Happy Fathers Day Mom

Today I logged onto Facebook (as we do in order to pass a few minutes with our morning beverage of choice) and my news feed was filled with loving posts to various men from across the board, from dads, to grandads, to loved ones of the male variety in general. Which is lovely.

It is, afterall, fathers day. The day we are told to thank our fathers for all they do for us. The only thing is, I never knew mine. He was around for a short while but soon lost interest and vanished around the age of 2 or 3. My very young mom raised three kids on her own for the most part (albeit with the help of my powerhouse super human nan who dashed between work and school to collect us and help where she could.) But on the whole, my mom raised us kids and was the one that put us to bed each night and spent that time with us.

So, I have to say, I find fathers day a bit of a funny one. I do not feel obliged to thank a man I do not know and have not seen since I was 2. Neither do I feel I owe anything to a man who made my moms life utterly miserable through neglect and abuse, leaving her as a young mom of three with no money and bad memories. He never bothered contacting us again, until too long had passed, somewhat of a relief looking back, and paid no maintanance for his children EVER, moving on to impregnante another woman whilst mom raised his first three alone. I cant be thankful to a man that by birth right is my dad, but by presence has been none existant. I can, however, be thankful to a few people and Im going to take the time to do that today, before the day is over, to give my thanks publicly, because although my mom hates these forced days where we are told what to say, I know her and a few others deserve a few good words on fathers day.

Firstly, to my step dad, Rob. My mom got remarried to a lovely man after we all become young adults (or old teenagers in my sisters case.) He has been the one who has supported her and loved her and helped her. He has also supported, loved and helped all of us kids in equal measure, individually, at different stages of our time knowing him. We have brought, in all fairness, a lot of distruption (as kids do) to his previously probably a lot more peaceful child free life. However, we have also added another dimension he never had before, a positive one, like that feeling of belonging to a unit and life being about so much more than yourself . Like having a family to call his own (without having to do the pooey nappy stage-he got the difficult young adult stage instead!). And the unconditional bond that you get as a family when you realise these are truly your people and that, even if you fall out, you know a year down the line you can see them and give them a great big hug and mean every squeeze of it. We have had our moments as a family, all of us, but you have done as you promised you would and stuck by mom through thick and thin, as you have stuck by all of us too. For that, and for the person you are, I truly am thankful that you came into our lives, having enriched ours also with something that we have never had before either. That being a positive male role model who says what he means and does what he says. One that knows and wants his responsibility and looks after those around him. I know we scare you sometimes (ha!) but I wouldnt change you being in our lives for anything. I am so pleased you and mom found each other when you did. It was so lovely talking to you today and we look forward to seeing you in August. WP_20140221_174

Secondly, to my daughters dad, Adam. The pain I felt after you left, breaking a decades worth of love, work, family, hopes, plans and life, is not an easy burden to bear for anyone. On occassions since that time, for one reason or another, things have been trying, confusing and frought. Seperations are not easy, especially unwanted ones. However, we have somehow, someway, managed to create the most beautiful, intelligent, funny little girl. We did that. I dont know how she came out so wonderful. Or so clever. Or so talented. We have had back and forths, ups and downs, trials and trouble. We have also, however, had family time still as a unit, co parenting on your days here to make sure Emi knows her parents are both around still, regardless of our personal situation, having plenty of moments of happiness, joy, friendship, laughter and pride along the way. Whatever has happened, a families bond, if they were a genuine happy family, is still there. You are still family, in whatever way we can now call it. The obvious resentment is there for me as a single mom now, doing most of the work all week on my own and being the one that now builds my life around Emi, which is so much harder by yourself. That is natural I think. I am still working on that. However, as it is a day for being grateful and thankful, I would like to say that I am thankful you still turn up when you say you will. I am thankful that you help out with the nursery runs when you can, giving me a much needed break on those days. I am still thankful that Emi has a dad and that you didnt do what a lot of men do when they leave and simply walk away and forget about her. I am not saying its perfect and you know I give you it when I think you can try harder for her, thats my job, im her mom, but what matters is you are still here. That is more than my dad did and I can only hope that it lasts so that Emi will always have two parents who want to be around her, in her life, wherever we may be, showing her she is loved and wanted. It hasnt been easy, granted, but somehow, even after what happened, Emi is surrounded by love and happiness in her home, both by me as her main person each day on our days alone together and also as a family still when you come and visit. It is so healthy to teach her to be kind. To be kind to those even who have hurt you. To be kind to those you love. To be thankful for the things you do have even when you dont have what you feel you would like. Emi still has her people around her and I am very thankful for that. Thank you for letting her enjoy opening your fathers days presents today. She had a ball. 20170221_085447

