In February 1980 I gave birth to a long-awaited little girl followed in June 1983 by a second. I couldn’t have been happier. After all those years of temperature charts, tearful disappointments and despair, I had the most lovely little girls. Who wouldn’t have been proud and happy?
Then reality hits. These little people are a lifetime commitment. You will be responsible for keeping them warm, loved and fed. You will cry when they are unhappy. You will feel their disappointments and celebrate their successes. You will scrutinise their personal relationships and try hard not to influence them but fail miserably. You will bite your tongue almost every day.
They don’t come with a manual. People will tell you what you should do but that doesn’t mean you have to listen. You know what is best for your children because nobody knows them as well as you.
The other thing ‘they’ don’t tell you is that no matter how old they are, they are still those little people you blew raspberries on, sang nursery rhymes to and kissed goodnight for years.
I feel extremely lucky that my girls have never made us feel anything but lucky. They have not (so far) brought us any feelings of shame or let us down in any way. Yes, they’ve had difficult times but together we have done what was needed to get things back on track.
As a Careers teacher, I tried to guide them along the right path. Girly number one is incredibly academic whilst her sister, though intelligent, did not want to go down the University route. I argued, but lost. Whilst daughter one did qualification after qualification, her sister started work with a local organisation and has worked her way through the ranks, exactly as she wanted to do. She is now in a management position with sights set on the next level and the next challenge. Daughter number one achieved the dizzy heights of Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors today. This is a prestigious position for a young female and one which she will continue to work hard in as well as being a lovely mum to her two boys.
Looking back, I count my blessings and celebrate with great pride that even though there was no manual, we must have done something right to have two such successful and lovely girls.
Remember Grandad D’s saying ‘you feed ’em, and they’ll survive’? Well that may be true – but you and Dad (and our Grandparents) have done so much more than that. You’ve nurtured us, taught us right from wrong, laughed with us, wiped away our tears and ultimately given us love and care that has been so unconditional and intense as only parental love can be. You have given us such a secure home and allowed us to see how marriage and parenting should work and I am sure without all of this Lisa and I would not be who we are today. I only hope I can do half as good a job as you and Dad did with us girls as we are raising our boys because they’ll turn out alright! I don’t say it enough – THANK YOU XXXXXX