Adoption, Families, Family, history, Inspiration, love, New life, real life, Spirt and soul, women

Healthier babies, happier parents.

I found a book this week while clearing my loft out! It was called ‘Healthier Babies, Happier Parents. A practical guide by Specialists’ First published in 1959, which fits in with when I was born.

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What is most poignant about this book, is not so much the book itself, but the fact that in the front cover of the book is a note book with lots of handwritten pages lovingly written by my mother.

How do I know it was written lovingly your probably thinking? Surely each and every mum who is able to – takes love and care over things that concern her child.

There are 3 sets of notes. 5th Months old, 6 month and finally 7 months. It’s really poignant to me as I was adopted at 6 months old, and these notes show that perhaps initially she wasn’t sure when I would be coming into their lives. She wanted to be prepared I’m sure, and be ready for me when I arrived.

When I found the book, it was instantly recognisable as something that had been around me when I grew up, but the note book at the front brought me to tears as it was something I don’t remember and was so very personal.

My parents had always told me that I was a special baby, one who had been chosen from lots of others, and when I look at this snap shot from my young life – I know deep down in my heart I was so very much loved, and they wanted to do their very very best for me!

All the love they showered on me over the years, and the kindness they showed me at the darkest times of my life culminate in this simple book of handwritten notes produced even before I became part of their life.

 

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anger, mental health, Uncategorized

Life without love

 

Those of you who live your lives,
as individuals,
as single beings.

Not connecting with others,
as family, or friends, or foe.
How sad and angry you must be.

To feel the warmth of the sun on your faces,
but never appreciate it is shared by others.

To see flowers bloom in spring,
but never see this as new life to love and cherish,
nor keep the picture in your heart to remind you of this magical event.

If hate eats away at your every cell,
and envy spins your tears into a veil of darkness
how incomplete you must feel.

Empty and devoid of any warmth.
No smile, no familiarity,
just the abyss that is your heart and your dark eyes of molten steel.

 

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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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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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Inspiration, real life

I promise you will be amazed.

Do you often watch too much reality tv or too many films, and finally when you have eaten your very last bit of pizza  and drunk your last drop of wine or coffee you face the world – and feel that your life is a little….surreal.

When you step out of your front door into ‘real world’ you wonder why people look different. Some peoples hair is just too long, too short, too untidy or too tidy. Not everyone has that perfect skin or that lovely figure you have been used to on the tv. Its because ‘normal’ isn’t airbrushed and glamorous with high end clothes. Look down at yourself or at a partner or friend –  stand in front of a mirror. These are the things that are normal! In all your amazing glory, lumps and bumps. Grey bits or bald bits.

Be proud of your self, you wear your life on that lovely face and body. Each lesson learned is a fine line, each laugh and joke you have shared is a dimple and each grey hair is a late night phone call from someone to go and rescue them!

I accept myself – most of the time. As you grow older you become more accepting. And more importantly I live with reality!

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