Tag Archives: motherhood

Inspire or destroy?

Last week I was lucky enough to get to listen to the inspirational Nick Barwick. Nick is a motivational speaker who came to a fostering meeting to share his experiences as a care leaver. His story is incredible, he has faced adversity, pain and suffering throughout his life but still found the strength and courage to achieve his dreams, he defied the odds and he overcame.

Nick is passionate about sharing his story, he wants the success stories of life to be shared. We need our children to have hope, that if they are struggling and finding life a struggle they can remember that where they are right now is not where they need to end. This is doubly important for all children within the looked after system, they especially need the reminder that there is Hope in this world.

I took an awful lot away with me after listening to Nick speak, but what has been twirling around in my head since I left the meeting was the impact of ‘words.’

Let me explain a little, as Nick was sharing his story he spoke about being told by some professional in his life that he would not achieve, academically, financially and emotionally, and how these words for a long time became a self fulfilling prophecy for him.

How the words spoken to him became the words he spoke to himself.

Words have power!

They can inspire but also they can destroy.

words

Hearing Nick’s story just hit home how important our words are,

How as Mother’s, as fathers, as teachers, carers, our words have an impact on hearts.

How as a friend, a wife, a sister I need to use my words wisely.

How often have we let words spoken to us bury deep in our hearts?

How what may have been a passing comment has be able to consume our minds.

Someone else’s opinion become our truth.

I know I can look back in my life and raise my hand numerous times for when words spoken in hate became my reality.

“You won’t pass it.”

“I wouldn’t even bother’

“You are not good enough”

“Who would love you?”

How I let these lines of letters sink deep into my heart like an anchor dropped into the ocean, dropping slowing until they find a place to settle and hold, hold on tight.

How I  have allowed hurtful words to crawl under my skin until I believed them completely, burying under my skin into my blood to pump through my veins, straight to my heart.

Burrowing deep until I owed them as my truth.

Thankfully like Nick I had someone in my life who challenged me to question these words. To remind me that my future was mine to create.

That it was up to me to write my own story. 

story-of-your-life

I’m still a work in progress, my story has many chapters left to write.

I’m still learning to throw away the words that hurt, to erase the words that are wrong and untrue.

To protect myself from words that do not inspire or encourage.

I’m creating my own vocabulary and as I do this I hope to create another for my children.

I want their story to be one of adventure, excitement and hope but what I want most of all is that the biggest chapter that they write will always be one filled with love.

I pray that story is one of knowing, knowing how loved they are. 

Sending the kids to the circus 

Ok I’m fuming right now, last night on my Facebook page I shared this 
  
Photo Credit : Sue Fitzmaurice 

About 30 minutes after I posted I received an email telling me I should be ashamed. It seems that after losing a child I should never wish any harm to my others. I should know how special they are.

Now as you can see from the picture I didn’t wish any harm to my kids and maybe they may have enjoyed the circus.

But really !!!

I love my children with all my heart but I’m being totally honest when I say at times they completely drive me mad. 

As for saying I should know better, what the f*ck.

Livvy didn’t die because I threatened to send her off to the circus. She died because of a shitty neurological disorder named Rett Syndrome. 

As for my other three girls I am parenting them the way I feel best. At times like most moms I feel like I’ve messed up. I shout, scream and often lose my patience. 

Losing Livvy didn’t turn me into the perfect parent.

In fact what it did teach me was that I had to treat my girls like normal. I couldn’t wrap them In cotton wool and be scared of anything happening to them. It wasn’t easy the loss of a child does make you over protective and frightened of everything. But raising them in a bubble wouldn’t be fair to them. 

They have a life to live to the full. The whole world to explore, people to meet, memories to make.

And right now if that means a trip with the circus, so be it. 😜

In honour of Livvy

Saturday was an amazing day, we held a Livvy’s Smile Donkey Tea Party.

The sun shone for us, the donkeys behaved and memories were made.

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I had a truly wonderful time.

I got to catch up with old friends and make some new.

I got to listen to laughter as it filled the air.

I got to watch children cover themselves with chocolate and cream as they ate their cakes.

