"You're My Mummy"

I just wanted to get this down, because, it's a memory that counts.

I was tucking Bill up in bed on Sunday night, Bill. It was warm, and it was late. We'd been to visit Mark's family in Preston. And we'd gotten back way past bedtime. I'd tucked Bill up in bed in a rush, because, well, it was late, I was panicked, I had things to do and I really wanted an early night.

So I gave him a quick kiss and a cuddle and I closed the door. And I did the usual thing of dashing around before bedtime, preparing for the week ahead.

Eventually, I climbed the stairs and stood, facing his door. A white door, in need of repainting, with a little Peter Rabbit plaque that spelled out: "William's Room."

It hadn't been long. But I always check him again before I go to bed, to make sure my world hadn't been snatched from me as he slept, and even though 15 minutes had passed quickly, I couldn't resist a peek.

I opened the squeaky door, and I peered round, expecting to see a rosy-cheeked little boy with a flushed complexion and a sweaty brow. And instead, I saw this little boy, one arm around his teddy, clutching his covers, nightlight on, and he just beamed.

"Oh hi Mama! Mama? Can I have a hug?"

I walked over and grinned. I could tell that he was so very pleased to see me. He smiled his biggest smile and his eyes seemed to smile at me too - they just lit-up. He pulled me towards him, arms tight around my neck and he said, simply:

"I missed you Mama."

And I pulled back and kissed your nose. And I replied: "But I'm right here baby boy."

"But I missed you."

"I missed you too baby."

"I missed you Mama. And I love you."

"I love you too."

And then, quietly, he looked up at me, eyes shining, full of love, the look of love that you don't get from anyone else.

"You're my mummy."

And I pulled him into a tight hug, as my eyes welled-up, and my throat grew a lump that made it hard for me to do anything but breathe in deep breaths.

My little boy has always called me Mama. From the very first instance, trying to sound out the letter 'M' in his mouth, trying to form a word. A word that became my name.

He knows my name is Charlotte. But I am known as Mama.

And while that's a name any woman would be proud of, it was nice to hear him say 'Mummy'. I am a mother who feels like she has to wait in line to play the role she wants to play sometimes.

I share my place as an important woman in Bill's life with my own mother, and a person I have only met once.

I feel like there is a lot I want to do for him. I want him to know how much he is loved. But by me. I love him more than I could ever get across through words, and words are a familiar territory for me.

I don't think I get things right. I try. I really do. But I can't seem to do everything all the time. I don't want to mow my overgrown lawn and be house proud, because I'd rather be with my son and talk to him. Sometimes I forget his nursery bag, but it's only because I have been concentrating too hard on the brief moment I get with him,, talking to him, and being patient, before I drop him off in someone else's care.

It's a challenge sometimes. To be this way. At least it is for me. It's not about a grass-is-greener approach, or that I'd feel differently if I had to stay at home with him each day. It's a 'me' approach. It's a personal battle all my own.

So in that moment, when he told me who I was, I realised that I don't quite have to justify myself. I am his mummy.

It was all that certification I needed.


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FAMILY MEAL PLAN #12

So, I’m back with another food shop and a bit of a challenge today actually. I do these posts and these weekly food shops every week, and I can end up spending in the region of £80 sometimes, although that will include things like toiletries and things that we need to stock-up on - like toilet roll and bleach!

AO.com challenged me to keep the budget for food down to £40, and not waste it, so my shop was much cheaper this time around and we still have food to spare.

You can see everything we got in the video, as normal, and I’ve popped a meal plan below too.

Grocery Haul 

Meal Plan


Breakfast was, as usual, either cereal, toast or cereal bars if at work.

Lunches included leftovers, sandwiches (made with lovely, fluffy tiger bread) and salads.

Our main meal of the day included:


The biggest difference I noticed was planning and really going through my cupboards. We have so many ingredients to make up meals and didn’t need much to help us to keep going.

I also find cooking in bulk to be really useful, especially as a busy parent, but also to avoid waste and to make food go further.

