Families, Family, Inspiration, loss, love

Purple balloons

Each year on your birthday

We will send purple balloons skyward
Filled with love and loss.

The breath of loved ones

Floating to meet those perfect hands

And everlasting youth.
You will be forever in our hearts

And your name will be on our lips

And in our minds and dreams.

Skye Lilly darling baby.

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Families, Family, Food, Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Uncategorized, women

Love is shown in many ways

Don’t raise your eyes to the sky in frustration

To the one who’s love is unconditional & everlasting!

For love is shown in many ways –

A warm hand on an arm for support,

A kiss of acknowledgment when you come from a journey.

The offer of food or drink as sustenance and love,

Or the sharing of good fortune and hard work

To make your burden a little lighter.

 

For until I give my last breath

And ever onwards

I will share my love with you

Whatever form it takes.

So learn to say ‘thanks’

And take the love and nurture it how you want.

 

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Families, Family, Inspiration, New life, real life, Spirt and soul, Uncategorized, women

Mums of the world unite

Mums of the world unite. In love and hard work, through the pain of child birth, or the tears of a child. Your not defined through the reproduction of offspring but the late nights with hot foreheads or scuffed knees. Maths homework or growing food and the collection of water together. Through feast and famine, through blood or love.

Mums of the world stand united with hearts of love and arms of support.

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Adoption, Families, Family, history, Inspiration, real life, Uncategorized, women

Of course I’m special

Please believe me when I tell you I’m special. not in an arrogant way either.

I was born into a loveless relationship, I have no idea who my father was and my birth mother wouldn’t speak of him. I was born in a mother and babies’ home in Wales, and Wales is where I stayed for most of my young life. I was given up at 6 weeks old. When I say given up, I’m assuming I was. I’m assuming she didn’t want to keep me. Probably not.

I never really asked her when I met her. Her mother knew, but not her father. He was something in the church, so I can imagine the shame of finding out his daughter was ‘in the family way ‘would have been terrible. So I couldn’t stay with her. Perhaps I do her some injustice, by saying she probably didn’t want to keep me. Sounds like she had no choice.

So I was given up for adoption. And this is how I know I am special. I was told by my mam that when I was 3 years of age, we all went out for a picnic together, my mam and my dad and myself. I can imagine the picture in my mind, she would have put my very best frilly dress on, crisp white sock, and lovely red patent leather shoes with a little silver buckle. So that I looked my best. She would have taken time over her appearance, her hair as curly as she could make it, and with a lovely summer dress on too, and a dab of her CHANEL No 5 behind her ear. The very best sandwiches, and I know there would have been a slab of fruit cake and a hot steaming flask of tea. My daddy would have had his favourite red and grey jumper on, and his crisp flannel trousers, hair slicked back, and that crooked smile on his face, that was – my daddy. Those long fingers and strong hands carrying the wicker picnic basket, and the checked blanket. We were probably on holiday somewhere.

She told me what when I was a little baby, all cosy and cuddly in my cot, together with rows and rows of other babies, they went to choose the baby they wanted to take home. And that baby was me. I was chosen out of lots of other little ones, and so I was very special. Apparently I was so very excited when she told that, and kept running round and round.

She kept reminding me of this story when I grew up so I never forgot it. That was their fairy tale, and mine. It may not have been highly accurate, I’m not sure how there would have been such an incredible choice, so many unwanted babies, just lying there for the picking. But I don’t care about the reality of it. I know that my dad was tall and handsome, my mam bubbly and vibrant. And I am a mix of the two of them. You wouldn’t know I wasn’t conceived from their union, I think there is a little bit of both of them in me.

So you see that I was made to feel special. At 3 I wouldn’t have known what it all meant. I wouldn’t have understood about the concept of adoption, to have been left by one mummy and then given another! But a 3 year old would understand the idea of being special, being wanted, loved and cherished. And that’s what it was for those two people who were unable to have their own children.

And that feeling of being special, having a life with two people who loved me very much has carried me through all my adult life. I’m so very grateful to those two people, who took me in and loved me unconditionally, and gave me an amazing start in life.

All I can say is  – Thank you.

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Family, Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Uncategorized

What is the meaning of family?

I wonder if I asked you what you thought the meaning of ‘family’ was, what you would say. I’m asking because I’m away on a short break currently with my family. My elderly parents in law, my youngest son and his girlfriend, my eldest son and his girlfriend and their baby daughter. I hasten to add that we are not all away together at the same time, some have been and now gone, some are saying for a little longer, and some are just staying one night. Never the less I’m still calling it a family holiday, because it is.

