Unspoken Thanks: An Open Letter To My Mum

In our lives, there are a lot of unspoken thanks. They’re the ‘thank yous’ that we don’t think to say. We take some things in relationships as a given. After our massive family shake up this year, I’ve started to reflect on my life a little bit. Part of this process has been to recognise the things and people that make me feel good and that I appreciate. If I am sad, anxious, stressed or I need someone to talk to my brain will say – ‘I want my mommy!’. Even though I am twenty one years old, I’ll never stop wanting mum. A mother can comfort a child in a way that no other person can. There’s a natural bond there – she’s the person who we literally lived inside of for a good few months. That sort of biological bond cannot be broken, or at least, very easily. But not every bond is special and I am so thankful that mine is.

My mum is beautiful and I’m not just saying it – refer to the pictures. Growing up, I knew that my mummy was special. She made heads turn wherever we went. My earliest memories of Mum and I on adventures always feature the gaze of a man that lingered a bit too long. Mum was/still is oblivious to the gazes but I saw them all. She has the type of beauty that is timeless and classy. She has a Marilyn Monroe class to her and finishes off every look with a glossy red lip. A lot of girls don’t want to look like their mothers but Mum’s beauty is timeless – she ages gracefully and practically not at all. With no wrinkles in sight, she sticks her finger up to age and the assumption that beauty dwindles along with it. I always smile when people say that there is a strong resemblance between us. I am thankful that she is beautiful inside and out. 

One of Mum’s best qualities is her incessant need to care for her babies – even when we are now ‘grown’. I am thankful that there isn’t a day that Mum isn’t around. Mum swapped her English Oxford degree certificate for three birth certificates – and showed more pride and value in the births of her children than a career. I admire my mum entirely and I know that this choice had its pros and cons. As I’ve grown up, I realise how much I took my mum’s day-to-day presence as a child for granted.

She was always at the school gates, waiting to pick us up. I skipped out on the experience of child-minders, late pick ups and after school clubs. I didn’t realise that this wasn’t the norm. *hashtag spoilt brat* 

She always had our school uniforms washed and ironed. My clothes always smelt the dabomb.com!! 

She prepared every meal and every packed lunch. From cute stickers to fasten down the lunch bags to little notes on post-its – my lunches weren’t just made, they were personalised. So chic! 

She was there when I was ill, to keep me company, to give me medicine and to give me endless cuddles. I even had a little sofa bed that Mum would sleep on when I was ill – ‘just in case’ I needed her. And I always did.

She played with my hair until her arms dropped off because it calmed my anxiety and also just because I liked it. Seriously, it saved a lot of money at the salon.

She provided me with a smile every single day, even on her worst. Knowing I always had someone to be my cheerleader in life was all that I could ask for while I navigated myself my world. Supporting every decision, chatting endlessly through their outcomes with me and lending her ears at all times.

There really are a countless number of things that I benefited from in having Mum around all the time. But I think the main benefit was the closeness that was formed. Having Mum around meant that our relationship kept on growing in every possible positive direction. Our relationship is weird (in a ‘we have in jokes’ kind of way) and great. We have a very niche sense of humour that only we truly get as a family – I am not even going to try and explain it. But we just ‘get it’ and we get each other. We are best friends because Mum has watched me grow. She knows exactly who I am and has watched me develop into the person that I have become.. I went through a particularly moody, brat phase which I call, ‘my rebellious, get-it-out-of-your-system’ years. This was when we clashed a little as Mum saw me grow a little bit more distant hanging around with friends that she knew wouldn’t last. That’s also another thing about her – she’s always right. But I quickly recovered and grew tired of my fake-ass friends and craved meaningful relationships – with friends that were right under my nose and my mum who was waiting in the wings with ‘I told you so’.

I am thankful that she kept our relationship the perfect balance of best friend and Mother. She is there to wipe away my tears, laugh along with me, care for me when I am sick, comfort me when I am sad and encourage me to reach for the stars. Mum and I are very similar. We are sort of like soul sisters. In another lifetime, I swear we would’ve been identical twins. Failing being identical twins, we’d be conjoined or literally just one person. We think the exact same thoughts at the exact same time. We also have a really deep understanding of what each other needs and is feeling. I guess you could call it intuition but it’s much deeper than that. This is also why at times we squabbled like sisters and then quickly got over the fact we were both being annoying. Day to day, our bond is more like two best friends than Mother and daughter.

