I do not like sitting on the side, watching the class, biting my lip. I do not like being the only mother who leaves her seat to talk to her children – both of them – in undertones. But being careful not to hiss.

I do not like being the one the other mothers smile at carefully with gentleness in their eyes. I do not like that I have smiled the same smile to them. The father does not look my way at all tonight.

I do not like that when we are in the car, windows up and air conditioner on, I hear myself say ‘that’s one present gone, and that only leaves two’. It is something I have promised myself I will never – ever – say. Although now that I have said it once, I know that I will not say it again. I like that when we drive past the golf course I stop myself saying I should stop the car and leave you to live in the trees.

I do not like that nobody told me that there would be moments when my children would define me, but leave me no control.

And then I remember my mother did, but I did not have my listening ears on.