Dear Mum, Nan, Grandma, OK I am not going to call you Grandma as I never have. You are, but I have always called you Barbie so we’ll stick with that. I think I have a little apology to make…
Nan, you had the unenviable task of taking me and my boat feet shoe shopping. It takes a strong woman to survive that ordeal. I realise now that it wasn’t your fault I was gifted with a pair of flippers wider than the Atlantic. That it wasn’t because of you I couldn’t have the pretty shiny black shoes with the key. I still don’t know why shoes required a key, but damn I wanted that key. What I did not want was a pair of big ol’ clunky lace up kickers. I shudder to think of the colour of your face when I had (many a) public meltdown at the injustice that was my feet. The strops I threw, the temper that blazed and general ungrateful moody cow I was to you. You see, having taken my own daughter shoe shopping, having been on the receiving end of a public tantrum I fear I may have treated you a little harshly, Nanny Pat.
Mum, oh mum, it must have been a real ball ache cooking dinner for three fussy offspring, while you had those three loud, active and irritating kids running around swinging from the walls. Quite literally. Peeling, chopping and cooking is arduous enough but to do so only to have three faces screwed up when the plates are put in front of them and food pushed around the plate, or onto the floor must have driven you cray cray. Boy do I get that now.
Barbie, oh you have the patience of a saint. Having been shown childhood photos of me, there is a common theme, I was on foot. Not a buggy in sight. I have it on good authority that I liked to walk everywhere. I would literally walk miles. Now I have walked miles with my toddler, I know, it.takes.ages. They are slow, so slow, they stop and look at everything and often just stop for known possible reason. What was once a 7 minute stroll becomes an hours jaunt. Oh Babs, you deserve a medal for walking all those miles with me, rain or shine…or snow.
Nan, back to you, do you remember that time you had my haircut like a boy? I suspect you do somehow. I spent the entire day screaming at my new do. As such you wouldn’t let me ride the train. Instead I had to stand kicking and screaming from the platform as my cousin chugged off into the sunset smug as the day is long. I deserved said treatment, I know that now, granted at the time it felt like the word was against me. You lobbed off my long blond hair, made me look like my male cousin on that train, and for my protest I was remanded on the station. What didn’t occur to me however was if that day was a bit crap for me, well it probably wasn’t a barrel of laughs for you either. To have a miserable, stroppy, petulant child screaming in your ears for an entire day of your holiday can’t have been altogether fun – OH DO I KNOW THAT NOW.
Mum, Nan, Barbie, I am sure this applies to you all – whilst I am sorry for this, I am also incredibly grateful. You remember all those times you played, kitchens with me, or shops or yes Barbie, brides *cringe*. Well it was great fun for me, although I now know that actually you probably wanted to be anywhere else but pretending to eat plastic fruit on the floor. I know that it quickly becomes tiresome, boring even, yet you stayed and did it anyway, over and over again and for that I thank you. I thank you for putting the time in and for giving me the example I needed to be the mum my children deserve.
So yes, I thank you for all you did but it wouldn’t be right not to apologise, for the tantrums, the food refusal, the general pain in the arsy-ness, please, forgive me for I knew not what I did…