The Hardest Part

I’m sat here watching you savour the tiny chocolate found behind today’s Calendar door. You marvelled at the surprise of it all, shouted with excitement at the shape of Santa’s face etched into the piece. The twinkling of the Christmas tree glares proudly behind you, casting allusions of Yuletide bliss.

In that instance, I’m taken back three years ago – your first Christmas and your Sister’s too. Christmas time hasn’t always been easy for us. I remember that first year, endlessly forging forced memories for your sake – trying our hardest to cover our Hearts breaking on the inside, wanting you to experience the magic of it all. Needless to say, we failed! It was hard for us to escape the trauma of having a newly born premature baby fighting in NICU whilst we celebrated the season. Even at nine months old, you sensed the pain we were all feeling, I’d even say you were feeling it too.

For the past few years, we’ve tried to compensate for the memories you missed out on and so far, I think we’ve done a marvellous job of that! But there’s something about this year which has us all thinking about the hardships of three years ago, maybe it’s your ages or maybe it’s because a Hospital visit never seems too far away these days.

When your sister arrived nine weeks early, we always knew there’d be long term repercussions. What we didn’t consider was the ways in which you’d also suffer. This, for me, is the hardest part.

During your sister’s first year, it was easy to pretend your role of ‘Brother’ was solely that. You’d play with her, entertain her, snatch her toys when you thought we weren’t looking and stare at her with both joy and jealousy. It was all as normal as we’d expect. The times your sister ended up in Hospital, we kept your routine as structured as we could and sensed your adaptability to the situation. In truth, you were mainly oblivious to what was happening.

Now, it’s harder to hide the truth from you.

Not yet four and I already know how burdened you are by it all. I see it in your face, hear it in your cries. Siena’s disability and illness impacts us all, as a family unit. It impacts you in ways you shouldn’t be expected to deal with at your age. It’s unavoidable, inescapable and completely necessary. But sad.

Daily, I see your role of ‘Brother’ extend far more than usual. You’re carer, protector, Teacher and Tolerator. I see you with her when you think we aren’t paying attention, I listen to the advice you give her, how you will her to progress. I watch you struggle to keep your calm when you’re amidst the centre of her frustrations. I watch you handle your own temper when she claws you, bites you and throws her fists in angry temper. I want you to know how amazing you are, how your patience keeps both Mammy and Daddy going as we try to deal with this new awkward phase appropriately.

I also see the other side, the side where you’re fed up of coming second, of your needs been pushed to second best. And that, for me, is the hardest part. I hear the pain in your tears, I feel the injustice of it all and I’m sorry.

All you ever seem to fight for is equality and I don’t know how to give you it.

Today, before the opening of the Calendar, we ventured to Beamish. You cried all the way because you wanted the same treatment as your sister. You demanded we carried you the entire thoroughfare, tears streamed uncontrollably each time we tried to put you down. Some may have looked at you, an overgrown child demanding the comfort of your parents’ arms, and thought you were highly coddled. How could they know that this is your best effort to feel equal to your sister? How could they know you see Siena being carried as confirmation that we love her more, that we show her more affection? It is, of course, so untrue! But I’m struggling to teach this notion to someone so young and incapable of understanding. I’m desperately trying to make sure you feel your worth, that you can differentiate between us helping Siena, not loving her more.

The jealousy you face, you increasingly demonstrate, is fuelled by circumstances far out of our control. Circumstances I wish so badly I could change – for us all. If only you realised how privileged you are, how lucky you are not to need us the way Siena may always need.

There are times when Siena’s needs are so demanding, you’re forced to take a second seat. We’ve expected too much of you, asked you to understand why our arms are preoccupied. There are moments I see it in your face, you feel lonely, you feel like we’ve no time for you. That, for me, is the hardest part! I remember those nine months (as minuscule as that sounds) when my arms and heart belonged entirely to you. Trust me baby, there will always be time in my heart for you. There will always be space in my arms as well. You are never second loved, second best.

It’s not always about the jealousy though, it’s the worry that hurts me the most.

Siena’s health puts a strain on us all. You’ve developed your own fear of becoming poorly, you despise the idea of needing a Doctor or nurse. You’ve seen your Sister admitted too many times to count, held her hand as Doctors administer her meds.

