?
I wish we'd spent longer on this during our homestudy. I feel we were unprepared for exactly how much our expectations would change. In fact, it's only now, 5 years in that I'm realising just how much they've had to change. I'm not sure if this is yet another thing I have to grieve for - or if just recognising that things aren't as I'd envisaged is enough. I guess I've got another few years of motherhood ahead, and things could change?