Donkey rides, cart rides and so much more.

Seriously it was awesome.

Yet as I sat at home editing the photos from the day my tears began to fall.

My heart just ached for the missing piece of my puzzle.

Whilst I was blessed with some amazing hugs from some truly incredible children my heart yearned for my little Tinkerbell.

Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary holds a special place in my heart.

Each corner is filled with the echo of my Olivia.

Those first steps she took defying the Drs.

The giggles as she rode her favourite donkey.

alvis livvy

The dirty looks she gave Amber when told to sit up straight.

So many moments, so many memories.

 

I was asked why we started Livvy’s Smile and why I hold events that bring me pain?

It is simple really we started Livvy’s Smile because we are so grateful.

So thankful for the wonderful memories we have stored from Livvy.

Memories that truly get us through the darkness and we just want to give that light to other families.

On Saturday we created those special memories full of chocolate eclairs and cool moms.

Memories that will give us hope through the hard times.

Why do I it when it causes me pain? 

Because I can and because I have to.

I was blessed to be Livvy’s mom, to get to call this amazing girlie my daughter.

Livvy changed my life. 

The realisation that we didn’t have forever taught me to live in the here and now.

To live a life full of laughter and love.

 

So yes hosting these events will always be bittersweet.

I’m sure I will always return home and cry for the missing piece of my heart.

But I will never stop working hard to create memories because each moment, each memory is in honour of my beautiful daughter.

Every smile I see brings her closer.

 

Yes, I know my heart will always ache,

Grief is relentless.

Like a snake it slowly twists around your heart until you cannot breathe.

Your body craves for one more breathe, one more moment.

So as the tears fall I know they do so in honour.

Each teardrop is formed in everlasting love.

Livvy is part of who I am and who I always will be.

Livvy’s Smile is testimony to eternal love. 

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Lets play on National Children’s Day

Play, that thing we assume all children do.

But do we realise how important it is to our children’s development?

  • Play increases self-esteem and self respect.
  • Improves physical and mental health.
  • Extends their social skills, teaches turn taking and patience.
  • Encourages imagination and creativity
  • Offers opportunities and for children of abilities and cultures to play together.

 

Today is National Children’s Day

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Let’s celebrate our children and make today one of play.

 

Thank you doesn’t seem enough.

I’m not sure how I am feeling right now, yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions. I laughed, I cried and I laughed some more.

There isn’t really a guideline on how to feel I guess, no instruction book on how to celebrate birthdays of those that never reached them.

I know some think i’m strange, that to celebrate the birthday of a child that has passed is wrong or odd. That’s ok, everyone is completely entitled to their own opinion and the fact is grief is so unique. Nobody feels the same, everyone has their own journey through it or as I believe ‘with it’.

I’m struggling to find words to describe yesterday it was one of the hardest days of my life but also one of the most blessed.

From the moment the clock struck the new day the messages started to flood in.

Birthday wishes for my beautiful girl.

Messages, pictures and names drawn in the sand my girl was remembered.

Friends all over the world wishing my girl a Happy 16th.

Yesterday was a blur of family, friendship and cake, it was a truly special  day.

It is only now as I sit back and reflect that I really realise how completely amazing it was.

I could not thank people enough for what they gave me yesterday. After many nights of wondering and worrying that my Livvy would be forgotten my heart was swollen by the love I felt and the amount of people who remembered her day.

The fund-raising event for the charity formed in her memory Livvy’s Smile was a great success I don’t yet have a final total raised but I know its in the hundreds which is so wonderful.

Besides the donations I also want to say thank you to those who ate cake with their friends and family in honour of this day. I know I harp on a lot about this but memories are the greatest gift we can give ourselves and I am so blessed that you all made new special ones yesterday in honour of my girl.

So yes I’m not sure how I am really feeling today but what I do know is that my heart is full. My girl was honoured in such a beautiful way and for that I will always be grateful.

Thank you doesn’t seem enough but THANK YOU.

Livvy's banner

 

Memories cherished as memories are made.