You’ve cried! Each time she’s admitted, I feel your fear. It must be so daunting to see her so poorly and not understand what is wrong. The last time she was in hospital, we were in Center Parcs , we left you with family whilst myself and your Dad accompanied her. I doubt I’ll ever shake the pain in your voice as you insisted you were coming. I watched the tears flow violently from your cheeks and knew how much you were hurting. It kills me that you suffer so much when she’s ill – it kills me that I’ve no idea how to subside your fears effectively.

All I can do baby, is tell you how much we love you – and thank you for being the most amazing little boy. You didn’t ask for any of this and neither did we but we’re here, living life the best way we know how.

I just hope you know how proud we are!

We love you more thank you’ll ever know!

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Unforgettable, That’s What You Are

To our wonderful Grandad,

It’s hard to believe I’m writing this for you and that you’re not here to hear it. After all, I think in your Grandchildren’s eyes – you’ll always be invincible.

In truth, I didn’t know how to approach this. It was hard trying to narrow down the memories we shared or the ways in which you made us proud. There are so many moments, so many admirable qualities to note.

When I was a young girl, I was simply awed by you. Through my eyes, you were just mesmerising. I’d watch you as you read your paper, calculating bets at lightning speed, hoping one day I’d understand mental arithmetic as brilliantly as you. I’d watch your hands work meticulously as you tended to your tomato plants, the same hands you’d use to pull out our teeth without ever making us flinch. Your touch was magic, soft and nurturing – and always warm. I remember the way my small hand fit like a jigsaw into yours, feeling protected as we walked.

I remember traipsing behind you, following your every footstep as we accompanied you on your duty early in the morning. My Brother always in front, following by your side. I’d feel envious of your bond as though he were your apprentice – your only Grandson and one who treasured you so much. You’d tell us we were searching for buried treasure – the three-year-old me clung to your every word. As we walked, I’d study your face eager to see it change with every gem you discovered. Your garden and the school grounds were always such a special place for us. I remember lazy Summer days eating ice-cream in the grass watching you plant flowers, or winter days building snow-men as big as we could.

I also remember our family walks along country roads, visits to Gibside or along the river in Durham where the Salmon jump. We’d collect acorns, leaves, cuttings of plants and conquers. You’d talk to us about the flowers, making us feel and smell them. You’d pick berries and mushrooms, wild garlic, mint and lavender. You’d tell us about the plans you had for them – where you’d plant the cuttings in your garden and how they’d bloom; about the jams you intended my Gran to make (whether or not she did, I can’t remember – I suspect she told you where to stick them somewhere differently when we were out of earshot. She was always good at reigning you in and well, what can I say other than at times, you certainly needed it).

You were always a tall-tale-teller and we all loved nothing better than listening in depth to one of your anecdotes. They were funny and humorous, scary and thrilling. Often, they were romantic! But always, they were interesting. I must have heard most of your stories a million times before – enough to recite about the time you saw a ghost walking to the phone booth or the poltergeist you chased by yelling ‘get out of my house’. Even still, each time you told them I’d listen so intently as if it were the first time. You’ll never know how much I crave that right now, that I’d do anything to hear your tall tales again.

I’ve always been amazed by how you could hold a room…and you did! You always fell Centre of attention, making people laugh at your stories, riddles and poems. Charismatic until the last minute – I saw how you had the nurses at your care home eating out of the palm of your hand! You had the ability to make friends wherever you went – which at times was surprising because of how tactless and honest you could be.

You told it as things were, never dressed anything up to be anything different. You were stubborn and insistent that things went your way but deep down, you always knew Gran was the boss and you behaved yourself impeccably once she’d cast her stern look in your direction. Your personality was huge – as huge as your heart! Through all the muttering and groans (mostly aimed at daytime TV), you were full of joy and laughter. You loved to socialise and I can still see your face now singing to karaoke at one of my Nana’s notorious New Years Eve parties. The biggest smile and a handsome one at that! The same smile you graced us with in the days before your passing.

And you were – so handsome! My Gran was one lucky lady but actually you were the lucky one and you knew it. She idolised you as you did her. I still won’t forget the time she broke her arm and had to stay in hospital. You made her a packed lunch and wrote her a love note every night! I remember hearing that and knowing I’d base my every relationship thereafter on that. You could be a gentleman when necessary (in spite of your potty mouth) and so incredibly loving. Watching you sing to her on your Golden Anniversary was another moment that just left us floored by pride for you both.

