Blog Motherhood

A Letter for You, Mum

Dear Mum,

I wanted to write this letter to you today because this is a big day for us all, I think.

I remember when I first told you I was pregnant. I was 23 years-old, and I felt about 15 in that moment. I was so desperate for your approval and so desperate to tell you because, in truth, I needed my mum.

You and Dad had gone away to celebrate your anniversary. And I didn’t want to tell you and take it away from your special time. So I remember gulping it all back and waiting until you got home.

I was terrified. I’m sure you’ll remember. Not because of your reaction. But because I was 23 years-old. And I hadn’t planned to become a mother so soon. I was worried because my heart was already in love with this baby, but I didn’t know what to do. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford to be a mother. I was worried I’d lose my house. I was worried that I wasn’t married. That maybe I might have let you down.

In the end, I exploded at you and dad, in tears. And I’ll never forget what you said to me:

“Charlotte Louise Taylor. That is no way to tell me I’m going to be a grandmother.”

And suddenly, it all felt like it was going to be okay.

You had left your job recently. In a school. You weren’t very happy there sometimes. And Dad was so supportive of you. We all were. It wasn’t nice to see you unhappy. So you were doing some shifts at Waitrose, just to do something with your time and keep earning a little bit. I was happy for you, and it was always funny to nip in and see my little mum in her uniform. But that said, I always wanted you to leave with me too.

When you offered to look after my baby while I went back to work. I felt such sheer relief that I was staggered by it. It was almost like my body physically sagged with the relief of staying poker-straight with fear and worry for so long.

I’d been doing spreadsheets for weeks. Trying to work out what I could afford. And it was nothing.

We were in the middle of renovating a house at the time. I was the breadwinner. And while my heart thought it was so simple to have a baby, the fact was that I would risk losing everything I had worked for if I did. That sounds like such a material thing to say, but even before I became a mother, I knew that love wasn’t enough. I knew my baby needed a home, and clothes, and basic essentials. And without working, there was no way I could give them to him.

In the end, I could afford ten weeks off. And at the time it felt like years. It was all I had and I was grateful for it.

You were there for me when the first scan showed a heartbeat.

You were there for me when I found out that my baby was a boy, my William.

You were there when I worried he might have what I had. When genetic counselling made my head hurt. And when I felt overwhelmed.

But you were there for me when he got the all-clear.

You were even there the day he arrived. With his little ear bent over from being in the birth canal. Little Spock.

I was able to have my time with him. I was able to lie in bed, just gazing at him while the world slept. I was able to learn who he was. Watch him grow from a wrinkled newer-than-newborn, to more of a baby.

Those eight weeks were some of the best of my life. And they went by far too quickly. I remember crying when my last week drew to a close. And I didn’t know what I’d do. I didn’t want to go back. I felt hurt. I felt guilty. I felt very lost. And very, very sad.

And the only saving grace was that he had you. The only way I could have coped was knowing that my eight week-old son was going to be with you.

The first day back saw me sobbing in the back of a colleague’s car. Holding Eve’s hand. Trying to stop crying before I arrived at the office. Nothing felt strange or alien to me. That was the worst part. It had flown that quickly that my desk was still my desk and I hadn’t forgotten anything.

Meanwhile, I’d keep an eye on my phone for photos and updates from you. And I still keep at eye on my phone for those today.

You even wrote me a scrapbook of all of his first months. I keep it in a drawer, along with first shoes, and the little reports from nursery, when he first started going so we could make sure he met other little babies and make friends.

I’m going to give it to you today, so you can look back at what you did and how much it meant to me at the time. Those aren’t just memories for me. But they are your memories too.

It’s been over three years. The 6th August 2012. That was the day I went back.

I could never manage to work it out, but sometimes I wonder if you had more time with him than I did. Sometimes it baffles me that he manages to love me in the way that he does. When I could never do the things you did for him.

I’ve only ever done one swimming lesson. I’ve only taken him to nursery and picked him up three times. I’ve never gone to a baby group. Though you didn’t think I’d like them too much as no one really spoke to you. And it made me wish that there were granny groups so you didn’t feel left-out.