I have just returned from a wonderful week in beautiful Wales.

I have loved every minute of it, from the beautiful sunsets to the endless beaches.

Its been a truly wonderful week.

It was a week I so needed, time to recharge and refresh my mind.

Time to allow the words to form and the passages to write.

I am feeling stronger that ever.

My heart and mind are on the same path.

This holiday was the first time I have gone back to this area of Wales without Livvy.

I honestly believed that it was going to have to be another first without her.

Yet it wasn’t because as I have enjoyed the views, cherished the sunsets and loved the ocean I have felt Livvy everywhere.

Memories cherished as memories made.

Dogemals 2015 Newquay 2015 west wales 2015

The biggest gift for Mother’s Day

I keep promising myself that this year will be different.

That I will find myself genuinely excited for this day .

But here we are on Mothering Sunday and I am finding it hard .

Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the joy of being a mother. 

I find this hard when I am missing a child.

I know I was blessed to be Olivia’s mom and I know I have four amazing children here to celebrate this day with but my goodness my heart aches for my girl. It cries out in the missing.

I also know that I have the gift of my job. I get to care and love on children who through no fault of their own find themselves in the care system. In need of a home, in need of love and support.

So while Mother’s Day is hard for me and I may have a little cry or ten I am so fulfilled in my heart.

My faith gives me the promise of forever which is something I hold dear. Something that lifts the darkness.

But the true light, the true fulfilment  is found in my children those I gave birth too and those that birthed in my heart. 

Happy Mother’s Day to you all. 

May you cherish your biggest gift today. 

Your children 

All together

My daughter returns from university today and yes I am so excited to see her.

So why did a friendly comment feel like I had been punched in the stomach?

My friend said “ I bet you are excited to have all the family back together’.

How simple and true is this comment.

Yes i am excited.

But my family will not all be back together.

You see there will always be a missing piece,

missing piece

 

An empty place at the table.

A pile of presents that have not been bought.

On Christmas day only three of my girls will be celebrating it here with me.

Heaven holds the celebration for the other.

I want to say that i’m ok about it all, that i can be happy and enjoy the season but I can’t.

The ache in my heart is getting stronger and stronger as we head towards the 25th.

I hate that on Christmas day I have to visit the crematorium, that the only gift I can give to my daughter is flowers on her stone.

I want the air to echo with her laughter, the harmony of my four beautiful girls to play.

Yet all i can hear is the silence of the missing note.

Christmas is a special time of year, I love the wonder of it all.

The excitement that builds in peoples hearts.

The joy of giving , the love that is shared.

Christmas is a time for celebration and I promise I will try.

Still I hope that it will be ok, that sometimes through this season i disappear.

Disappear to a place where i can allow the tears to fall.

Where I can allow the missing to show upon my face.

Because I cannot pretend all the time.

I just don’t have the strength.

I need to give my heart freedom.

Freedom to grieve my beautiful missing daughter.

A mom or a referee?

Sometimes I feel less like a mother and more like a referee.

Always negotiating, enforcing rules.

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Image courtesy of vectorolie / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Everyone warned me that it could be like this but I never expected a war zone to be found in my living room.

I love my girls and while I accept that growing up and finding their freedom is part of life’s journey. I’m not happy that they have decided each day is an opportunity for a battle.

How can they go from being best friends to worst enemies?

Seriously it’s driving me mad.

I am proud I have raised such independent spirited young woman but hey please let them take on the world and leave their poor mama alone.

I am tired and emotionally shattered with this parenting stage.

Reminiscing and yearning for the days of night feeds and dirty nappies. I may have been exhausted back then but at least they didn’t answer back so much.

I know its a stage that all go through and one day my beautiful kind caring girls will return and the dragon headed all knowing beautiful monsters will disappear but its so not easy.

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I recognise this year is going to one of big changes, university, college it certainly is  going to bring a new dynamic to the relationships of the girls.

A new dimension in their sisterhood.

I’m praying a little space will make hearts grow fonder.

Who knows?

I guess until then I will resign myself to the role of mediator for a little longer.

So does anyone have a whistle?