Growing up, there was never a question that was too uncomfortable and nothing was ever awkward. I am so thankful for that because I had so many friends who needed a mother’s perspective but knew that it would break a boundary in their relationship. But Mum’s advice was always there for me, no matter what the subject matter. In my teenage years, any body question I had was answered without an eyebrow raised. I confided in Mum more than any other person on the earth. I always knew that this was special. A true example of this bond in action was when I first met my boyfriend, Mum was with me. At this point of course, he wasn’t my boyfriend. I fancied him a lot but he was selling us our phone contracts and it was Black Friday. It was super busy and I assumed he would have a girlfriend – I mean, they all usually do. While he was transferring data from one phone to the next, Mum and I went to Starbucks to chat through my options. I wanted his number but I was too scared of making an idiot out of myself by asking – you know, in case he had a girlfriend… So, Mum said she’d do it – just like that. She bought him a coffee, sauntered into the shop and straight up asked if he was single. Obviously, Ash then thought that my Mum wanted to date him… a result that we hadn’t thought through. Mum quickly made it clear that it was me, the daughter who was hiding in Topshop waiting for an answer, who was interested. He said yes, gave her his number on some paper, and she gave him mine. Two years later we’ve just celebrated our second anniversary and have a home together. I am thankful that my Mum gave me my now and forever boyfriend.

My mum is a giver in every sense of the word. From giving up her career to raise her rugrats, to serving them and giving them everything under the sun – she made sure we had it all. We already had all the love that we could ever need but did we have everything that we wished for? Mum made sure we did! When it came to Christmas, Mum ensured that we’d all written our letters to Santa. Sprawled across the living room floor, we would gather around an Argos catalogue and write down the codes of the toys that we fancied that year. I always did find it strange that the Elves shopped at Argos! I wouldn’t go as far as saying we were spoilt brats – there was definitely a limit to what we could/couldn’t have. But on the whole, our wishes always came true. Christmas Days as a child are some of my happiest memories. Watching Mum’s excitement and joy as she opened the door to the sea of presents that Santa had left makes me smile as I type. Nothing has really changed apart from my discovery about Santa… Mum still gives us the world in every way that she can. Although, I now contribute to some of the present giving on Christmas Day. It’s nice, now that I’m older, to be able to give back in any tiny what that I can to Mum. Because she gave us the world and I feel like she deserves it more than anyone. I am thankful that she makes every memory special. 

In recent months, I have become even closer to Mum. I have seen her act like a warrior through times of hardship that should’ve been soul destroying. But she has risen from the ashes. I’ve learnt so much from my mum. To start with, she raised me with all the classic ‘good’ values that a child should be taught. My ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’, how to care for others, the importance of love and the value of family. But as I watch her go through the most painful stage of her life, I can see how strong my mum really is. I don’t think you can teach strength – but she has been the embodiment of it. As I grow up, into more of a woman as the clock ticks, I know who I want to be like when I grow up. As much as there are so many amazing influences and women in the world who I could aspire to be like – none of them are Mum. If I can be nearly half the mother that Mum has been to me – I know that I will have succeeded. The hardest job that a woman has is to be a Mother. There are no holidays and it’s essentially free slave work. Although I have absolutely zero experience of it – it’s not rocket science to see why it tough. I can’t even keep my two house plants alive! I am thankful that my mother is selfless. She never puts herself first, even though, sometimes I really wish she would. Seriously, take a spa day! She continues to fight for the safety of her children, their wellbeing, their happiness and their futures. I use the phrase ‘fight’ because the last few months have been a fight for us all – but she’s been out there physically fighting it on the frontline. Every problem that we have, is a problem that Mum carries with her – trying to fix it. I am thankful that Mum puts in every effort to make our lives the best that they can possibly be.

One of the hardest things so far was moving out of Mum’s house to live with my other best friend and Prince Charming – my boyfriend. In my head, it was like closing a chapter with the roommate that I’d had all of my life. Mum was always around and I wasn’t sure how I would adjust without her being a drive instead of a yell away. But I’ve realised that I don’t take our communication for granted anymore. I don’t take Mum for granted when we see each other. I savour every moment and I appreciate her more than I think I ever have. From childhood to adulthood, I’ve learnt a lot – like we all do. One of the major shifts is when your parent becomes your equal in some ways. They no longer have to guide you through life by the horns but you might ask them for advice now and then. I look back at my memories and all of the things that Mum did for me and my sisters growing up and I have no words. Mum made our childhood special, filling it with Christmas traditions and memories to treasure.

Nothing is ever perfect but I’m pretty sure my mum comes pretty damn close. I sort of fear that this post does. a massive injustice towards Mum. This post is not thankful enough and I sure as hell have missed out about 100,000 to thank her for. But basically, the message is – Thank you for everything Mummy. I love you. 

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