Today is my mum's birthday. It's a special one, although I don't think I'm allowed to say which one. But on a blog where I regularly talk about the things that have inspired me, I thought that it was a good place to tell her – and the world – just how amazing she is.
To be honest my mum probably won't like this too much. She's not really a fan of being the centre of attention, to the point that after her last big birthday when I organised a surprise meal with all of the family, it was possibly the most angry I've ever known her be. So I'll try to draw as little attention to her as possible, despite the fact I'd love to share with you my favourite picture of the two of us – a selfie taken on the top deck of an open topped bus in New York City - and won't even mention her name. Sound fair mam?
What I will tell you though is that my mum is the kindest, most selfless woman I've ever met in my life. The last two years have been a tough time for my family – my dad's been poorly, but my mum has kept going with everything she needs to do regardless, taking on more work at home as well as attending hospital appointments, dishing out medication and doing all that she can to help my dad, and heading out to a day job that involves being on her feet and dealing with the public (many of whom, as anyone who's worked with the public will know, can make working life more than a little challenging from time to time).
Last year in the midst of it all, I had a car accident and was left pretty much incapable of looking after myself, or Kali, for over a month. And of course, my mum added caring for the pair of us, and attending even more hospital appointments than she already had been, to her increasingly lengthy to do list. And amidst all of this, she never complains, and hasn't taken so much as a day off on the sick from work, even though I know she could really do with a rest, because "the girls at work are already short staffed." In short, she's the most caring and hard working person I know. But that's what being a mother is about right? Well with my mum it's more than that.
My whole life, I've been lucky enough to enjoy some amazing things and experiences, simply because my mum gives THE BEST presents in the world. And that might sound like a small thing but it's really not, it's important because the reason these gifts are the best is because of the amazing amount of thought that she puts into each and everyone one of them.
One of my absolute favourite things in the world is Christmas and that's all down to my mum. From being tiny Christmas – and other things too, losing teeth being a particularly memorable one – has been the most special and magical two days of the year, and that's down to my mum. Mine and my brothers' whole lives she has put so much effort into helping us embrace the magic, beauty and loveliness of life, even long after we stop believing in the things that usually make them so magical for little kids, and giving us beautiful memories and wonderful traditions to pass on to own kids throughout.
A lot of people tell me that I'm like my mum and it's true; we're both unashamed geeks and fan girls with a soft spot for sci fi, fantasy, superheroes (Marvel movies are fast becoming a mother daughter date tradition!), the Royals, celebrity gossip and hot boys (sorry dad). But there's also the less shallow stuff… we're both interested in history and general knowledge and spent a lush few hours last week wandering around a museum in Newcastle where she first took my brother and I when we were very small. Last year the two of us spent five days in New York City, and although lots of my friends would be ready to kill their mothers after such a long time alone together we had a great time and it's a holiday I would happily do again and again without a second thought.
As with many mums mine has always been there when I (or anyone else in the family) has needed her, but where I'm especially lucky is that my mum is an amazing listener. It may be my dad and I who are academically qualified for that job but we both agree that my mum is the best counselor in the family.
And she's always been supportive, even when I know she's been terrified for me like when I took voluntary redundancy from a secure, long-term job to start working on a scary and uncertain career change; or when she's downright hated my decision like when I left home to go travelling around the world alone for four months.
Because of that support I've never been afraid to take those risks or follow my heart, because I've known that whatever the outcome she'd be there waiting for me with cuddles and assurances that somehow it would be OK.
Even during my biggest decisions or my most bratty teenage moments I've never for one moment doubted that support, or how much my mum loved me. And although I haven't quite gotten around to giving her grandchildren just yet, I know exactly how much Kali's grandma loves her too. Which is wonderful given that I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we love her just as much.
More and more nowadays I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, or catch something I've said and realise that I'm turning into my mother. For some people that's a cause for concern. But when you have a beautiful, wonderful, amazing and inspirational mother like mine, that's not the case at all, it's something to be proud of.
Happy birthday mam, love you xxx