Dear Mama,

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - STYLE WATCH -

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

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