Dunblane, Twenty Years On.

Dunblane SnowdropsI was 14 years old on 13th March 1996 and to my memory in English class when we were told there had been a shooting at a primary school in Scotland in a village I had not heard of. At 14 years old, I could never really comprehend what had happened. I watched the news reports and read the newspaper articles and I brought the charity single which made it to number one in the charts. I never even thought to try and grasp how those mothers felt the following weekend on Mother’s Day.

The trouble with motherhood is that it makes you so much more vulnerable to feelings you never knew you could have. Every week day I hug my daughter and kiss her goodbye as I drop her off at nursery. I say goodbye to her teachers whom I trust with her care. As I walk past the window I look in and watch her for a minute or two, running around with her friends, playing dress-up or showing her teachers the clothes  and shoes she chose to wear that day.

I still after three months of her starting there, get butterflies as I sit in the car outside the school gates waiting to collect her and I hope I will never take for granted hearing her name being called at home time and having her showering me with kisses as I struggle to help her with her coat.

My 14 year old heart went out to all those families who lost their loved one that day but 20 years on, my heart as a mother is breaking for those parents at the school waiting for six hours for news of their children’s welfare, and then coming to terms with the news and having to live with it afterwards.

Not only did they carry themselves with dignity, but it is with thanks to those grieving parents that our gun control is as stringent as it is, with no further school shootings. Their political campaign in the midst of their grief makes their achievements all the more commendable. The killer was known to the police and yet had done nothing against the law up to the point of opening the door to that gymnasium twenty years ago today.

They campaigned so that our children will not need to be identified by the name tags on their clothes or by school photographs. They campaigned so that we will always hear our children’s names being called at home time and so that we could always sneak glances in the window and watch our children play.

Evil entered the school grounds on that day but in the end love prevailed and twenty years on that is what we should remember. We should remember the beautiful children, their teacher Mrs. Mayor and the love that returned from that gymnasium.

For the Bairns of Dunblane.

 

 Opening image: www.dailyrecord.co.uk
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Dear Mummy…

Mother'sDayThank you for the nights you spent awake with worry be it due to my first cold, difficult relationships or worry for upcoming  exams and tests.

Thank you for enduring the constant pulling at your leg wanting a cuddle or wanting to play when you were already multi-tasking a thousand and one tasks.

As a mother I now realise that sometimes it is a struggle to just get through the day and that sometimes things really are sent to try you. I understand now that when you used to lose your patience, it was not a reflection of your feelings for me but your frustration at the world outside our little mother-daughter bubble.

Thank you for still kissing me even when my growing independence meant I no longer always wanted kisses from my Mummy.

Thank you for everything you did for me, from changing nappies, to putting food on the table that I refused to eat. From waking up in the middle of the night to tidying my toys that I scattered around the house.

Thank you for all those hot cups of tea and coffee you missed or that just simply ran cold.

Thank you for those times you had rough, callous hands because you forgot or simply did not have time to massage cream into them.

Thank you. Thank you for everything. I may not have seen it all then but I see it now.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

 

Opening image: www.sugar-beach.com

Love Is …

lovehands

1- Making sure you don’t leave the house without a hot coffee and some breakfast.

2- Moving the car in the evening so it’s easier for you in the morning.

3- Not batting an eye lid when you come downstairs with bleach on your upper lip or a full face mask on.

4- Rubbing your back when you are bent double over a bowl being sick despite your protestations for him to leave (because in your mind this is no way for a husband to see his wife).

5- Appreciating that just because you are a stay-at-home mother does not mean your life is any less stressful.

6- Remembering you in his everyday and bringing home treats from the office.

7- Celebrating your successes more than you do.

8- Always going that extra mile on special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentine’s Day).

9- Never letting you walk past or go to sleep without a kiss.

10- Always thanking you after every meal you cook for the family.

Thank you for loving me. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mr. Alphabet Games! 

Love

Opening image: younghoustonmagazine.com
Closing image: heandshe.in

Just Because…

something to say

1 – I am not boring.

Just because I read books you are not interested in does not mean I am boring.

2 – I am more than a job title.

Just because I am a stay at home mother does not mean I am not intelligent or wasting my life. I am raising the future.

3 – I am not little anymore.

Just because I was once a baby does not mean I have stayed that baby. I am a thirty-five year old woman and have thirty-five years’ experience behind me.

4 – I do have an opinion.

Just because I do not often say anything does not mean I do not have anything to say.

Just because I am younger than you does not mean I cannot offer advice. We all have different life experiences and have a different insight on events.

5 – I do have a resolve.

Just because I am quiet does not mean I do not have that resolve. Sometimes it takes a stronger person to keep quiet than to fill a room with the sound of their voice.

6 – Being busy is not an excuse.

