Family Ties

Family, to me, is huge. There’s the old saying that goes something along the lines of ‘you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends’, well poppycock, I wouldn’t change my family for the world.

When it comes to family, I could talk all day about them either as a collective or individually. We’ve been through our ups and downs, like any family, but we pull together and can pretty much face anything. It’s not always been plain sailing, but with the low times there’s always good times around the corner.

My parents divorced when I was around 9 years old. I remember the time they separated, and I’m not going to in to it. Like most children whose parents separate I found the process traumatic, but looking back now with adult eyes it was the making of us.

My brother and I stayed with my mum, we left our family home and moved to in a grotty house, in a nice area. Times were hard but we were looked after well and mum scrimped and saved to give us everything. We weren’t spoilt, most of our clothes were hand me downs, from charity shops or jumble sales, things that seem pretty cool now with a vintage edge. At the time I wanted to be a fashion designer, it enthused me into developing my own style. I remember I got a second hand pair of tie dyed purple converse that I wore all the time!

Around that time there was a lot in the press about single-parent families, and that children of divorced parents were seen as delinquents, but we weren’t. We were brought up well, with values and manners, something that a lot of children today don’t always have. My brother and I played out, we studied and made our own  entertainment. We were quiet and behaved in public, although there were moments that we ‘played up’, but every child does at some point!

My mum is wonderful, she’s amazing. She is my role model and has a strong sense of family. As I’ve grown up, we grown in to friends as well as having a close mother daughter relationship. Every girl needs her mum, don’t they?! I’m a lot like my mum, as people say you can tell you’re related although to mums disappointment  we don’t get mistaken for sisters! We have a similar sense of humour, although I have far more of a potty mouth than her!

We spent a lot of time at our Grandparents house, at weekends and sometimes during the school holidays. I remember my grandpa taking us to the market and how it stank of fish. Every Sunday we’d go to church, he’d go on ahead and leave my grandma, brother and I 3 Polo mints on the dining room table. Back then we didn’t eat before church. Then once we came back he’d give us 10p to go to the corner shop for a 10p mix-up. I remember laying the table ready for lunch too, my grandparents were Anglo-Indian and Sunday lunch for us was curry and rice. When all the family was round at theirs the children ate first followed by the adults, as there was loads of us! I have happy memories of staying at my grandparents, we had some lovely times.

My grandpa passed away just before he’s 80th birthday, I remember going to see him in the hospital and how it didn’t seem real. After this time I forged a close relationship with my grandma. I used to love listening to her stories of back home in Burma, tales of her brothers and sisters, stories of the war days and how they came to England and that she didn’t know how to run a house as back home they’d had servants. I used to spend a lot of time with grandma, we’d go shopping she loved accessories – hats, shoes and bags and always said they should match. She loved the odd sausage roll, fish and chips and a good Chinese, whilst I share a love of these I loved her cooking. I got her to teach me how to make dhal and pepper water (although these days, I have to double check with my mum if I am doing it right!). When she died it was hard to deal with, I wasn’t there, I was at a festival. I remember getting the phone call from my mum telling me that she’d passed away. I remember the band that was playing and the song they were performing (Inspiral Carpets, Saturn 5). I never got to say goodbye to her, although I didn’t really have to because she is always with me. Every pair of shoes, every bag, hat whatever item is it, she’s there!

As a collective we still remain close, I talk to my mum several times a week, occasionally facetime my brother and whatsapp my sister in law about this and that! We still have family dinners, meet for lunch and catch up on all the gossip. I have 2 beautiful nieces and another due in April, they are such lovely girls full of energy and sparkle, who always ask if Gary and I are coming for a sleepover! I’m still in touch with uncles and aunties and cousins – all of whom have families and are doing well for themselves, which is so good to see.

Like I’ve already said, I could talk or write for hours about my family but I shall leave it there. My family means the world to me, we’re close, we’ve always been close. I’m grateful for all the memories, good or bad. I’m thankful for everything that they have done and continue to do for me. A lot of people don’t have a close relationship with their family, I’m lucky that I have mine.

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.

Frederick Buechner

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1 comment

  1. Loved reading about your family it is such a precious thing. My mum had severe post natal depression when she had me, and my parents split up when I was 1. It was hard because everyone says my mum was this amazing person, but after me she was a shadow of herself. She just sat smoking on medication. My grandad made my childhood as he was very kind, he really looked after us all. It made me and my siblings very distant to each other. I felt my older brother and sister were very competitive and materialistic. They never understood me being so creative and eclectic. At the moment I feel like I am building a relationship with my sister, so feeling a little bit better about family at the mo. My parents died aged 48, and 52. Like you say my mum is with me all the time

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