In the hallway, our childhood photos sit side by side. Occasionally we pause on the stairs, noticing the marked similarities – the full faces, full fringes. I am three, at nursery completing a puzzle, looking away as if I already know where the pieces fit. You are sitting down, tucked neatly next to your sister.
We share many things. A nurturing nature and the ability to apologise quickly. A love of the sea, slow weekend mornings and £2.50 cinema trips. A tendency to sing in the car, dance in the kitchen and put PJs on straight after work. A need to check if the front door is secure – sometimes twice, having already driven around the block, but we get that from your mother.
Over the years, you have cared, studied, worked and acted as a full-time PA to the whole family. I am fortunate to have seen you take up opportunities and step back when you needed to. You have shown me that being a person – being a woman, in particular – means making choices. Those choices may be difficult, but there are always options.
You have supported me through my education, relationships, career decisions and periods of uncertainty. Patiently, you sat with me in hospital waiting rooms during the hardest summer, when I ached and wanted answers. Although we do not always agree, your intentions are consistently good.
Together we have packed up many rooms and driven the contents of my life back and forth, back and forth. You have encouraged me to make independent decisions, whilst also showing me the rewards and challenges that come with being in a persistently loving partnership. What combining two lives can look like.
Thank you and Dad for giving me a firm foundation.
Happy Mother’s Day.