There’s no easy way to summarise the millions of ways that we loved you and I know I speak for us all when I say that we were truly blessed having such a personable Grandfather to look up to.

You’ve taught us so many life lessons that we’ll always be grateful for. Thank you Grandad – love you always, your Grandchildren.

The Uncomfortably Familiar Surrounding of the Hospital Ward No Longer Sits Well With Me.


The moment you arrived in this world, those nine weeks prematurely, was the moment I knew our journey was going to be jaggered. 

Your Brother had done very little to prepare us for a poorly child, he’d not once been ill in the 9 months prior to your birth. We left ward 10 of UHND skipping with positivity, marvelling in the miracle of life. Only to return somewhat nine months later anticipating your eager arrival. The car journey to hospital with your brother was full of excitement and readiness – and even though he arrived three weeks early, we were both mentally and physically prepared. My pregnancy APP had told me that he was officially ‘full term’ and had done all the growing and developing he’d need to in my womb. The car journey second time round was not so clear cut. The feelings we experienced were completely worlds apart! With you, there was so much to fear, so much at stake of losing. We were told there was a chance you wouldn’t survive and although we were compelled not to believe this would be our reality, we couldn’t deny that this could be our truth. 


It took 5 weeks before we could skip down the corridor, focusing positively on your future. 5 weeks of getting to witness just how miraculous growing life could be. We physically saw your eyes unpeel, your lungs grow stronger. In a conflicting sort of way, it was a privilege to see.  Once those 5 weeks were over, we had visions of plain sailing from then on out, to wave goodbye to UHND once and for all. We had visions of routine check-ups going exactly as the should…no hiccups, no complications, no more reasons to worry.

I wished for this so much.

Your 1st Year of life saw us returning to hospital almost as much as we were away. Your lungs just didn’t seem ready to cope with any common childhood bug you encountered. I spent many nights watching the sats machine, praying you’d turn a corner. I sat in the darkness of the hospital room, feeling all too uncomfortably familiar within my surroundings. The smells, the noises, the chaos and commotion just felt so much like the beginning of your life. I started to feel as though maybe this was just going to be part of your jaggered journey.


Almost as quickly as I admitted that, you suddenly seemed to flourish. Your lungs appeared to be coping with the demands of toddlerhood, we rarely used your inhaler and started to believe you were over the worst of it.

That’s not to say your trips to the Hospital came to an end. During this time, we came to realise you had Cerebral Palsy. The MRI scans, blood tests, kidney scans, hip X-rays, hearing tests and optometrist appointments just seemed to replace the late night ventures to A&E. on top of your ECG scans and routine paediatric visits, we began to see regular physio appointments, hydrotherapy, and occupational health. We became more aware than ever that UHND was always going to play a role in your childhood. This, however, all seemed manageable. The trips were expected and planned, we knew when you were going, how long you would attend and always that you’d be back home in time for bed. Most appointments were promising and we left with a sense of direction and confidence in your consultants. You were moving in the right direction. Every visit, every scan or X-ray shed some much needed light on how we could get you to where you needed to be. The familiarity of the hospital ward was certainly diminishing.

Then you turned two and things just seemed to turn upside down. 


You even started your 2nd Birthday poorly! We awoke on the 30th November 2016 to find you covered head to toe in Chicken Pox. You were irritable and understandably agitated but like we’d grown to expect, you appeared no different to any other toddler. It wasn’t until two weeks after your Birthday – a week before Christmas – that the late night rushes to A&E returned to our lives.

Since then, we seem to have visited more than ever before. Your lungs which we once rejoiced over maturing, no longer seem to tolerate any additional pressure. You’re susceptible to chest infections as a side effect of your large ASD (something I had hoped we’d have sorted by now), when your chest is infected, your lungs just can’t handle the strain. I’ve watched you work so hard to breathe that it’s rendered you incapable of speaking. I’ve held your listless body in my arms – agonised by your intercostal recessions. I’ve listened to Doctors tell me you have Asthma then tell me again that you haven’t. There always seems to be a battle whether it’s viral-induced wheeze, Bronchiolitis or Pneumonia which has knocked you down. Lately, they’ve branded around Chronic Lung Disease as if it’s not something that should scare me witless! I’ve heard them say you need a consultant then walked out of the hospital doors so maddened by the lack of progress on this front. 