I also really appreciate staples, such as strong cheddar (the stronger the better, as you need less for flavour then), tinned tomatoes, pulses, and even things like bacon and chorizo that add flavour and go a long way. I also appreciated my big cupboard of herbs and spices too.

I was also surprised at how little meat we really need. I like to get more protein in, but it’s very expensive and heavy on our tummies. So Quorn nuggets will always be a staple for us - they are so good. And lower in calories too.

How much do you spend a week on food?

*PR Collaboration.
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Venice Bucket List


It feels strange to write this post. I was, admittedly, extremely excited about our trip to Venice this week. It's been such a short countdown, that all I've been is giddy.

But, now, it's quite a strange feeling to know I'm going away.

After what has happened in Tunisia, I am being honest when I say that I feel a little differently. It feels wrong to be excited for holiday, when there are people that never got to come home. And I do feel anxious - I am incredibly anxious about many things these days and things like this tend to affect me. I don't want to go on about how excited I am to go away, because I am a little hesitant now, and nervous, and it feels disrespectful.

But I know that you can't live your life that way. Panicking and worrying. And I know that, if there's anything I can learn from what happened, is that you have to live your life to the full and make the most of every moment.

I was keeping a small Venice Bucket List in my head. I was adding to it, bit-by-bit, just when the moment struck me, or someone recommended something to me.

So, in the spirit of celebrating life, culture, and gelato, this is what I would like to do:


  • Have a stress-free flight. I'd like to read a magazine or ten. Listen to music. Chat to Mark about something and just enjoy the feel of a plane journey. I can't actually remember a plane without a Bill.
  • Not rush. Don't panic about whether we have a drink, or a snack, or a time to be back for. Abandon watches and iPhone clocks, and just follow my instincts (or my belly).
  • Walk around with a small bag - containing only a camera (possibly two), sun cream, my phone, money, passport, and maybe a lip balm. 
  • Rest and sleep aplenty. But not all of the time - because I could do that at home.
  • Have a real Italian coffee every morning, maybe more than one. Flat whites. Or whatever they best recommend. And savour it. And take a photo of it. Obviously.
  • Taste a proper ragu. And commit flavours and possible ingredients to memory.
  • Find the crispiest, simplest pizza and devour it. 
  • Make sure Mark gets to go crazy with seafood - living with me, means it's a rarity.
  • Listen to locals speak their tongue and just enjoy the sounds, even when I don't know what they mean.
  • Go off the main streets and try and not be too much of a tourist.
  • But that said, ride a Gondola.
  • And visit St Mark's Square and people-watch. 
  • Walk around Basilica de San Marco and take as many pictures as I can.
  • And check out the Rialto Bridge, Doge's Palace, the Grand Canal and Dorsoduro.
  • Hold Mark's hand. Always if possible. Unless it's really hot and it's a bit sweaty.
  • Try as many flavours of gelato as I possibly can and forget about my diet for a few days.
  • Resist singing That's Amore when drunk - but not really (maybe just do this quietly).
  • Consider doing our own version of the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene.
  • Read a book, sat somewhere comfortable.
  • Have a limoncello after most meals, because it's the rules (kind of).
  • Look out at the sea a lot. 
  • Watch the scenes unfold from my window every morning, with a cup of coffee, and bed-head.
  • Take too many photographs.
  • Enjoy a beach, even though that makes me nervous. 
  • Find somewhere to dance. Perhaps.
  • Talk to Mark. About everything. And try and make him laugh.
  • Try and get one nice photograph of me, so I can remember how happy I was. 
  • Be grateful for every second.
  • Get home to Bill. 
But before all of that. I desperately need to pack (at least something) and pack in a lot of mama time too. 

I'm having my nails done tonight - which excites me a lot - as I've only ever had them done twice. And I hope a day of working in the sunshine (we have a balcony at work) means I'll be a little bit tanned too. 

