I’ve just come back from a day spent with you and the girls. I caught myself today, noticing things more and reflecting on it. I should do this more often. I watched their beaming faces as they looked up at you and how affectionate you are with them and vice versa. I sat and listened to you telling me family news, sharing your stresses and you in turn listening to and lightening mine. I never have to think about how I talk to you, I know I can say anything. Sometimes I even give you half sentences, you still understand what I’m saying. That’s what comes from a life long conversation I guess.
I’m often told I’m like you. It’s a huge compliment, because you are amazing. You are by far the most generous, open hearted person I know. You taught me one of the most important things that you could. You taught me how to love. To love freely, without questioning, without always expecting it in return, to care for others and above all else to be kind. I always have my heart wide open and often that can cause hurt but overall it’s a good thing I think. I grew up trying to be like you and if I am one tenth ( do you see what I did there? ) of the person you are then I am proud.
photo credit: Jeremy Bishop
That’s not to say we haven’t had our problems, our frictions. During my most sensitive and hormonal teenage years you had some slight ( I am being polite here mam ) mood swings for a while prior to having a major operation and well I think I may have caused you more than a few moments of worry and stress at that time. We would rub each other up the wrong way, that’s the best way to describe it I think, although the spats never lasted long and you would usually find a note of apology on your pillow at night. I wasn’t an overly rebellious teenager when compared to the average teen but in comparison to my older and younger sisters, I seemed like the wild child. I know that in the years since then I’ve made life decisions that you don’t always agree with and possibly I’ll continue to but you have supported me through each and every one.
I may be an adult now, 33 years old in fact but I worry as much about losing you as I did when I was 13. In fact more so now, well we drove each other nuts when I was 13 didn’t we?
Friends of mine have lost parents, both recently and when in their teens and I know that I am lucky. To have both you and Dad, as such a big everyday part of my life still. To have had you with me when the girls were born and to have had your unfailing support in the difficult years since. I will never forget the day when as I just began to get to grips with the surprising news that I was to become a mum for the first time I heard two words that I would never be prepared for – it’s cancer. Cancer rocked our family in a real sense for the first time that day, we had lost grandparents to cancer but it had always seemed like something that only happened to older people or those with unhealthy lifestyles. It made me realise you are not infallible, that our family whilst lucky in so many ways is not untouchable. That being the very best person doesn’t stop the worst things from happening to you. It hardened me a little, but you know I am so soft that wasn’t too much of a problem. Three months and two operations later you stood with me, holding my hand while I gave birth and just a few weeks later you started radiotherapy treatmnent in that same hospital. How clever was Izzy to arrive early so that you could be there for me as you wanted?
You’ve showed me how to be a mother and in turn you have become my friend as well. Rarely will a day pass where we don’t talk or message especially now that you have embraced modern technology and learned how to WhatsApp. I depend on you, we all do. You are the family rock. Daddy too of course, but well this is about you.. he will get his turn. I am constantly in awe of how you handle the responsibility of such a large family, there is never a moment where you would even think of saying you don’t have time for any one of us. I struggle for a way to thank you for always, always being there.
I know you know you are appreciated, I try to show you in every way I can. But you can’t possibly know how much. You are the mother, friend and woman that I strive to be. And at the end of my life if the only thing people can say about me is that she was so like her mother, that will be enough.
I planned to keep this to share on Mothering Sunday but one thing I am learning as I get older is that if you have something to say to someone then you say it right there and then, albeit on a public blog post. And as today you finally figured out how to read my blog via your phone I figured it was the perfect time.
Thank you for teaching me how to be a mother.