I’ve fought! I’ve insisted and I finally feel as though I’m getting somewhere! Tomorrow, we’ll meet your Asthma nurse and eventually a plan of action can be put in place. 

You’re two and a half now and I’m so exasperatingly ready for that plain-sailing part of your journey to start. I want to be able to take you to a park on a sunny day without fear of hearing that wheeze. I want to take you to ballet without feeling guilty that the exercise is too much for your lungs to handle. I want to wake up on a rainy morning loving the possibility of spoldging in puddles – not feeling the dread that the humidity will change your temperament. 

The uncomfortably familiar surrounding of the hospital ward no longer sits well with me. Surely, it has to be time to move on! 

P.S I’m forever grateful for the care and attention Siena receives from UHND. The staff here are beyond miracle workers, keeping me sane one admittance at a time. Thank you for your hard work and support xx

Nobody Told Me


I remember announcing my pregnancies to people, I remember the smiles on their faces, the ‘you’ve no idea what you’re getting yourself into glares’. I remember the stories of joy…of horror…of happiness and sadness. I remember the lectures on what to do and what not to do…it seemed everyone I spoke to was keen to share words of wisdom, of experience.

But nobody told me the things I’m about to tell you!

Nobody told me that parenting was the hardest thing I’d ever do – physically, mentally and emotionally! That I’d have days so draining, I’d wish it all away…then hate myself immediately for feeling such a way. I wasn’t prepared for such a conflict of emotions,  for feeling so much love, guilt, stress, admiration, pride and anxiety…all within the same minute. I still don’t know how to handle this, how to manage my emotions when they become too powerful to distinguish apart. 

Nobody told me that I’d doubt myself in ways I never knew possible, that I’d be transformed from a confident, assured person to a dithering, uncertain mess within moments of entering Motherhood…that all the education, study, knowledge and intelligence would go straight out the window and I’d be left apprehensively second-guessing my every move! That I’d feel like a child again myself, needy for others to guide me, desperate for help and comfort but too shy to speak out to get it (like the quiet child at the back of the classroom, suffering in silence – too scared to admit they don’t know what they feel they already should). That I’d look at other mothers and feel envious of their natural sense of maternal instinct, that I’d spend countless moments wishing I knew only half of what they seemed to. 

Nobody told me that my heart would shatter a million times each day – through love, through worry, through pride and guilt. That seeing my child hurting could cause my own heart to rupture in so much pain that I’d feel it beating outside of my chest. That it would break over seemingly mundane moments like a kiss on the cheek or an unexpected cuddle. That the words ‘I love you’ even pronounced incorrectly could render me breathless. I wasn’t aware that my heart could ache for something so lovely, that the curve of an eyelash or the creamy colour of delicate skin could make my heart pound with so much emotion.


Nobody told me that I’d spend endless hours anxiously fretting over scenarios which may never (I pray never) happen. That I’d hear stories of loss, of tragedy, of cruelty and heartache and not only mourn for the families involved but for myself as though I was experiencing it too. That my sense of empathy would grow to be so dramatic, I’d be able to place myself in unwanted shoes and feel the extent of pain. That I’d cry over adverts, over fictional storylines, books and news – praying to never know for real…knowing that a life without my children would never feel worth living.

Nobody told me that I’d change so drastically – not through enforcement or circumstance but through want. That I’d want to be a better person, to change my priorities, to live for someone more than for myself. That I’d love in a way which inspired me to grow, to alter, to become more focused. That every aspect of life  would change, including my dreams and visions of the future. 

Nobody told me  of the gratitude and appreciation I would feel towards my own family. That I’d look at my Mother with a confound sense of understanding and astonishment – that I’d eventually feel the depth of her own love for me. That I’d ‘get’ all the worry and the warnings. That I’d want to show her more than ever how amazing I find her, for her strength and support, her love and encouragement.


