You & I are inseparable. You are my best friend. I tell you everything and we speak every day.
For reasons I still don’t fully know you sure you left me when I was 4. My brother Matt was 9, my sister Leisa was 14 & my brother John was 18.
You chose to leave our family home, to leave us, your children to be raised by a new father and start a new life far away.
It’s not something we’ve ever been able to discuss. Before I had my own children it was was a choice that I never understood and one I hated you for making.
I know after we were born that you & dad decided to move hundreds of miles from Gorton in Manchester to Torbay in Devon to start a new life for us in the country. You did this to give us, your children, a better life. I know that Dad was a workaholic so you were left to juggle setting up a busy B&B, whilst raising the four of us without any support network around you.
Now I’m a mother I understand it, I no longer hate you and I don’t judge you.
I know now that you would have been desperately sad, probably depressed and resentful of your life choices which didn’t pan out as the dream you’d envisaged. I imagine that moving away from your own mum, my amazing Nana, would have devastated you and I know from my own personal experience you would have drowned in the loneliness of being a mum to four babies with an absent husband.
Now I’m a mother I understand the fight you would have fought against my dad, the hate he held for you which I didn’t understand when I was tiny is now so real to me because I’ve had it from my ex-partner & father of my children. It’s a hate that’s ruins lives. It destroys childhoods and it breaks adults in two. It’s so easy to crumble when somebody that you once would have died and killed for fires such venom & poison at you constantly and looking back you must have found it so difficult to keep going each day.
So you made the choice to walk away…
I’ve always known that you’re ridiculously maternal.
My two elder siblings were lucky enough to have you raise them until their teenage years and they talk of their perfect childhood, a childhood that was created solely by you.
When I came to visit you in the holidays my memories are filled with us baking together, playing games. You would spend hours teaching me my times tables & doing jigsaw puzzles, hours I never seem to find for my children now I’m a mum. You’d help me learn to spell and memorise all the Man-U players and their positions so I could impress my friends when I returned to school. You taught me how to iron & hang out washing properly, you taught me how to rinse the bubbles off the glasses when I washed up. You showed me patience and affection like I’d never known, you loved being a mum, you absolutely rocked it – and so I learnt to live with a broken heart every time I was apart from you.
In 2007 after living hundreds of miles apart for 22 years you returned.
We had to learn how to be together again, we had to form a relationship as mother and daughter & it’s been tough at times. Along the way I’ve struggled, I’ve shown anger towards you that I am ashamed of, I’ve needed a shit-load of therapy to help me cope & understand things and at times I could have been a better daughter.
But you coming home has helped me to heal.
You coming back gave me the strength to leave a hideously volatile relationship, a relationship that when I did leave was of huge detriment to you because you received a large portion of the blame which meant you also reaped the consequences of my choice to go.
You took my girls & I into your home and you cared for us. You cooked for us, you washed & ironed our clothes and you just loved us like we’d never been loved.
You’re at the end of the phone for me & my siblings 24 hours of the day. Since you moved back 10 years ago your children are your sole priority, nothing else matters to you. You are the best Nan to all of our babies, you treat all five of mine the same, there is no ‘step’ or ‘halves’ involved and you show them the patience I sometimes don’t have. They get hand-made costumes for their school plays, they get their damaged clothes sewn & they can all keep plants alive because of you.
So despite us finding our relationship a little too late, and even though you’ve played the mum role with me in reverse I want to thank you, because above everything else you’ve taught me that it’s ok to make mistakes as a mother, you’ve shown me to never judge anyone despite how situations look and you’ve taught me how ugly hate is. You’ve also proven that forgiveness can heal the world.
Love you so much mum,