Last but not least, to my mom. We have had our ups and downs. I personally think its a girl thing because Emi already acts about fourteen at four! You dont always say what I want to hear, or you might question things I think dont need to be raised. You annoy me and I annoy you. Sometimes. Thats life. Then, sometimes, you phone me up, just for a chat, just because you miss me, just because you miss Emi, just because you want to see how I am. You live 300 miles away, yet, you are the one that phones me after ALL the important things that go on in my life, like health appointments or personal stuff, you always phone to see how it went and how I am. I was thinking about this the other day. Dont think I dont notice that. We may have fallen out before. Plenty. You have raised strong feisty women with an opinion. It wasnt going to be a smooth ride. We may have really pissed each other off before too. You may not have been able to raise us in the idealic situation we are told by society we should have. But you did raise us. You are still here. You are still present. You are still calling. You drive up 300 miles just to get a cuddle from your grandaughter and make sure you can still be involved with her upbringing. I know people with mothers on their doorsteps they dont hear from for a year at a time. You bother. You make the effort. You are someone that Emi completely trusts and puts her own care in Grandmas hands because she knows shes safe. She has decided that for herself because she feels it. You have taught her, through what you taught me, to feel what she needs to feel. To follow her emotions and to go with what she needs. You are constant. You are here. I admit I have taken that for granted in the past and as we all do, have sometimes focused on certain bits I may not like or agree with. You have also done this in return. However, we fight, we make up, we get over it, we move on. We mend, we heal, we progress, we live, we love. That is what a true family is about. To be able to tell you straight then get over it. To not always agree, but to get over it. To accept youre not always right then get over it. To be there because they want you to be ok. You, I know, would never cut me out of your life as some have done, or leave me to my own devices to never hear from you again. You are too concerned with knowing if I am ok. I hear of people, friends I know also, who dont speak to their mothers or daughters. They fall out and never speak again and years pass and they die having never spoken and one person is left feeling horrible about it. I think that must be unbearable. I would feel heartbroken if Emi didnt want to know me. I would also never even consider turing my back on her, unless given no choice of course, as I appreciate some are. Now I am in a position of being where you were all those years ago, on my own with a child, I fully understand how hard it must have been. The loniless can be dibilitating. The work load can be exhausting. The constant reminder that you dont have what you wanted can be hard to take and effect how you feel around the children. However, you managed. As I am. I am more than managing on the whole actually. Thats because of you. Because I have been raised to be silently secure enough to handle my own. To feel every insecurity but to work to the best of my ability with what I do have. To have that fighting spirit within me that you took from nan also and to simply survive, even when you feel you dont have it in you. Because the alternative is not an option when you look into the eyes of your child and know you want them to have a happy upbringing. I want so much for Emi and I know you feel the same for me. So I just wanted to say thank you. For being both mom and dad for all those years. For doing it all. See you next week. looking forward to our holiday. WP_20160620_17_38_41_Proxx

 

How is my baby girl 4 already x

On 21st February 2017, my gorgeous little girl turned four. For any parent out there, with kids of any age, you will fully understand how fast that time passes you by. It is a strange feeling, celebrating a child’s birthday, especially when they are this young and little still.altAmXFT0bdvjntDnsyYgLIeP5pHK--RoOHbcJNb2l6WURjAbove: The arrival. Feels like yesterday

In one sense, it is of course a celebration of life and how far they’ve come and grown as a little person in their own right. It’s a time to be surrounded by your loved ones, spending quality time together, enjoying those moments and simple pleasures that are allowed on that special day, such as being spoilt with presents and eating copious amounts of cake. (We had food coloured, very bright, very 4 year old friendly, TROLL cake, for the record ;-).)20170220_153928 Above: Emis Troll cake

Those moments are all worth it and we had a great day. We had two celebrations for various family members, one being a very lady like tea party for the girls and the other being a trip to the farm with her dad, aunty and uncle, followed by visitors with goodies in hand for her for the remainder of the day. It was a special day all round and I feel blessed that everyone loves her as much as I do. Birthdays are great for reaffirming that you are in fact loved.

Above: Birthday fun!

In another sense, however, I felt some sadness on that day, even more so now it’s passed. Just that sort of sadness, that we all as parents feel, when the child, no longer your baby, gets another year older, leaving behind another year of precious memories and milestones that will never happen again for them. Its gone. Its achieved. Shes onto the next adventure already. The first birthday is always an emotional ride but nobody tells you how much harder it gets to watch them grow up with each passing year. Especially when you just have the one child and are throughly enjoying these younger years with them, it hits it home that whilst loving the child you have, you might never get to experience these milestones again with another, something I very much wanted. As a single parent who has to focus all their energies on their child rather than dating or going out etc that can be a tough reality to face. I know other single moms in the same position as me, in their thirties, feeling the same way that I do. It’s a scary time not knowing if you will get to fulfill something you know will bring such happiness. But I can only focus on her today. She does bring me a whole wealth of happiness which I never take for granted. And in turn I know she’s happy with me. We love each other and its pure and real. That feels amazing.

Above: My focus. My happy girl.

