30 March 2014

My Love My Life 3/12 - Family Life

My perception of the ideal family life would be like the ones portrayed in the movies.  Lots of immaculately dressed relatives warming themselves on an open fire. Picture perfect surroundings.  You can see it now can you, but lets face it who has that.

I grew up in a similar setting that Daisy will soon become accustomed to.  My mum and dad's relationship didn't work out.  My dad wasn't committed to family life with my mother and sadly my husband wasn't either.  I expected that I would have a long marriage but maybe I wasn’t cut out for happy relationships.  I didn’t exactly have many role models and my perception as a youngster from the ones I did have was of the woman telling the man what to do and him doing it.  Maybe I was just with the wrong person.  However, I would say that it's particularly difficult to know you are with the wrong person, when they act like the right one in your company.

I’ve mentioned before that my mum brought my brother and I up on her own, which is hard work physically.  As a single mum it must have been difficult to support us financially when there is usually two parents contributing.  I thought we did ok, my brother and I had our own bedrooms.  He had all the latest computer games and boys toys.  I went shopping most Saturday's with my mum for new clothes.  We had plenty to eat, our cupboards were always full because my mum put us first as you would expect.  We were not a wealthy family but that wasn't uncommon where I grew up.  Most of the children in the neighbourhood were the same.  As kids, my brother and I spent a lot of time with my mum’s sisters girls.  Weekends spent at our grandparent’s house were good.  They had a big house, bigger than the houses my cousins and I lived in.  The kitchen operated like an unpaid café.  All the naughty stuff like crisps, ice-cream and coca cola were in constant supply.  We played in the attic, it was floored,  had a big hatch and when dropped a set of stairs came down.  We each had our own part of the attic, our own little sectioned off spaces.  We photocopied money and bought the loft junk from each other.  It was a real imaginary land.  I think I spent the most time at my Grandparents house, usually because I was off sick and that, is why I was the wealthiest with the pretend money as I photocopied more when I was there on my own!  As a family we used to have the big Christmas with everyone around the table at my grandparents house.  When we got older, the invitation was extended to partners and they were squeezed in too.  I never thought the day would come where those Christmas celebrations would end.  As I got into my mid twenties my Granda wasn't himself, he'd suffered a mini stroke and my grandparents sold up and moved into a 2-bedroom ground floor flat, with a small kitchen.  Nobody had a house big enough to accommodate all of us anymore and I missed it.  As I was the first to settle down and get married, I hoped in the near future I would be the one with the big house and the big family celebrations could continue once again.  I imagined my nieces and nephews all running about together like I did with own my cousins.  My childhood was mostly happy but I dreamt of a different lifestyle for when I was older.  I would've liked the big house with lots of open space.  It would have a large kitchen/diner for entertaining and as silly as it sounds I always wanted a Belfast sink!  The kitchen would open onto a perfectly kept mature garden with fruit trees and fragrant plants.  I saw myself having twin girls and a couple of big guard dogs, but that's a bit of a fairytale.  

This week we've seen the press cover the breakup of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin.  From the outside one would assume they had it all, but I guess like a lot of couples, we're never truly happy with our lot.  Like them, I'm also from a generation where it's easy to throw in the towel when things don't go to plan, but that isn't my way.  Daisy can be a handful to deal with at times and I've spend this Mother's Day questioning whether I'm actually a good mum.  Family life, does it ever turn out how we imagined it?  I didn’t know how my life would unravel but I can tell you this.  I didn't expect to be bringing up my IVF baby on my own.  What I ended up with is not what I would've liked in an ideal world, but who has the ideal.  All I can do now is try to keep myself as well as I possibly can for as long as I can.  Then hopefully Daisy and I can work towards our own happily ever after.  

We didn't get to spend the day with my mum because she works at weekends so she can help me out during the week.  This was the Mother's Day gift I got for her, a custom designed photo box containing mounted prints with my favourite photos of Daisy.  She loves it.

Be sure to pop over to Annie's blog about Family Life.  She has written a beautiful story about being a Mother and the sadness she feels living without hers.