I just need to get rid of this wonderful summer cold that I'm being tortured with, and try and feel a little bit braver about going.

And please - if you have any suggestions for things I need to do, taste (definitely taste), or see, let me know! 

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Beachy Hair & Giveaway

I dyed my hair last week. I went 'Bronde' (a video about it will go up on my YouTube channel tomorrow), which is the new term for 90's highlights. I've kept my ombré, but added some warmer highlights too, as I just wanted to do something different. Make myself feel more confident.

Anyway, I've teamed up with John Frieda to not only give you some tips for beachy hair, given the fact that it's finally summertime, but also a little giveaway at the end to help you achieve the beachy look too.

So what are the tips?


Leave it in: Whatever your hair colour, it’s important to take good care of it whilst you’re away. Applying a deep conditioner to wet hair before heading out will help to nurture your hair. The sun’s heat opens the cuticles allowing the treatment to penetrate more effectively.

Mask it up: All of us don’t like to admit it but there is a time on holiday where it is essential to put our feet up, do some self-grooming and go to bed early. One particular item which needs to be in your girls’ staying-in kit should be an intensive hair masque treatment. Use these at least once or twice during your week away, leaving it in for as long as possible. Try sleeping with your hair wrapped in a towel or applying the mask in a steam room. This heat again helps the treatment penetrate deeper into the roots.

Accessorise your hair: Protecting your hair from the sun can be as simple as wearing a head scarf or summer hat. This will provide full UV protection and help to lock in the moisture. The scalp also regulates your hair’s natural oils which cannot be replaced by hair products, so it is essential to do this a couple of times during the week.

Step away from the hairdryer: Give your locks a break from the hairdryer and take advantage of the natural heat from a hot summer’s day. Let your hair dry naturally dry with some curlers and crack open a bottle of wine. If you are choosing to do this, it’s a great idea to use serums to help stop frizzy hair occurring and looking like Monica Geller in humidity. Apply the serum while your hair is wet, distributing it evenly throughout the hair and allowing it to be fully absorbed.

Change up your look: Messy braids, loosely tied ponytails or any gentle up-do will give your hair a break from its usual high and tight style that can often cause headaches whilst further protecting it from the strong UV-rays. When your hair is feeling frizzy and a bit dry, a tight ponytail can cause unwanted damage. With summer hair styles, there is no right or wrong! Summer embraces all things natural so relax, enjoy the heat and ensure your hair is taken care of.

Enter the giveaway

You could win:

1 x Forever Smooth Shampoo
1 x Forever Smooth Conditioner
1 x Dream Curls Enhancing Oil

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Family Friendly Cars


Now we’re on the route to considering a second baby, it’s all about the things we might need. And I have such an amazing wish list in my head – the buggy, some Aiden & Anais muslins, baby clothes from Zara, a cute nursery set.

But above all that, two things you really do need upfront are a room, or the space for a baby to sleep (which is why we’re having a nursery built in September) and a good family car if you’re getting out and about.

We actually have a Ford Focus, which is a lovely second-hand car that we bought last year. I remember that it was very early days with me and Mark and he was quite open about finding a family-friendly car for our future. And I’m kind of glad he did. It will be nice to look behind me and see two car seats in the future.

If you’re looking for a new car or second hand, here are some tips for finding a family friendly one.

Is it spacious enough?
Space is one thing you have to consider when buying a car for your family. Kids need so much stuff. It’s not just space for car seats, but is there enough room for your buggy, and groceries, and all the other things you might need?

Think about the car seat
While space is an important factor when it comes to choosing a car, safety is probably the most important. For families with little ones, a back seat that has enough room for a child’s car seat will go a long way when it comes to safety. Same goes for the front passenger seat when you have to install a rear-facing child seat for your baby. In this instance, you have make sure that the passenger airbag can be turned off.