The less involved you are in someone’s life, the less they are a priority to you.

7 – Flattery can go a long way.

Just because you are older does not mean you are eligible to criticise in order to advise. Sometimes it is nice to receive compliments. Sometimes compliments achieve more than criticism.

8 – Sometimes it is nice to be more than the token free babysitter.

Just because I am the youngest does not mean I cannot join in adult conversation. Sometimes I would not mind washing up or cooking or feeling like in my absence I would be missed for more than my babysitting.

9 – One person’s rubbish is another person’s gold.

Just because that is your opinion does not make it true nor does it define me.

10 – Conversation is food for the soul.

You cannot get to know a person unless you speak to them personally; reports through another person are superficial at best.

Opening image: www.jonstallings.com

It Could Have Been Them

AylanKurdismileAylan Kurdi. A little boy not much older than my daughter. Aylan Kurdi. A little boy who puts everything into perspective. To many though Aylan Kurdi is a bad word.

He was a refugee.

Was.

Three year-old Aylan Kurdi was fleeing ISIS struck Syria with his mother, Rihan; father, Abdollah; and five-year old brother, Galib in the hope of reaching Canada to live with his aunt. The Kurdi family had reportedly attempted to apply for Canadian asylum but were denied due to incomplete documentation. In a desperate attempt to provide safety and solitude to his young family, Abdollah Kurdi entrusted their lives and hope for the future in the hands of human traffickers. In the end, Abdollah lost his wife and his two sons who drowned off Turkish waters.

We have all read those tabloid articles blaming refugees for all our society’s problems. For our unemployment, for the faults in our benefit systems, for our lack of school places. I can hear the echoes of all the misconceptions and misjudgements around refugees. There is so much talk and debate on how to curb the immigrant numbers but not much talk and debate on how to solve the issue. On how to bring peace to the regions.

Several times my mother mentioned Aylan Kurdi and the image of him on that Turkish beach. I didn’t want to know and even said as such. I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to leave my sheltered ignorance. The news of the Syrian refugees were always a comfortable distance away and although I was sympathetic, did I really care? Probably not – I was too busy worrying about the dinner or my daughter’s schedule and playdates.

Was 

As I write this my daughter is curled up in her bed with her favourite star blanket and her growing collection of stuffed animals. She will wake to a peaceful world. In fact peace is all she knows. Unlike Aylan Kurdi.

It could have been her. 

We are all appalled at the events of WWII and the Holocaust and so often ask why no one did anything. Why so many people were bystanders. Until now, is that not what we have done? Just yesterday, David Cameron has pledged that Britain will accept ‘thousands’ more Syrian refugees in response to the humanitarian crisis. We are so desensitised that it took the image of a little three-year old boy washed up on shore for our government to take action and our nation to care? As long as it doesn’t affect us, we turn a blind eye, we turn the page or we change the channel, instead of trying to help.

My parents were refugees fleeing the Iranian Revolution and I have so often heard stories of bullets whizzing past them. My mother remembers what it was like to have young children during a volatile time and the fear she felt for her family’s safety.

It could have been them.

Aylan and Galip never got to start a new school term, they never got to put on shiny new shoes. Their parents never got the chance of dropping them off and waiting for their return at the bus stop. Maybe if we stayed on the page and we didn’t turn the channel, maybe, just maybe it could have been them.

epa04910104 Washed up body of a refugee child who drowned during a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos, at the shore in the coastal town of Bodrum, Mugla city, Turkey, 02 September 2015. At least 11 Syrian migrants died in boat sank after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. EPA/DOGAN NEWS AGENCY ATTENTION EDITORSgraphic content ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT ; TURKEY OUT

Allah Yarhamak, Little One. Rest in Peace.

The Guardian lists many ways we can help, some of which does not include donating money.  I am ashamed that I didn’t want to know. These words I have written seem so feeble and insignificant yet as a writer, words are my weapon. I no longer want to be a bystander and I no longer want to stop caring. We can do something. We can give money, we can donate, we can at least listen to their story. Then just maybe Aylan’s little life would not have been in vain.

Opening image: The Week
Closing image: cloudmind.info

The Penultimate Career

motherhoodjobI am not stupid. I have a postgraduate level education. I am not lazy, my working day begins the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them at the end of the day, which is often in the early hours of the following day.  I have dreams and I have aspirations. I have only ever wanted to be two things: a mother and a writer. I am the happiest I have been for years. After dressing for the corporate world it is so refreshing to leave the house in jeans and trainers, it makes me feel so liberated.

I work hard and in the past two years have worked harder than I ever have. I have exerted myself to the point my health is now affected.  My only source of news is on my mobile phone usually through my Facebook or Twitter feed usually at past midnight because to refute the common assumption of stay at home mothers (or SAHMs), I do not sit and watch television all day. Neither am I on my phone during the day, except to make phone calls. I do not go out and spend my husband’s money, in fact for at least two months now I have walked around with holes in my jeans.