And what a lovely family it is. I think we all bring something to the relationship. The eldest members of the family bring unending love, family history and stories. They also bring cake, and chocolate! The young brothers each bring something. The youngest a sense of fun and energy. When you are with him you feel swept along on the sense of urgency and laughter he brings to the family, his girlfriend often has to calm him down, and sort of bring him back to reality! None the less she is full of fun and together they remind us not to get too old, and stuck in our ways.

My eldest son has recently become a dad, and he has grown up considerably over the past year or so. That doesn’t mean to say he has given up all his youthful characteristics. Not by a long way. We often share a silly video of cats doing stupid things, falling off tables, ending up in boxes and hiding in the most stupid place. He has a wicked sense of humour, and still appreciates all the quirky things that I love him for. His girlfriend is a very sensible young lady, a very hard worker, has great vision for their future, is strong willed, and passionate about her families wellbeing.

Now that’s funny, because her passion for her young family is mirrored in my passion for my family, for those who I am blood related to, and equally to those who have been brought in by other members of the family, my parents in law and my sons girlfriends. I love them all in different ways.

Being in the middle of the family, I think that hubby and I hold it all together. We are a stable part of the family, and through our mutual respect, love and friendship for one another show everyone how much we value each other, and what we feel about them. Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t all been plain sailing, but together as a family unit – we have weathered the storms.

In all this, I haven’t said about the two most important members of the family. I’ve mentioned my hubby, but haven’t said very much. Of course I could say something about his long standing suffering about being my wife, or his endless supply of humour – not always when it’s needed. The sacrifices he has made during our time together, or the joy and laughter he has brought us. But of course these are the characteristic that are running through the family, from father to son, and from son to son. And what I love in one, I see in others, and love them for that too.

And another piece of the family jigsaw – my granddaughter. And although she is not a year old, she too has the characteristics of the rest of the family. Someone who knows her own mind just like her mum, that great sense of humour like her dad and her gramps and of course her unending energy like her uncle. If she has a little bit of each one of us – she will go on to do great things.

I think you may have gathered that I feel family is vital, as a network of support and loving. As a place of safety and security in an ever complex world. We laugh at the concept of the bank of mum and dad, but we wouldn’t have survived the early years as young parents without the support of my husband’s mum and dad, and hope to be in the same position to help our younger family members if they need it. And I have no doubt they will. Their support was invaluable when I wanted to go back to work as a young mum. Actually I didn’t have a choice, I had to go back – we couldn’t afford for me to stay at home! They looked after our sons, took them back and fore to school while I worked. And for that I’m very grateful. I know their lives were enriched by the experience. I hope I can repay my sons in the same way.

Family life isn’t always such a rosy picture. I know from the own experiences of my direct family. But we need to learn from past experiences, past mistakes, and try and avoid them in the future.

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bullying, Family, real life, social media, Uncategorized, women

shhh…I have a secret

I’m saddened by the recent news story of the sport guys who have told their harrowing tales of abuse when they were younger. And it’s reminded me of the awful things that happened to so many innocent and vulnerable young lives of those abused by people in power and those with celebrity status. And my heart bleeds for the loss of those young childhoods.

We probably all have secrets and stories that we don’t share with others. We certainly have things stored in the bottom of our hearts that have never ever, ever seen the light of day. And may never surface.

And awful things are happening to ordinary everyday people, carried out by ordinary everyday people. In ordinary every day places, under our noses, and with others around.

It’s not quite the same I know, but I was bullied in school. By just those ordinary girls, who we saw every day, day in – day out. And after talking to school friends, I’ve found the same happened to some of them. Name calling, physical abuse, emotional abuse and more. I’m not a young 15 year old girl – but a 50 something, mum of two sons and a granddaughter. But it still hurts me to think about it today. I can see their faces in front of me. Older girls, who thought they had power over us. They were in my class, and I don’t remember everything about the bullying, apart from one incident when I tried to answer them back. It went horribly wrong and they laughed at me, and pushed me down a grassy incline. The bullying petered out, they must have moved on to some other vulnerable innocent 15 year old.

It sounds so very innocent doesn’t it, a bit of name calling, pushing and shoving. But it goes deeper than that. It makes you feel wary of making friends, how will these new people be towards you, will they take advantage of you, your innocence and your friendship?