Consider the amenities
Driving around with your family can be excruciating if you’re all uncomfortable. So choosing a car that provides comfort for both the driver and the passenger works wonders. Pick cars with adjustable seats, so you can adjust the leg room – this is key for me, as I hate being cramped. You can even consider choosing a car that has an entertainment system for children who get impatient during long rides – though an iPad works just as well. Storage and cup holders are things you don’t always think about but make a huge difference too.

Shop around
All in all, you just have to look around to see what fits you and your family’s lifestyle. There are a lot of deals that you can look for, and it always helps to compare and contrast. Read car reviews, and keep in mind that these reviews should be reliable, but you need to make sure it all adds up in person too – that’s why we always take my dad along!



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We're Going to Venice


Source - I'll replace this with a photo of my own soon enough!

I'm bubbling over with excitement as I write this. It's 21:51. And the sun is setting and dusk has fallen and the glare of my screen is getting brighter, as the room around me gets darker. Really - I should go to bed soon as I'm so tired after a busy start to the week (I've been giving training at a university no less!), but all I can think about is next week.

By default, I am a very careful person. I am not overly spontaneous by nurture, though, by nature, I'm as wild as they come. And when I say that, it's not that my parents taught me to be cautious, it's actually life that has made me this way.

I don't enjoy change. I try and play by the rules as it's safe for me. And I live a very sensible life. As I've gotten older, particularly as I've become a mother, I have grown to be more and more cautious. I weigh every decision (even pizza vs. pasta) in my head, and it takes me a long time to decide things. I want things to be right. I don't want to make mistakes or let my son down.

But in doing that, I say no an awful lot.

Which is so sad. As I'm such a dreamer at heart. My heart has these wild fantasies. And I'm constantly wondering if I'll ever get to unfurl my wings and fly somewhere. But as it is, this bird only flies the nest to provide for her baby. She chose this path and doesn't regret it for a second - but that doesn't change her feelings of wanderlust. 

Mark is a wonderful person for many reasons. Not least because he selflessly gives his all to Bill. And because he's the best friend I have ever had. But he reminds me a little of Aladdin, in the scene where he's willing Jasmine to come with him and says: "Do you trust me?"

Like Jasmine, I tentatively nod and say yes and then he tells me to jump.

And taking chances with this person by my side is like having a hand to hold, always. Like having someone take the first steps on a rickety bridge to make sure it's safe.

For a while now, Mark has asked me: "Let's go away. The next time Bill is with his dad for a long weekend, let's go away. Just you and me."

And I've put it off.

First it was money.

Then my passport - which renewed in just five days.

Then it was Bill.

I felt selfish. We're going away in September as a family and he wouldn't be here anyway. But something about seeing a new part of the world without my son felt bad.

But Mark and I started our story with an 18 month-old. Our first holiday away was with a 27 month-old (the height of the Terrible Twos) who was probably at his most difficult at the time. We dealt with new tantrums and new tricks, all with a sunny backdrop.

We've stolen kisses at nighttime. We got to know each other over chicken nuggets and Curious George. And instead of holding hands, as we walked down the street, we'd each have a hand of a toddler, shouting as we swung him in the air: "One, two, three, weeeee!"

But we're a very strong family. Genetically, we might be separate. But in heart we're so fiercely bonded.

But we haven't flown on a plane together, just us two. And got giddy in the airport lounge, sniffing perfumes in Duty Free and having alcohol far too early in the day. We haven't had that peace of reading a book on a plane, and carrying one bag, and not three bags and a buggy, and making sure we haven't lost a toddler or a teddybear in the process. We haven't just left our hotel room, somewhere new, with barely anything but cameras and cash, and just walked. No need to assess the route for buggy-friendly access. Or wonder if that restaurant would cater to children. We haven't stayed up late and danced. Drank cocktails. Or flirted with each other and kissed like newlyweds.

We've been so blessed to share our world with this wonderful little boy.

And we're so close to giving that little boy a sibling.

And suddenly it felt like Last Chance Saloon.

One shot. While my stomach maintains some dignity. And my dark circles are my own fault, not that of a newborn's. A chance for some 'we' time. Guilt-free time.