David Cameron’s new childcare manifesto is designed to ‘help hard working families who want to get on’ and who aspire. How does one define hard working? I am attempting to carve a future in writing and working on several projects simultaneously, I have enrolled in a home study Creative Writing course. I am taking care of my 2 1/2 year old daughter, ferrying her to her many classes and groups. Each day she has at least one event to attend. I am also educator and playmate. I am the cleaner and chef. My husband has dinner on the table when he comes home and his clothes are always washed and ironed. Even when my daughter goes to sleep at the end of the day, there is housework and of course my writing projects, my aspirations.

sahmsday

Why should my daughter and my family be penalised because I chose to stay at home and do all these roles, every single day for free? David Cameron and his government in their discrimination are preventing me and other SAHMs from achieving our aspirations. As a family we are already penalised because my husband and I are still together and my husband is working, now we are penalised because I choose to raise my own children? What is our society turning into?  A society that is more worried about taxes and money rather than the welfare of its children? I aspire to raise happy, confident children myself and not pay someone else to do it for me. Does that make me lazy? I used to think that made me a good mother. Maybe I’m wrong. According to our prime minister I am lazy.  I am wasting my education and do not aspire. On the one hand he is supporting young couples in starting a family and then on the other hand encouraging them to abandon them and return to work when they either do not have to or do not want to.

Every day I wake up with a smile and every night I fall asleep with a smile. How many people can say that? I am raising a child with good morals, with politeness. A good work ethic. I am educating her in the hope she will reach high educational achievements and subsequently will give back to her country. Why is that not commendable in the eyes of our Prime Minister and indeed the rest of society? I am sick and tired of being looked down upon by everyone and I mean everyone. I am criticised for what and how I feed my child. Yes she is a difficult eater. She only really eats the food I cook for her. but if that is her only vice, I am eternally grateful. I am proud of my daughter and I am proud of being a stay at home mother. Mr. Cameron, I am not lazy, I am not stupid. I work harder than many people I know. I do aspire, I aspire to be a good mother. I think that is more than enough.

good mother

Further links:

Wannabe Stay-at-Home Mothers Are Being Slowly Screwed by Cameron

David Cameron’s ‘Slur’ on Stay-at-home Mother’s 

Stay-at-home Mothers Deserve Some Respect From David Cameron

Opening image: Carpe Diem Mom
Second image: Alpha Parent
Closing image: Some ecards

An Open Hearted Apology

Mother and daughterI owe an apology.

To my daughter.

The day you were born, I was also re-born. Re-born as a mother. I am no longer the person I was before and that is OK. More than OK. You have enriched my life beyond any comparison. When a child is born, so too is a mother and that mother is born with a belief that she is super human. That she can do anything and everything. But she can’t.

Lately I have been so concerned with providing for you, with trying to build something that can sustain us as a family when I don’t need to. Your father is taking care of that part. I shouldn’t care what I am worth to anyone but those living under our roof.  My mind has been on the next thing on my to-do list, the next assignment I need to complete, the next chapter I need to write. I have foregone playing with you to tackle the washing up so I can give myself more time in the evening to stare at a blank computer screen, or “puter” screen as you so eloquently put it.

No more.

The job I have now, looking after you is my dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mother. Everything else I have done prior to the day you were born were mere stepping-stones. Yet I have lost the opportunity in the everyday. The opportunity to talk to a few more ants on the way back to the car. Or the opportunity to create a walk around the neighbourhood into a big adventure. Or simply the opportunity to leave the washing up for later and to play “hide and seeks” one more time. I always wanted to be a mother who was present, always there. Not a mother who shouts or who is blind to your wonderment.

So I am sorry my darling girl. I am sorry I lost my patience as we walked back to the car after playgroup. I am sorry for an “I’ll just do this” turning into you ever giving up on Mummy coming to play. I know you are nearly 2 1/2 now and you should play on your own. And you do. But you are not 2 1/2 for long. Already I stand over your cot as you sleep and see you in your big girl pyjamas, with your big girl pillow and wonder where my little girl has gone to. My heart aches because you are growing up but at the same time it is rejoicing for the same reason. The washing up can wait. Even the writing can wait. You should not have to wait. I want you to always remember me as a Mummy who had time to play and in your later years to talk, night or day. Not a Mummy who was always distracted.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow take your time. Tomorrow I will get down on my hands and knees and talk to the ants with you, I will kick that football around, walk around the neighbourhood collecting sticks and leaves. I will play “hide and seeks” any time you want, even if you do tell me where to hide. Tomorrow I will play.

I love you, Bunny.

Mummy xxx

Opening image: www.tatcha.com

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