One of my favourite Mama friends greets us the same way every morning. Bedraggled, exhausted, more than ready for half term, it comes as an absolute motivation to hear the words ‘morning team J’ as we drag our weary arses up the hill to school. No matter how we feel about each other, if I have nagged them the entire mile to school, if they have wound me up by hiding shoes, or leaving homework to the last minute, we are a team.
During my Dad’s ‘Father of the Bride’ speech ten years ago he stuck to anecdotes about ‘being on our side’ and ‘supporting our team’. At the time, given my dad has never played sports in all the years I have known him, I thought the team references, while nice, a little random. My new husband didn’t feel like a team member, he was simply the man that I wanted to marry, the man I had met at seventeen and had grown to love. I was always going to be there for him, to support him, and arguably, that could deduce him a member of my ‘team’, but I was all for romance back then, and team sports didn’t feel all that romantic.
I can’t honestly pinpoint the moment when we became a ‘team’. It certainly wasn’t when I gave birth. As my first born was handed to me, I was overcome with, love, yes, but also overwhelming nerves. She was a homebirth, the midwives waved goodbye and I sat there all night, too frightened to move, worried if I put her down, she would die in her sleep: she was so small. As we developed some sort of routine, we went out more. I would like to say we were a team then, but I spent the first year worrying about what other people thought, why they always questioned me on sleep, why was I STILL breastfeeding? Hyperemesis kicked in badly with pregnancy number two and then I felt less like a team by the day. It was as though I was clinging onto our family for dear life, barely managing with the persistent guilt of being sick the whole time and being unable to care for my daughter properly.
No, I wouldn’t be able to tell you when it happened, but at some point, over the last eight years we became a team. We now know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We are here to support each other through our daily trials. We have become a strong, family unit. My eldest, almost eight, has reached the stage where she finds this talk embarrassing. If I refer to us as a team I usually get the response of an eye roll, or a ‘Mum, we are a family, not a team’, and if you are reading this, my love, I’m sorry to say that we are very much ‘Team J’ and you are one of the strongest team members. A team is about standing up for one another, not letting anyone else bring us down. When a team member is down it’s about rallying around to do the best job we can, even if we are weaker without them. It’s about recognising we are all unique, that we all have our talents, but if we put those talents together and nurture each one individually, we can create something truly brilliant. I am proud to be a member of ‘Team J’, and at the end of each day I feel very much like I’m winning, the taking part makes it that rewarding.