I thought I’d attempt to do my first writing workshop, organised by Sleep is for the weak, so here’s goes:
I know that I haven’t said it even half as much as I should have, but thank you. Thank you for being my mum, for always being there for me no matter what and for being such an amazing grandmother.
When I was a little girl you raised me and my sister on your own after dad left when I was 7, taking on numerous jobs (and taking in a lodger) just to pay the mortgage. I never realised what it must have taken for you to work all the hours under the sun, yet still ensure you were home to take us to school every day, pick us up again and tuck us into bed at night – that must have taken some serious negotiation to find jobs that fitted around that schedule! I know that dad never helped you out financially and it really must have been hard having to pay for everything on your own.
As I grew up, I turned into a teenager from hell. I admit it – I was pure evil! You tried desperately to control me, yet I still broke every single rule you ever set for me. I still don’t know how you didn’t just wash your hands of me by the age of about 14, yet you persevered and I even gave you a 6 month long break from my naughtiness when I turned 19 and disappeared off to France to be a holiday rep for the summer. (bet you breathed a sigh of relief as you waved me off!) Not content with returning home and finding the most inappropriate boyfriend ever, I managed to get pregnant by him. Of course you knew it wouldn’t last and he wasn’t going to be there for me or the baby but you let me make my own mistakes and you were there, as always, to pick up the pieces when it all went wrong.
You were my sole support when I was pregnant, my so called friends were no longer interested in me now I wasn’t drinking like a fish and out partying all night and you put up with my horrific hormonal outbursts without saying a word. You were there the day E was born, 8 years ago exactly today. You supported me through the labour when I was scared and in pain, even laughing when I managed to electrocute you with my TENS machine and didn’t complain when E arrived and covered you, me, the midwife, the floor, the walls etc in poo – lovely eh! You took me home and looked after me and my new baby, then taught me how to care for her on my own. You gave me the push I needed to move out a few months later and get my own flat with E, yet you were never far away.
When I returned to work when E was four months old, I didn’t drive so you picked me up every morning, took me to work, took E home and looked after her, picked me up again at 5 then took E and I back home again. Looking back on it now, I still can’t quite believe you did that, you must have been mad! I eventually learnt to drive (subsidised by you of course) and it was a good job too because you broke your legs and would no longer have been able to have been my unpaid overworked cab service. Not that breaking both your legs stopped you, two days later you were whizzing around in your wheelchair looking after E again, not to mention your husband who had been diagnosed with cancer and while in your wheelchair and looking after E you were also taking care of him too! I seriously think you may have been Wonder Woman in a previous life!
As E got older you took her to mother and baby group because I was at work, took her swimming, to the park etc and basically became her second mum. I think I resented the fact that you could do this with her and I couldn’t because I was stuck at work and I never really showed my appreciation for what you did for E when she was a baby. The guilt of not being with my baby soon set in and I was paralysed with post natal depression and ended up off work for six months, you helped me look after myself and E when I just couldn’t get out of bed or couldn’t see through my tears. Without you helping me through it I very much doubt that I would still be here now I felt that desperate at the time.
Now E is “all grown up” as she keeps telling me, you always pick her up from school on a Wednesday and she has a sleep over, yet that doesn’t stop you having her over at the weekends either. You insist on washing and ironing all her clothes for me (I can do it mum, honest!) and you often buy bits for her packed lunches too. You take her on holidays and are the best nan any child could ever hope for.
You have helped me so much over the years, your generosity (both financial and otherwise) has overwhelmed me and I want to thank you for everything you have done for me. You always put other people first, you have nursed 3 people with cancer now, you always visit your mum and dad every other day and run errands for them, you help my sister with my nieces, you help me with E, yet you never do anything for yourself or expect anything in return. (and all this while having terrible arthritis!) I want you to know that I appreciate everything you do, as does everyone else, but you need to leave us to our own devices sometimes and think about what you need or want, let us take care of you for a change!