At 30+ weeks pregnant I am now counting down the days till my return to the UK, where I will give birth to our first baby. My mum, who I haven’t lived with for quite a few years, has kindly offered that we stay with her and combined with the huge life change I will be going through, I’m sure the time with my mum will have its ups and downs – many happy moments and perhaps a few frustrations.
My mum recently said to me that once the baby comes I’ll appreciate her more. Elbow-deep in dirty nappies, I’m sure this will be very true. However, I already appreciate my mum so much and I wanted to put it in writing before the baby comes, as proof that it didn’t take having a baby to appreciate her. So this is a sort of ‘love letter’ to my mum:
I had a very happy childhood. Along with my older sister, my mum instilled in us a lot of positive values and useful traits: our love of housework as a de-stressor, positivity about life, assertiveness when necessary. She an eccentric woman and gave us a lot of laughs, always upbeat, with such a lovely smile.
My parents were rather frugal, both from working class backgrounds where food was rather basic and work was always hard. Whilst we were never short of anything, we only had what we needed, along with enough pocket money for a Mars Bar a week, and it had to be earned. We therefore knew the value of money from an early age which led both of us to be careful with money and good at saving. This skill has meant I could afford many wonderful things ~ most notably to give up my job last year and follow my dream to China (with a safety net should anything happen, like a surprise baby!)
She paid for every school trip, extracurricular activities and we always had lots and lots of books. The only thing we didn’t have was the latest ‘fashionable’ clothes (remember trouser-skirts anyone?), gadgets that came and went (think tamigotchis) and holidays to Florida. She accepted strange high school course choices, but guided us towards the right degree choices, always making us think they had been our idea.
My mum has always supported me. Through my troubled teenage years, she let me get on with it, or as she likes to say ‘get it out the way’ so that by 16 I had had enough alcohol for a lifetime. She supported me incredibly through every up and down. She has met every boyfriend with enthusiasm (and always known which were to last and which weren’t) without
too much judgement. At 21 she lovingly comforted me through ‘the worst break-up ever’ and at 26 she continues to support me in my new marriage, always there to talk.
She stayed in her own marriage longer than she otherwise would have, on a promise made to me when I wanted to go abroad to China without the worry about my Dad. In fact, she put so much into her marriage which will never be acknowledged, but I want her to know it was noticed and appreciated.
And after becoming pregnant as a newly-wed in a country I had no plan to give birth in, I realise her regular threats when I was at school/uni that if I got pregnant I wouldn’t be staying ‘in her house’ were simply her way of discouraging teenage pregnancy, and in fact she has welcomed me and baby Z with open arms to stay with her while we get used to each other.
My mum is always full of praise for the things we do, we need never doubt how proud she is or how much she loves us and she is always there if needed.
I only hope I can be as good a mum for my little one as my mum was to us. As we wait for her first grandchild to make an appearance, I am sure she will make an amazing granny. I may not have always thought it at the time, but I couldn’t have asked for a better mum.
Writing that got me even more excited to step back on to British soil in a few weeks time, and for the Mum and Dad hugs at the arrivals hall, I miss my parents MASSES. Anyone else who is away from home, what are your coping strategies for missing loved ones?