I believe I have the best Mum ever. We had a couple rough years, but she's always tried her very best. And through my teenage and adult years she's been my best friend. She didn't have her mother with her when she reached her adult years, yet she still knows instinctively how to best support me. She's never interfering. Always there for me.
She might not be happy to receive credit for this - but I consider her a huge influence on me in terms of the way I parent. She always used to say I was the hippy, Earth Mother type, and she anticipated I would parent that way. And I thought she was crazy. She wasn't that type, why would I be? I remember when she first learned about baby sign language when I was a teenager, and she said, "I bet you'll do that with your kids. It seems like something you'd be into" and I tried to be polite and sound interested in what seemed to me like a completely ludicrous concept. And now here I am, passionately teaching my kids baby signs, and teaching my older kids some ASL too.
She raised me in a rudimentary form of Attachment Parenting. She breastfed (at a time when it was not popular to do so) and she always spoke to me with respect and never demanded it from me. She earned it from me. She was gentle with me, forgiving and grace filled. She compromised with me and made me feel like my opinion was important. It made me feel truly loved and built a sense of confidence and self esteem. I strive to achieve that with my own kids.
Watching her raise my little brother who was born when I was 16, I saw her extended breastfeeding (she took me with her to breastfeeding classes, which was incredible for preparing me for nursing my own child one day) and co-sleeping. I don't think she'd ever describe herself as AP, but I sure think she was. And she was very influential.
Mum's always been incredibly intuitive. She's always known about my pregnancies before I even did. She'd still be excited when I told her but never surprised. (Although, she may have been surprised when I was pregnant with Kaya, but that one took us all by surprise - it was so soon after losing Heather, and it's possible she was conceived when Heather was still here)
When I was 13 years old, I was at a Christian Festival, sitting beside mum, and she pointed out a guy to me, "There's this guy who I think you'd really like. He looks like Kurt Cobain". She hadn't met him either, but she had clocked him out and realized he looked just like my type. I had already noticed him too. I later found out his name was Rene and eventually married him and had his babies.
Mum just knew. She just knows. I love my mum so dearly.
This handsome young Jedi is my baby brother. He was born when I was 16 (or I guess I was just about to turn 16). I left school after my GSCE's and I stayed home with my baby brother all day and took care of him. I was his big sister and his live in nanny. And I loved him in such a deep way, he was so much more than just a brother. All I ever wanted was to be a mum, and this gave me such tremendous life experience. We spent our days together having lazy mornings snuggling on the couch, and we'd dance away the afternoon. We just danced like crazy. He thought it was hilarious and it was great exercise for me. I got to be there for so many of his firsts. Then later when he'd do it for Mum, I'd pretend like that was his first time, so she didn't think she was missing it all.
He fell so deeply in love with my kids. He was only 4 when he lost his niece, and it hit him so hard. I think he still has deep scars from it. He warmly embraced Kaya in his life, and loved her without fear or reserve. And he loved Lana too. They would play together, and he had such patience with them. He had such a special bond with Kaya. He was tender with her, he made her laugh, let her mess up his room, entertained her when we asked her to sit still and eat her meals.
Then, in January 2007, I did a bad thing. I stole Kaya and Lana, and the baby in my womb away from my mum and baby brother. I bombed out. I escaped. We moved to America. We said goodbye. Telling mum that we were leaving was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was up for 3 nights before it, crying and throwing up.
We had this Christmas together, in Dec 06, a few weeks before we left Scotland.
And then about 2 weeks later, we left. And I've missed them so sorely. Saturdays are empty. Often I still say to Rene, "What should we do today? Let's go to Mum's." and we both sigh with a little regret. Since I've been gone, my little brother has grown insanely tall (I'm told he's an inch shorter than me!) and he's gone and turned 12. Without me. Almost a teenager. Now I've made myself cry again.
The good news is.....a week from Monday, the day Lana turns 5 - June 29th - they are coming to visit! My mum and step dad and baby brother. They are extremely popular here so they will be spending half of their visit driving all over the States visiting other people who are keen to see them again. They will be exhausted while they're here. But I will treasure every tiny moment I get with them. And I am going to take so many photos they are going to be completely fed up with me.
I can't think about or talk about much else just now. Everything ends up being a conversation about how they're coming over soon. This is better than Christmas to a little kid. I am so excited to see them.
Hey, if you made it through this post, I'm very impressed. I'm sure this is of little interest to most people. To me, this is everything. Just over a week left....