And so, next week we fly to Venice. Just four days, three really, if you consider travel.

Italy.

The ultimate place on my long-hidden bucket list.

Gelato. Italian coffee. Prosecco. Sunshine. Gondolas. Culture. Sights. People. Beauty. Proper pizza. Hand-holding. Kisses. Lie-ins. Chats. My goodness, let's go all-out - romance, a window of freedom, a chance to be us, refresh, press our foreheads together and say yes, let's do this, the rest of our lives. You and me.

And we'll come back, with memories, certainty, and a desperation to see the little boy who brought us together.

Venice, I'm so ready for you.

Please keep the nice weather forecast.
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FAMILY MEAL PLAN #11

I am trying to get back into my meal plans, because they do save us pennies and it's easier for me when I get home from work as I don't have to magic something up - I know exactly what we're having.

We've had some really busy weeks recently, and food has been a little here and there and spontaneous, which is great when it involves 3rd birthday cake, but not so great when you're stressed after work and staring at your fridge and willing for it to give you the answers to tonight's menu.

So, we did a big shop online at Tesco, which was delivered on Sunday, and then we also did a small shop the day before (as we didn't have anything in for tea and I wanted naughty things like sweets...).

Anyway!

Meal plan:

  • Saturday - Homemade Shepherd's Pie with a Thyme, Cheddar and Breadcrumb topping.
  • Sunday - Roast Beef and the trimmings (Father's Day).
  • Monday - Leftover Roast Beef Sandwiches - served on tiger bread with horseradish, rocket, balsamic and red onion.
  • Tuesday - Sausage Cassoulet - with chopped tomatoes, cannelleni beans, red wine, garlic, herbs and smoked bacon.
  • Wednesday - Big Mac in a Bowl.
  • Thursday - Slow Cooker Pulled Pork in a Thai peanut sauce on homemade flatbreads.
  • Friday - Homemade Beef Massaman Curry with rice.
I also have some leftover roast beef in gravy in the freezer, with some frozen bubble and squeak, and an extra shepherd's pie that I froze too! Should I feel lazy at the weekend!

Watch the food shops:



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The Weekend Post #24


This weekend started off with so much promise. 

Mark and I, in the spirit of a rare Bill-free Friday, decided to make the most of it and go to our favourite Thai restaurant in our little village. I just wanted to be home. I didn't want Manchester. I didn't want to go out exploring, or visit somewhere new, I was happy at home.

We had a really lovely night and had a proper conversation about trying for a baby, rather than a loose mention of 'the future'. Things are good. He's my best friend. And I just feel so safe with him.

Plus, I had the best Tom Kah Gai and Beef Massaman going. Plus - the ice cream was incredible. A scoop of coconut, a scoop of rum and raisin and a scoop of banana. I couldn't finish it all. But goodness.

We curled up afterwards and watched Love Island, with Prosecco (trend) and it was a really nice night.


I feel like I woke up with the sunshine on Saturday, but I know it was due to excitement. Bill was due back and I couldn't rest. So I crept downstairs and did a little work and put a load of washing on with a cup of coffee. 

A familiar car pulled up outside and my heart felt like my heart was going to leap through my chest.

So he was home. And we were all awake. And for a little while it was just simple family life.


I dyed my hair recently - you may have seen on Instagram - and I chose this little kit. I was so nervous as I love my ombré hair, but I really fancied a change. I kept the gradient, but I now have a few golden highlights too. I'm still getting to grips with it, but I think I like it.


And my passport arrived in the post. Which was great news and bad news. Great because I can't believe it only took five days. And great because now I'm completely ready for holiday in September. But bad because I was expect a fair few items in the post that never arrived.

I mentioned in my latest post, but I had these amazing Father's Day gifts picked out for my dad and Mark. But I didn't notice that they had defaulted to my old address for delivery. I emailed the sellers and I visited my old house and left a note, but no one called me back. Which broke my heart and my faith in people a little bit. 