Both my parents suffered with mental health illness for a very long time, it certainly had an impact on me. Perhaps this vulnerability was what they were targeting? I really don’t know. I always felt that I had to be strong and feisty to overcome the problems of my home life. I obviously wasn’t that feisty to be walked over like that!

And after having conversations with old school friends, we have found that lots of us have shared stories, but none of were aware of what impact it was having on each of us. How did we not know, we could have supported one another! But you keep these things quite don’t you?

I can see that young girls can be so very cruel, it hasn’t stopped 40 years later, but now it has taken a different turn. You get bullied on Social Media. You can’t get away from it, your phone is always in your pocket – the bullies can target you wherever you are. At least 40 years ago – when we left school, we left those girls behind! Although the spoken word was just as vitriolic then as the written word is now. You did something then – the word spread like wildfire through the ranks of the school. It may have taken a little time to get to those who could do most damage to your reputation, but none the less it got there, and the rot set in! At least then you had some time to try and defend yourself, to quash the rumours. In today’s age of instant gratification, instant messenger, instant everything, what you do now – spreads at the push of a button to everyone! That’s technology I’m afraid. Advantageous on one hand, devastating on another.

I have no answers to the problem, it won’t ever go away I’m sure. But as a parent I have tried to teach my sons respect, to look out for others as much as themselves. To make sure that everyone get home safely from a night out. If something irks you or hurts you to share it, and as a family we will try and deal with it. We need to lead by example, and for us that is setting a good example!

And of course, it doesn’t stop at 15. It’s not just something young girls have to deal with. But middle aged women of 50 + get bullied too. But believe me they know how to nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand. Safety in numbers, support from others, divide and conquer. All those clichés – trust me they work!

 

 

 

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Family, genealogy, history, Inspiration, loss, real life, Uncategorized, women, Writing

My history and I

Our holiday this year has been arranged around two old postcards that were written by my grandmother Elizabeth Williams in 1954 to my mother. She was born in 1887, in a small village in the middle of Carmarthen called Trefeurig. It was a rural area, not many houses, lots of miners lived and worked in the area. Her father Richard Williams who was born in 1860 was one of those miners, he died at a relatively young age of 30 in 1890. At the time her mother had a young baby of 9 months (called Richard), two young sons of 4years old (Luther)  and a 2 year old (Thomas) and her daughter Elizabeth  – my grandmother.

Richard’s parents were Thomas and Margaret Williams. Thomas was born in about 1813. He married Margaret Williams, who was about 3 years younger than he was, and in total had 5 children. 4 sons, and 1 daughter. This is where our history becomes very confusing. The children were called Elizabeth (19), John (16) Thomas (8) Methusalem (8) and finally Richard the youngest at 1 year old – my great grandfather- Elizabeth’s father. Names were handed down in families hence the same names appearing in two generations of family.

Generally around that time children came along on a very regular basis due to the lack of birth control, normally one a year. So it is probably likely there were some still births in this and many other families, who have not be registered on the census records of 1861 that these details have come from.

The post cards I have kept for many years were written to my mum and dad in 1954. They are of two places that my grandmother had visited on her trip to west wales. It doesn’t say where she was staying, but as this place is so very near to the place her family originated from, it was highly likely that she was staying with some family.

She tells her daughter and her son-in law (my mam and dad) about the places she has visited.

‘having a lovely time out each afternoon, pity dad bach isn’t with me. I have all the places on a paper. went to Aberystwyth yesterday 10in the morning. Called at ^^^^^^ bungalow 9 of them there, very nice. a scorching afternoon after the rain, and returned Newquay we intend going to Tenby tomorrow. St Dogmails is a lovely place you get town and country here. Sat will soon be  here now hope you are both feeling good.Let us know what time to expect you home on sat. hope you have good digs I will not write again now. Kindest regards from Elfyn and Mena. fondest love mam xx and in the margin .our church marked with a spot (dogmael) ‘

I have had these postcards in my possession since my grandmother died in 1978 when she was about 92. I’ve never taken that much notice of what they were, they were just two sepia  postcards, that she had written. 4 years ago I started researching my family tree, and they became a big part of the jigsaw. She said that she was with Elfyn (her son) and his wife Mena. I had found that they lived near to his place. And in fact Elfyn had died the year I was born in 1960, in this area. On the card she makes reference to dad bach, her husband, or in those days the husband was known as dad. He had died just before this card was written.

