Nearly 39 years ago she nearly (well, okay she technically did) die after having me. Thankfully, for all concerned they brought her back to us safe and sound. Despite that, she was brave enough to go through it all again 2 years later to have my sister. She was a rock then (and stubborn) and has been ever since, and I am sure, before. That stubbornness and determination to succeed against all odds she passed onto me.
She looked after us single-handedly most of the time when Dad was away on exercise with the army and taught us how to keep things tidy (or at least put them away after playing with them – something I never managed to instil in Beautiful B) in case of unexpected inspections. That came in handy when Dad left the army and started inspections of his own once a week – of our rooms.
She taught me lots of things including things such as naughty girls do not get sweets after tea and that 3 year olds really shouldn’t allow neighbours to paint their nail bright garish red. She let me run away from home when I was 3 or 4 knowing that I would follow her instructions and not cross the road and so would eventually come home.
She put up with the mountain on my shoulder when I got to my teenage years and argued with me long into the night, determined that she would not give an inch so that I would learn to do the same thing with Beautiful B when she grew up. She taught my sister and me that nothing comes easy in life and if you want it you work for it. In fact, if we were too ill to be at school, they would send us home.
She let me spread my wings enough to marry someone she knew was wrong for me and let me lie in the bed I made until I was brave enough to ask for help and then she broke my heart while I broke hers in the solicitors office as I listed the grounds for divorce. She took her grand-daughter and I back under her wing and into her home, turning her life upside down to care for us when we had nowhere else to go and be safe.
She let us fly again, admittedly back to the house on the next street, when Beautiful B and I got our house back and trusted me to fetch her grand-daughter up to be a good, kind and empathetic child. She trusted my judgement when it came to Beautiful B’s access to her father even though I am sure she bit her tongue almost in half to not say what she really felt.
She stood by me and let me make the second biggest mistake of my life and marry again and was there again when it fell apart. The two times she let me make those mistakes helped shape me into the person that I am now, one that knows who she is and what she will and won’t stand for and those lessons are instilled in Beautiful B.
She has been there for me at all time and as I grow older she has become more and more my best friend and confidante. She is someone I can turn to in a heart beat and who would do anything for her children, grandchildren and family. She is someone who laughs when I turn up tearing my hair out as my daughter does to me the same things I did to her.
She would walk to the end of the earth and back for me, my sister and the rest of our family. I may not have understood her lessons when I was younger and I made her life hell on any number of occasions but her lessons have shaped me into the person that I am, someone who is independent and firm but loving at the same time.
Happy Birthday Mum, may we have many more together. xx