I felt so blue. And even though I know that my appreciation for my family is longstanding, I really wanted to let them know I really knew them and I was really grateful for them.


I was marginally cheered up by these tiny newborn clothes. I'm partnering up with M&S at the moment and my goodness are these gorgeous. They'll be part of a new baby gift idea (coming soon), but realistically, one day, we'll have a baby tucked up inside them. And that makes my heart very happy.


Shepherd's Pie - the secret is a little dried mint and red wine. And a breadcrumb, cheddar and time crust on top of the mash. 


I haven't had a lager and lime in a long time. It was really good! 


I was hopeful that Father's Day was going to be a lovely day regardless of gifts. But Bill woke with a fever on Saturday night and we ended up on the phone to NHS Direct. He was so warm and his heart was racing. An out-of-hours GP kept in the loop with us and we managed to lower his temparature eventually. We didn't sleep until about half-past two in the morning. And I was so tired, but so grateful he was okay.

Mark was amazing and stayed up later, watching the boxing, so he could check on Bill again. I slept fitfully, until we woke around nine o'clock, a cat at the foot of the bed and a little boy who, while warm, seemed much better.


But for the rest of the day? We were tired.



I don't know how but I managed two more wash loads, hung out on the line. I cleaned and tidied. I made a roast beef dinner, with as many trimmings as I could manage. I spent time with my little guy. And managed to give my dad a big hug.

It wasn't exactly the stuff of memories. But it reminded me of what actually matters. My carpet has bits all over it. I need to wipe a week's worth of dust from surfaces. I have clothes to put away and I only found time to shower at 7:00pm.





Bill's in bed now. A little earlier than usual. Mark is laughing at a comedian I don't recognise. And I'm sat in my dressing gown, clean, covered in fake tan (I felt like I needed a boost to get me through Monday with confidence) and I am willing my fingers to type faster so I can just rest. There's a bottle of red on the mantlepiece, with a sparkling wine glass. I can't wait to pour it. Turn everything off. And just rest.


It wasn't the weekend I hoped it would be. I'm tired. I'm anxious about the week ahead - Monday and Tuesday is particularly busy and I could do with a day of sleep. 

But you know something?

I'm lucky. 

Parenthood is so challenging. Sometimes I feel like I'm running a constant race of hurdles, just so I can get to the finish line and claim I'm still me. And I am. I absolutely am. But things come before me always.

Because I love them far too much to ever put myself first.

Watch the vlog:

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For Po & Mark

I am so tired right now that I'm not 100% sure that I can write properly, but I want to try because if I can't give the gifts I'd planned on, I can least give my words.

Earlier this week, I spent a lunchtime buying the perfect gifts for two men in my life. Two men in Bill's life. My lovely dad, Bill's 'Po'. And Mark, the man who chooses to play a father figure role to my son.

I ordered the most perfect gifts. They really were spot on. And I took a lot of care on the personalisation - right down to the cards. I placed my order quickly, as my lunchtime drew to a close, and knew they would be here by Friday.

But Friday came, and I arrived home and there were no parcels. So I used my head and reckoned that maybe Father's Day was a busy time for post. So I waited until Saturday morning. But my postman only dropped off one parcel - a lovely red pair of braces for Bill - and I realised that there was nothing more.

I went online immediately. Cold-sweat. Panicking. Trying not to let it show in front of Mark or Bill. And I logged-in and found that, because, as always, I was cramming my time in, I hadn't checked properly. My billing address was this house. But the delivery address the one I lived in two years ago.

I cried. I was gutted.

I left a note at my old address, they weren't in when I rang the familiar bell. I gave my number. I begged them to call. And they did not.

I have nothing to give these men today, on behalf of myself, and on behalf of my little boy.