So why am I telling you all this? Well – we decided that our holiday would be a great opportunity to visit this village where the post cards were from. We researched a local hotel, booked the break, and this story is built around the postcards.

The Cliff Hotel overlooks Poppit Sands in Cardigan. The Teify Estuary leads out to the Irish sea, Poppit Sands is on one side, and the Cliff Hotel is on the other side There is a coast guard station there, a café that does the most amazing Bara Bryth. a selection of Holiday homes, and a YHA (Youth Hostel Association) place to stay. We drove round the estuary, and parked the car in the little car park. We had a coffee in the café, and then walked onto the beach. The wide expanse of golden sand, peppered with little flecks of black and tiny pebbles and discarded cockle shells. Although it was a damp day, it certainly didn’t deter the dog walkers, dogs don’t mind the rain or the wet as they jumped in and out of the waves.

My heart soared, as I thought that this was a beach that my grandmother  (or nain as she was known to her grand children) had walked on. Of course I’d been to many places with her as I grew up with her  and she lived with us until she passed away when I was 18. I could imagine her with her son, and daughter in law travelling around in a little car, looking at the same view I was looking at. Maybe sitting in the same sea side café, and if I know my nain, eating the same cake I was eating, she had  a sweet tooth! Probably where I get it from. Of course I’d been to many places with her, she had lived with our family from when I was 8 so I grew up with her until she passed away when I was 18.

I’d like to think that she went there to gain some comfort from family, having recently been widowed. And although back in the mining communities of the early part of the last century, you appreciate that death was a part of their lives – mining accidents, and child mortality being a more regular occurrence than today – I don’t think they were so hardened to it that they were void of sadness and distress.

We then went to St Dogmaels. A quaint village perched on the mountain side. Winding streets with little houses brightly coloured cling to the mountain, and tumbled down the hill. The 60 year old picture on the post card looked nothing like the village of today, and it was difficult to find out anything that appeared on the card, so we went to the ruins of the Abbey with a little heritage centre that has a lovely café inside.

I kept this post card in my hand trying to find any reference to anything we had seen. Then when I looked for the umpteenth time, it was like a light bulb moment. There on the post card in the middle were the ruins. I had never seen them like this before – I thought they were houses. It all fell into place, and although the village on the card didn’t look like the village in 2016, the trees were more overgrown, and there of course were newer properties in the sight line I could see the village of 1955.

What an amazing day, I look some pictures of the houses in the village, as a reminder of our trip. We walked through the car park to the banks of the estuary, we saw a heron trying to catch some lunch for himself, a young man getting ready for the St Dogmaels market which is held on a Tuesday, where sellers and buyers travel from near and far.

I will go back, and visit this magical and historical place again.

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Family, Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Uncategorized, Whatever, Writing

Words and pictures

1473161330596-1376577931We all release our emotions in very different ways. I write to get things out of my head onto paper. It’s said to be cathartic and that’s so right.

When I was younger I wrote in a diary every day. In fact I had a 5 year diary, not very much room for reams of pouring out my emotions. But just enough space to say what I had eaten for my dinner, how I felt, and what I did either in school, or with my friends. On the odd occasion when life was less mundane that that, I would write on some odd scrap of paper I found, and fold it neatly and tuck it in the page. The diary is full of these little nuggets of life. A little bit of history, a simplistic lifestyle. I did this religiously for two years then life took over seriously, I went to college and then moved away. I didn’t have time for the diary, and it was locked up with a hair grip and tucked away in a drawer, and each time I moved, it came with me, my little book of memories.

Although I didn’t write down the day to day events the memories from that time have been firmly engrained in my mind. Not the everyday ‘lunch and how I was feeling’ memory, but the bigger things. Working in a factory, and how mind boggling boring it was!  Working in a restaurant, and making cocktails, now that was fun! My first holiday abroad, and getting very drunk on my favourite tipple. The first time I met some very good friends, who dip in and out of my life after 35 years. Getting married. Getting divorced. Meeting my now and forever husband, and our memories from then on.

Probably like a lot of people, we sit and reminisce about the past, the good time and the bad. We have some wonderful memories together, times when we have laughed, and times when we have embarrassed each other. When times have been sadder than sad, and the joys of parenthood, and being grandparents.

Today my mind and my computer are my diary. Memories written down, and locked away firmly. And my phone, a thousand pictures, and a thousand and more memories. But that is a different story.

 

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