Dedicated to my Mum

Dear Mum,

As it’s Mothers Day I have decided to dedicate my blog to you. And it’s not because I’ve forgotten your present and this is a free alternative, but instead a little extra treat – I hope! When I thought about what I would write today, I felt a bit overwhelmed at how much our relationship has evolved over the years. As my Mum you are my teacher, my counsellor, my friend, my confidante and my shoulder to cry on. We share a sadistic sense of humour and both have the ability to laugh to the point where no sound comes out. You and I can cry at the silliest things and once one of us starts it is impossible for the other one to stay dry-eyed.

You were a stay-at-home Mum who juggled jobs so not to disrupt me and big bro’s upbringing. You must have had enviable calves as a young Mum as you walked us on 4 school runs so we could come home for lunch. I remember being in junior school and coming home for a bowl of Scoth Broth and a 20 minute Sullivan’s episode before we went back in for the afternoon. You provided everything we needed for school and happily ferried me to brownies, swimming and ballet. And even though the family budget was on a shoestring it never felt like we went without, though I’m sure both you and Dad did. Our annual holidays hold fond memories, travelling by train before we had a car was such an adventure for my young mind even though poor Dad was our pack-horse for the journey with all the luggage. Then we had our beloved Morris Marina, allowing us the space to cram in all our things, me driving big bro mad as I complained of feeling car sick as you entertained us all the way. Whenever I hear Billy Joel I am instantly transported back to car journeys to one of our coastal retreats. Our holidays consisted of simple pleasures, silly walks in the dusk along the beach, hot chocolate and word games, Dad dragging us along in the sea for what seemed like hours in our inflatable dinghy.

As a child you taught me to strive for what I wanted in life. You despaired of me in my sometimes volatile teenage years when I was, admittedly, a little wayward at times. But I always had huge respect for you and knew your advice was right, even if my teenage hormone induced stubbornness didn’t allow me to voice it. I remember writing you many letters of apology whenever we argued as I hated the thought of upsetting you, but as a pig-headed 15-year-old, didn’t want to say sorry out loud. As I stumbled briefly, unsure of where my future lay, instead of lecturing me you took me to the bustling streets of London during lunchtime and gently nudged my attention in the way in which I should go. You never let me think I couldn’t achieve what I wanted in life, you have always told me to aim that little bit higher and it has been advice that I have lived by. My amazing career would not have happened without your encouragement along the way. You have taught me to never be prejudiced or narrow-minded in life. When I upped sticks at 21 to move to Brighton with two dear friends of mine, who happened to be gay men, you not only accepted it but you and Dad came to Gay Pride with us!

Throughout family illnesses you have never faltered, when times were tough you always managed to put a brave face on so that we could feel OK about everything. I knew that I could ask for your help with anything and you would find a way to make it OK. You are the most mild-mannered, polite and dignified lady but I’ve seen you berate teachers and doctors who have let me and my big bro down. When I became a Mum to my eldest son you were a patient adviser but allowed me to find my own way of parenting without ever patronising. When the twins came along and I already had a 3-year-old in tow and a husband on shifts, the cards were pretty much stacked against me. When I began to resemble a corpse on a regular basis, finding it hard to keep my head above water, you dropped everything to come over and help which included your job in the end. We would juggle my babies and my toddler, attending playgroup’s, going for picnics, disrupting once quiet coffee shops for an outing. We made camps in the living room, had craft days and whenever we had nursery rhymes playing we would always exchange knowing amused glances when we heard ‘here we go loopy loo’ as it was tantamount to how we felt most days.

Now my children are all at school and you and Dad both retired I don’t see you as much. We still speak every day and you are still a pillar of support with the kids. But I do think fondly of afternoons when I had dropped my eldest at pre school, we managed to get the twins down for a nap and we would have that 1 hour of respite to collapse in a heap, chat, laugh and promise ‘to get up in a minute to sort out the mess’.

When I became a Mum I changed so much as a person. My life had a different perspective, my nature was a lot less selfish as I dedicated my whole time to my offspring. It is easy to forget the person you once were and I think we as children forget that our Mums were people too. I have lent on you for so much in my life and it took me a while to realise that you were a young woman once with dreams and ambitions and experiences of your own and not put on this earth just to care for me and my big bro. You will always be our caregiver and role model as it is a role that you want to provide and which we need you to be. But most importantly above all else, I am proudest to call you my friend. I love you Mum. Happy Mothers Day. XX

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