My dad does everything for me. He's so effortlessly loving and he's done nothing but work for us. He doesn't ask anything of me, my brother, anyone. He works hard and constantly. He doesn't just bring back bread and butter to his table, but he brings a warmth that makes you feel like you are constantly basking in the heat of the sun. This is the man who sends me emails with things he thinks I'd like - restaurant deals, or the latest shows. This is the man I've sung on stage with, side-by-side. This is the man that takes an interest in Preston North End, because it means something to Mark, even though my dad has only ever supported Manchester United and, from occasional loyalty, Barnsley. This is the man whose face lights up like a Christmas tree when he sees my son.

And Mark. He gave up a simpler life to come and live with me and my son. He's a man that my little boy looks up to. He fights away monsters. And carries Bill high on his shoulders so he can see the world from a man's point of view. He doesn't just give his overwhelming love. He works hard every day to buy the things that Bill needs. He goes for a walk on his lunch break and comes back with a small toy that he noticed because he knew Bill would like it. He is patient. He is kind. He is unafraid to tell Bill when he's wrong, but not only that, he is confident enough to teach him what is right. The future of my son is a priority for Mark. He cares so wholeheartedly. And yet he does all of this, every, single day of the week and he doesn't ask for the title. He respects that he didn't create Bill, but he doesn't realise how much his love is making Bill become the little boy that he is.

I often used to wonder how men felt about their children. I wondered what it must be like to have a child but not feel those kicks. Or early wiggles. To see their stomachs stretch and to feel like they knew that little baby before they were born.

And then I realised that, actually, as much as parenthood is about the creation - the moment two halves make a whole - it's actually what you do after that, that counts.

Whether you are man or woman. However you raise that child. However your family is formulated.

The love you give is the most important.

What use is planting a seed, unless you are willing to water it and tend to it, shelter it, and show it the sun, and let it grow?

My son is lucky to have a wealth of male figures in his life. Not forgetting his biological father. Who I give full credit to for being someone who could have easily walked away and has not. But it is not my job to sing his praises, in the same way he would not sing mine on Mother's Day. And that's okay.

Last night, Mark went in to check on Bill. He always does. If I can't find him upstairs, I know he'll be perched, every so gently, on the side of Bill's bed, stroking his sweaty hair back from his face.

Last night, Bill was wide awake. Such a rare thing. It gave Mark a jolt and he came in to let me know. He was awake and he was hot.

I rushed in and felt the heat rage from my son's body and I stripped him down, administered Calpol and I sat with him until he said he'd like to sleep.

I've had insomnia all week. So unusual and so hard. I've been so tired and yet the sleep won't come and I just don't know why. But part of me feels like it was to make sure I'd be restless last night.

I still couldn't sleep and so I decided to check on Bill again. And there he was, wide awake and still hot to the touch. I brought him into Mark who woke up so quickly and settled Bill next to him while I called NHS Direct, and waited for a call-back from a local out-of-hours doctor.

He was so warm. His heart was racing. And he was in good spirits but babbling and jittery. And we were scared.

Eventually, at two in the morning, his fever calmed down. And I watched my tired man tickle and play with this wide-awake little boy. I saw his big hands around Bill's little frame. I heard the noises erupting form Bill's belly - the big belly laughs and musical giggles. And I saw how much my son loved him. And I truly felt how much Mark loved him back. And his relief was an after-sting that came with it.

And I welled-up.

Eventually, I settled Bill in his bed, and Mark, who was too alert, went down to watch the boxing in the early morning, so he'd be able to check on Bill and give me some rest.

So now, it is 10:10am. I am in my pyjamas. My son is completely naked - the temperature is still there - and curled up beside me. He's watching the iPad as he says that is "all I want to do Mama."

My carpet has bits on the floor. There's a Tesco order due soon. I planned on a roast beef dinner for Mark.

And I will use every bit of my energy to make it for him.

My dad is coming to me. He doesn't want his grandson to be dragged around.

And we have nothing to give. I have a tired smile and a heavy hug.

And a toasty little boy.

But my arms are otherwise empty.

So, Dad, Mark, this is what I do have.

I love you both so much.

Thank you.

Our lives are better, because of you.




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