Nobody ever told me that my children would grow too quickly. That I’d wish them to remain so little for just one more day but urge for them to grow with the same breath. Nobody told me that I’d look back at photos and panic at how rapidly time passes us by…that I’d feel saddened by the moments I missed absorbed in my tiredness, anxiety or guilt. That I’d wish I played more, cuddled more, laughed more. Nobody told me that I’d count down the final moment of each day, desperate for my children to sleep but also clinging to the memory of each bedtime story, savouring every kiss goodnight. 

Oh man, he’s on the ‘big’ swing!

Nobody told me just how much I’d LOVE being a Mother, that even in the hardest moments, I’d love so passionately and devotedly. That the tears, the struggles, the feelings of downright incompetency would be so intensely worth it. 

So intensely worth it!

Motherhood is beautifully manic, painfully brilliant… and I guess nobody told me because I’d never have understood until I felt it firsthand. 

The Trouble With Two Is…


To say I live my life in the fast lane would be an understatement; I’m never settled. In fact, the whole concept of settled makes me whince. There’s something about ‘settled’ which makes me feel uncomfortable – almost as though if I ever stopped, I’d probably never start again!

This ridiculous trait can be handy – always being on the go means I never have time to feel bored, to dwell or wallow. Even when my body is still, my mind makes up for the lack of physical action. 

I’m alright with this! I mean, it’s just the way I was wired…to work hard, to get stuff done. My Husband doesn’t share my love of the fast life. He wants to take things slow, spend time relaxing. It’s just as well really, he manages to bring me to a halt, calm me down when I’m at risk of taking off. He levels the pace, helps me deal with the collateral my flighty life can cause. 


My need to be speedy about things has become a running joke in our household. In one respect, I’m incredibly laid back (mainly about the things I should apply some urgency to) but I’m also manic, unable to sit still. Put it this way – I don’t waste time!

This was also apparent in the way I chose to have my children. Most couples still spend many a married year planning to have children, they prioritise saving, getting their affairs in order (this one I kind of did right!)When they’re blessed with their firstborn, they spend time as a unit. United by the love of their offspring.

Me? I dove straight into having another!

There’s awkwardly 9 months and 3 days between my Son and Daughter and I’m yet to tell anyone this without flooring them with disbelief. It appears to be rather socially unacceptable to have such a small age gap between the two – I mean, they were born within the same year. It’s an alien concept to most to have children so close together. As mentioned previously, most parents wish to savour time with their first.

I get that! In truth, having two so closely wasn’t how I planned to do things. It is, however, completely in-fitting with the way in which I run my life. That quick pace, inablitly to slow down! If I’d chosen how my life would pan out, I’d wish for at least two years between siblings – an acceptable timescale! That wasn’t how life was meant to be though, not my life! That would be too leisurely for my liking. 

Having two so close in age is testing! This currently seems so intensified as we have a Daughter in the midst of the ‘Terrible Twos’ and a Son sulking into the ‘Terrifying Threes’! Between tantrums and taunts, we have sulks and sobs…we have anger and aggression, frustration and fury. There are days I just can’t wait to be over, for my children to sleep so I can slop in a heap. 

On that note, we do little sleeping these days. We seem to have a system at the moment not too dissimilar to that loveable fairground game where you hit one frog with the hammer only for another to jump up. As we settle Tristan, Siena stirs…we settle Siena, Tristan returns! It’s like a battle to see who can sleep deprive us the most (my Son is currently winning).  It’s tiring and waring…and emotionally draining! 


Having two so close together means we’ve been through the stage where both children were unable to communicate their emotions effectively, where they were both unable to comprehend their feelings or deal with them in any sort of reasoned way. 

We had two to carry, to rock to sleep! 

At the time, I remember feeling so desperate for my children to grow, to reach a point where life seemed easier, less of a hassle. Right now, I look back and mourn the moments I didn’t grasp!

Having two so close together means I missed out on all that savouring with my first. Most of Tristan’s first year was spent suffering with horrific morning sickness which lasted until the day I gave birth prematurely to my Daughter at 31 weeks. The latter part of his first year was spent in hospitals visiting his sister, in strange beds sleeping not in the arms of his Mother. I missed out! 

That’s why I get it – wanting to take your time. There are moments I feel so incredibly sad for Tristan, as though I deprived him of the love and affection all nine month old children rightfully deserve. His time was divided, his attention and affection divided. 