Of course, it was her first birthday without Nan too, who passed away last July and who I always think of but who is especially on the mind on special occasions such as this. I remember her being a little uneasy after I had Emi in 2013, wincing at the idea of being a great Nan as it made her feel old, but within her own time, she came into her own and with the love she had for Emi, grew to adore it. She beamed with pride when she was around my little girl. That made me extremely proud. I think about their funny little relationship often and how they used to take pleasure in winding each other up (ages 3 and 79) then taking great pleasure in laughing together and sharing some biscuits after their fun and games. I think for the first birthday without her, we did great together. 20160807_071958[1].jpg

Above: 4 generations. Nan, me, baby Emi and Mom.

The stages of a childs growth and progression seem to whizz by without ever standing still.  That is why I try my hardest to make the most of it and not miss anything. Teething, eating, crawling, walking, running, talking, starting nursery. Shes done all that. Shes a pro. She will be starting school this September and I have to admit that’s not a milestone I have been looking forward to. It will be such a huge change to our life, which is currently me and her together most days, that I know it will take some time for me to get used to it. I know she will love it though.  I sometimes sit with her at home, wrapped up in a cosy blanket together, watching her funny baby videos to remind me of things she used to do. She finds herself hilarious too which is so funny to see. Its amazing what you forget or need reminding of. Life is of course about the present and living in it, which we have no choice but to do to get through each day, so the way she used to say “kilky” for milky, for instance, isn’t in the forefront of my mind most days. However, to have those precious memories captured on film, to look at whenever I want, is priceless to me.

It also reminds me how much life has changed for me and Emi. I was in my family of 4, with a partner and step son, both in my life for nearly 8 years. Now we don’t have those 2 in our lives on a daily basis and especially with Emis big brother it could be months before we get a catch up these days with him, as our lives move forward, so I am so glad that I have some wonderful memories to look back upon on paper to remind me, after the hard times faced recently, that they really were very happy times for us all. It also helps me to take nothing in life for granted. Not that I ever did then. Family to me is everything. I loved it all.

Above: Happy days

I try to be in the moment with her as much as possible but to be able to capture a moment of pure joy is bliss and a memory I enjoy being able to look at when I need a pick me up or just happen to be having a trip down memory lane. Sadly, there was never really anyone around who would take pictures of me with Emi without me having to ask. Then, when you have to ask, the moments gone and its posed and no longer natural. All those beautiful, unguarded moments, such as feeding in the first days or playing together. I’m sure I would have looked a mess and probably (definitely) would have scrutinized myself in the pictures which is probably why nobody bothered to take them, but having the choice of pressing delete would have been nice. Any pictures I have are ones I’ve had to take myself, selfie style, with her sitting on my lap. I took countless, gorgeous photos of her with her dad, her brother, her family. Sometimes moms are so overlooked and then there are no precious moments to look back on in years to come. My photo albums at home are full of pictures of Emi with everyone but the person that’s in her life 24/7. Her mom. I wont forget personally of course but a reminder of happiness is sometimes so needed. I would urge anyone who sees a lovely moment to try to capture it for moms with children as they are too often the ones behind the camera being forgotten about. fb_img_14704222592891

Above: Selfie queens

I have a lot to be thankful for in terms of my daughter. Shes a little firecracker. Shes determined, she’s strong, she’s healthy, she’s a madam at times but she’s so full of fun and life that she keeps me going even when I don’t feel like it. Theres not a day that isn’t filled with some sort of laughter or fun when she’s around. Shes my absolute priority and its a pleasure to spend my days with her. I look forward to spending time with her and making it about me and her, no distractions. Kids only want your time and with a kid like this why on earth would I want to be anywhere else, especially at this stage where she’s happy, interested and soaking everything new up like a sponge!

Above: Enjoying life’s little things!

Through the personal pain I sometimes feel, I am equally excited about her growing up and the adventures we will have together. She is so lively and athletic, her stamina knocks me out at times. She is hilariously funny and loves an audience. We do simple things together like going to the park or baking. Life really is about enjoying the little things and spending a day planting up seeds for the garden may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but its interactive, its great  for bonding and it gives us enjoyable things to look forward to later in the year when our plants are springing into life. Having kids doesn’t have to be about chucking expensive toys at them as so many people these days do in place of attention. I’m sure in years to come, when she looks back at our life together, she will appreciate the time I gave her, remembering those memories more than anything I could buy her.20170227_1700091

Above: At my side through it all 😉

So now she’s 4, it’s the start of another year of milestones for my little daredevil. Who knows what this next year will have in store for her. In the last few months alone she has learned how to master the pedals on her bike, she has become a keen dancer and she is interested in taking up ballet. Her personality is in full bloom and more than anything I am excited to see how much she will blossom this year into the person I am already seeing developing before me each day. It’s safe to say I am one very lucky mamma to have such an inspiring little girl in my life. Heres to being 4 and loving it ;-). She will always be my baby though, no matter how big she gets 😉 xwp_20140601_004