I took the littlees to the play park the other day, and we bumped into a pre-school friend of C’s. They immediately wanted to follow each other around which meant that I ended up having a good old natter with the mum; a lovely lady whom I’d not met before. When it was time to leave (together, of course, to avert a meltdown) we swapped numbers to organise future meets. In the final seconds before parting company she told me her name. Which is also her name. My mother.
As the mum walked away I stood rooted to the spot for several seconds, with little shivers running down my spine, thinking ‘has it really been 10 years’? The answer of course is yes, it really has. Almost a decade to the day (I remember it was some time in April, but cannot remember the actual date) since I last spoke to her. A few months longer since I last saw her face. My mother. The woman who carried me inside her body for nine months, then endured a horrendous 27-hour labour getting me out (I was regaled with the horror of this from a very young age). The woman who cared for me as best she could for the fifteen years that I lived under her roof.
For those not in the know, I am estranged from my entire family, apart from my biological father but that’s another story in itself. When people discover this their first reaction is usually shock. Cutting ties with your flesh and blood is a pretty drastic thing to do after all, but once I give them a bit of background it makes much more sense.
When you reach the point in any relationship, as I did, where you have no respect for the other person, then it’s time to reassess whether you want them in your life long term. I speak about why I did what I did in detail in my book Become the Best You, about how toxic our relationship ended up being and how it was draining the life out of me and holding me back in so many ways. What eventually lead to my mother and I parting company for good might seem insignificant to some, but for me it was the straw that broke the donkey’s back. After years of playing the role of parent to her, rather than her to me, I knew in my heart that we had come to the end of the road.
I’m a human being though, not a robot, and the thought that it had been an entire decade since I last saw her left me feeling rather blue. Never one to let the black clouds win for too long, I did what I always do to cheer myself up – some cathartic writing. In my journey to liking myself I detail the main things I did to turn my life around after hitting rock bottom the year after I cut ties with my mother. It’s good to remind myself of this every now and then, and feel proud of all the hard work I put in to becoming a better person.
That is far from where the story ends though my dear readers. Life is a constant journey, and I am learning each and every day. The knowledge I’m gaining at the moment is mostly about becoming the best parent I can possibly be. I’m not aiming for perfection mind you, that’s a complete fallacy if you ask me. It’s about rising above the meltdowns, raising my kids in a calm and loving environment and ensuring they have a much better start than the one I was given. It’s not always easy, far from it, but I’m up for the challenge.
There might just be book number two lurking in the midst of all of this. We’ll just have to wait and see.