I realised how much strength it took to raise five fearless girls
REMEMBER WHEN I SPENT two years running around the world and all those letters you used to write to me? My friends were always envious when the postman arrived. I’d dive on the thick brown envelope and tear it open to see your distinctive scrawl on pages upon pages of lined A4 paper – and I wonder where I get my love of writing... Anyway I don’t think I ever replied to you, so here goes… I read an interview with Cate Blanchett on motherhood not that long ago. I remember her referring to her kids as spirited and sometimes demanding. How they constantly confronted her with her failures. And I instantly thought of you.
How you endured all our tantrums and torn wounds over the years – and you survived every one of them. When I read about her experience, it only then occurred to me how much strength and resilience it must have taken you to raise five fearless girls.
Fast forward to 2017 and despite the fact that we are all grown-ups, you still bear the brunt of our mistakes, catastrophes and our heartbreaks. Maybe it’s because you feel that no one else in the world apart from you is able to take on our suffering?
I am constantly reminded of how much you worry but, truthfully, how could you possibly not? You are the first person I call when disaster strikes. When I lose my house keys or my car breaks down or the electricity goes and I need you to leave your bed, in the icy cold, in your pyjamas to rescue me.
Perhaps I’ll understand when I become a mother myself.
Even so, I’ve always admired from afar how you chased us all around. How did you balance it all? How did you find the energy to see through every battle with us all – because if you didn’t, you thought that somehow you weren’t fulfilling your duty?
We’ve had our days. Darker days when I wanted you feel the pain that my sisters and I felt. And yet, I never think about the bitter remnants of the marriage separation that frame my adolescence but instead of the fun and imagination, adventure and freedom that you instilled in all of us. Summers spent knee-deep in dirt on Pa’s farm. We’d trudge through the house with muddy feet and ribboned pigtails, mock the chickens in the fields and pour cake mixture all over the kitchen. Yet you treasured every minute.
At school, my lunch box was always layered with extra biscuits to share, while on Pancake Tuesday, it would be full of batter and tubs of jam and cream to feed 30 other kids. I wanted to fly further when it came time for university and you booked us flights to London and trekked through the city with me in heels. Two of a kind. I know that if you had the chance tomorrow, that you would do it all over again.
Thank you for always loving me. Grace x