Then, there are moments like this morning whilst I lay in bed watching my two children play so heartily with each other on our landing. Tristan took the lead, showing his younger sister what needed to be done. She was transfixed, happy to oblige…loving the bond the two clearly feel together. 

In plain, I wouldn’t change my life in an instant. The challenges and the tests are all just in their gameplan, the grand scheme will see brighter days for us as our two grow together…so beautifully. The tantrums and taunts, sobs and sulks all seem so worth it when I see how happy they can be together, how happy they will be once they learn to manage their emotions more maturely. 

So for now, I’ll overdose on strong coffee, sugary drinks and focus on getting through one terrible and terrifying day at a time…and let my manic approach to life lend many distractions. 

Can’t I Just Pee in Peace?


Let me just start by telling you everything you want to hear…everything Media has taught me I should be saying.

I love being a Mother! 

There – I’ve said it! And for the most, it’s true…so, if by change you doubt this come the end of this blog, please remember to return to this bit here where my positivity glares obviously and bluntly.

I do love being a Mother – nothing quite compares to the feeling of being in the presence of your children, feeling their love, their unconditional, unjudgemental, eternal love. 

But I can’t deny it any longer…man, it’s hard! 

Whilst my children were babies, I think I sufficiently managed to put my head down and plough through the tough parts (albeit done with a lot of crying on my behalf). I envisaged by the time they were they age they are now…I’d have some peace restored. Can you believe how incredibly naive and ignorant I was? 

It feels like I’ll never know peace again! 


Picture silence, long lie-ins on Sunday mornings, summer days relaxing in the garden…late nights, friends dates, dining out at 10pm because you were hungry (and obviously unrestricted by social ideologies of perfect bedtime routines)! 

I can’t remember the last time I even dared be out of the house after 6pm with children in tow, the aftermath of a broken, spontaneous jolt from routine has bitten us once too many times. Then there’s the judgemental glares of childfree onlookers to contend with! 

I recall one evening when our son was maybe 4 months old; we’d met with friends during the day but still being out at 6.30pm, we decided to head to the closest Indian Restaurant. Tristan was still at the stage of sleeping most of the day. He cared very little about where he guzzled his bottle or closed his eyes so taking him with us seemed natural and unproblematic – yet I remember leaving said restaurant an hour later enraged to the point where my hands itched. The couple sat beside us thought it was completely out of order having a young child out so late (7pm by this point) and felt the need to tell us so. Since then, I’ve dared very little to take my toddlers out passed their ‘apparent’ bedtime. 

This results in me being ‘housebound’ most evenings from 6pm. Although my Husband would undoubtedly grant me leave on social occasions, my role of Mother means most nights I just crack on and carry out my duties…no questions asked. Preparing tea, running baths, reading stories, locating lost dummies, scaring away imaginary wolves…have all become part of my own routine, part of my life. It seems like a long time ago I arrived home after work and decided to do something I actually wanted/enjoyed. 


To add insult to injury, I’ve been ‘Mother’ for so long now that I actually believe my own Husband has forgotten I’m real underneath it all! He seems to have the opinion that I stroll around on my days off doing things I WANT! That’s right pet, my idea of fun at 30 definitely entails crawling through miniature tunnels, playing on swings, jumping in puddles and rolling down hills. Yep, in my time off, I’d apparently choose soft play, toddler groups, playparks and farms. He’s obviously forgotten my love of shopping, sipping champagne in the sun and trips to the cinema (not to watch Peppa Pig). 


I remember a time when I once enjoyed my own company! I mean, who else looks after you quite like YOU? Reading a book, just sitting in silence contemplating the world, making plans…I could do it forever! These days, I rarely get to pee in peace! From morning until noon…I have either one or two little humans attached to my side. Even when they’re sleeping, the dog seems to take their place, squeezing in his ‘Mam’ time undisturbed by mini terrors! 

Don’t get me wrong – I want to reiterate what I said to begin, I love being a Mother…but for crying out loud, can’t I just at least pee in peace? 

You’ll Never Want For Love


Before entering the realm of Motherhood, I truly never understood just how strongly I could feel about someone else. I’d always considered myself to be empathetic and emotionally astute but even then, I could also be so emotionally detached. As far as Motherhood went, I’ve kept no secrets that it wasn’t something I was looking forward to.

It always felt so hard to relate to those who swore I’d feel differently once you and your Sister arrived. Babies made me uncomfortable, nervous and a little scared. Even around your cousins and friends, I couldn’t relax in the company of infants. I didn’t know how to hold them – how to comfort them or reassure them. I assumed, in plain, that this wouldn’t change once I had my own treasures to care for. 
It’s true though – what they say – you are always different with your own. Yes, it took me a few weeks to settle into the role of Mother but once I had, I knew it was my calling. 

Both you and your Sister arrived into our lives like tornados! You came in screaming, threatening to disturb the peace, life-changing and altering all in an instant. You changed me eternally, made me so scared to envisage a life then without you…taught me true pain, true heart ache, true love. You showed me the flaws of my soul, showed me a way to want to be better! 

Your Sister arrived even more turbulently, traumatic and harrowing, she taught us all that tragedy is real – that our lives aren’t protected, shouldn’t be taken for granted. Even though her story ends positively, her entrance made us all aware of just how precious life can be. She confirmed what you’d already taught me – that no one else matters, no one else is just as important as you two. 


That’s why – you’ll never want for love!

Life has been challenging recently, more challenging than I’m ready to admit aloud. Your Sister’s poor immune system seems to have darkened our spirits, left us all feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s made me question my parenting, evaluate how I can ensure you’re both safe from harm’s way.

It has matured you massively. It saddens me so much that at the age of three, you’re already so aware of the signs to look out for. You’re anxious and cautious, protective and caring. So caring! At the age of three, your imaginative play consists of administering your Sister her inhaler and medicine. You tell me to check on her, that she’s coughing and poorly. You worry so much;  I worry that your heart is burdened by things you shouldn’t even be aware of. 

The past few hospital visits have hit you harder than we all could have imagined. I sense it still plays on your mind, still lingers in your thoughts. 

Suddenly, you’re nervous about me leaving. 

38 months we managed without you being needy. 38 months we survived without attachment issues…and yet here they are! 

You were only nine months when Siena entered so poorly. The five weeks we spent in hospital should be a distant memory by now but they aren’t. Moments of recent have taught us just how much they affected you. Last time Siena was in hospital, you cried for me for nearly three weeks after we returned. Even when I was there – even with my arms around you!


I remember distinctly a moment not long after we came home. I’d ran downstairs quickly to answer the door, leaving you and your Sister on the 1st floor. When I returned, moments later, your cries were so violent you’d nearly vomited. When I asked why you were crying, you told me “I’m crying for Mammy”. 

One sentence, one small simple sentence broke my heart in an instant. Baby, you never have to cry for me. 

Sibling rivalry was also something we manage to go unscathed by…although, undoubtedly, we’ve seen small glimpses of it…this wasn’t something that has ever truly affected us. Yet, it’s something that seems to be play a huge part in every day. You’ve become jealous of your Sister, resentful of the extra time and care she needs. I can understand it, it mustn’t seem fair that she gets to be carried for most of the day. I see it in your eyes (you’ve told me honestly, aloud), you want me just as much as she needs me. 

It’s hard for you – having a sister with Cerebral Palsy affects you in ways I don’t think I’m even sure of. At most, we don’t give you credit for just how amazing you are! We expect so much understanding from you, expect you to help us when all you want is to be three…and free as all children your age are. 


I wish I could magically change things for you. I wish I didn’t need to care for your Sister additionally. You know she needs extra support, for the main, you’re brilliant and understanding but I can see how it pains you – I can see why you feel the need to act out.

I can’t promise you the world. I can’t promise that I can protect you from heartache, from failure or hardships (although I swear to do my best to prevent them). I can’t promise your future will be easy, that you’ll get everything you ever need or want…but I can promise that you’ll never want for love. 

What Motherhood taught me was that selflessly, my life is no longer my own. For now…it belongs to you and your Sister! Whilst you’re both so young and so needy, I’m yours as you need me! To cuddle, to protect, to make you feel better…to be tough when I need to be! For every fall, for every scrape or scratch – my lips are for kissing you both better…my arms are for wrapping you up and making you feel the extent of my love.

And of course, I promise that I’m never leaving so please don’t ever cry for me – I’m doing my best to make you feel that you’ll never want for my love, attention or affection.

It’s already all for you and your Sister!