When he was poorly, you’d urge me to go to work: “He’ll be fine.” And I’d only ever feel guilty. And when you were poorly, you’d urge me to go to work: “I’ll be fine.” And I’d only ever feel guilty.

A lot of people tell me how lucky I am to have you. I don’t need to be told. I know that, without you, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I don’t know where I’d be exactly. But it wouldn’t be here.
But I also want to say that, actually, as much as this is a very lucky scenario. I know it hasn’t been easy.

Somewhere along the way, you stopped just being my mum. And we evolved into something different. More. But sometimes I felt like I saw you every day, but never properly. I felt bad that our time existed in handovers, and little boy updates. That you had to bend for me. Be there to catch me. Watch me go through a split. And then bend all over again for the person that you least wanted to be around. A person you owed nothing, but I owed something, because he was the father of my son.

And how could I repay that? Money has never crossed hands. And I don’t think words or actions will ever be enough.

And today, I feel bad. Because I know that today you will be sad. I know that you’re thinking that you might lose the bond you have with my little boy. That your heart might break. And I can understand that. Because I’ve felt that way for most of his life.

It’s almost like we’re on a seesaw and for me to come up, you have to go down. And I don’t want that.

I want to say thank you. Thank you for looking after him while I worked for him. Thank you for supporting me. And for putting him first. Thank you for telling me, all those years ago, that it would be okay.

I’m finally able to say that I’m ready now Mum. I can take over again. I did it! I managed to save up. And I managed to find myself a second chance, when I never expected to be dealt a new hand. I can be his mum in the way that I want to be for the last few months of his tiny years, before he takes on the world on his own, in September. School. How did my little boy get to be so big?

I wonder if you still think the same thing about me.

You’ll always be my mum. And you’ll always be Granny.

Thank you for putting him first. It will never be forgotten.

Take hold of today and enjoy it. It certainly won’t be the last. But I know it means something to you. And so it means something to me.

He’ll always love you. He’ll always appreciate you. Just like I appreciated Grandma for doing the same for you. And I still do. Because she made my mummy happy. She made it easier on her. And helped her. Which made me happy too.

I love you.

Thank you.

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No Comments

  • Reply
    I'm Every Mum
    31st March 2016 at 6:44 am

    Oh Charlotte this is beautiful, you had me close to tears. How precious for you all. A beautiful tribute for your Mum. Good luck with your last day and enjoy the time with your Mum, William and baby girl when she comes. This is your time now xxx mwa

  • Reply
    Pamela Agar
    31st March 2016 at 7:07 am

    I just put my mascara on and now I'm welling up! What a beautiful post – and what a wonderful relationship you clearly have with your mum. Enjoy your time! xx

  • Reply
    31st March 2016 at 7:23 am

    Im crying…. William James I have loved taking care of you. Yes we have shared so much and I've taught you alot. But you my dear friend have taught me so much more; the absolute importance of cows above all animals. How much fun woodlice can be. That I shoukd use the word ridiculous at least once a day. That a hug makes everything just right. But most of all about our special relationship. Alas its time for granny to hand back the reins to mama and mark and await the arrival of your little sister. Its been a blast William, im going to miss my little buddy.
    William 'its been my pleasure' xxxxx

  • Reply
    31st March 2016 at 7:24 am

    Im crying…. William James I have loved taking care of you. Yes we have shared so much and I've taught you alot. But you my dear friend have taught me so much more; the absolute importance of cows above all animals. How much fun woodlice can be. That I shoukd use the word ridiculous at least once a day. That a hug makes everything just right. But most of all about our special relationship. Alas its time for granny to hand back the reins to mama and mark and await the arrival of your little sister. Its been a blast William, im going to miss my little buddy.
    William 'its been my pleasure' xxxxx

  • Reply
    Simone Carr
    31st March 2016 at 7:29 am

    What a beautiful post, I was welling up at your writing but your mums reply has tipped me over the edge. Your mum sounds fantastic, I have a similar bond with mine. Now you can enjoy the next part of your adventure and enjoy many days with your babies and your mum, making lots of new memories to treasure. All the best with the birth of your daughter. X

  • Reply
    Sophie Carter
    31st March 2016 at 8:50 am

    Oh wow. Such a gorgeous post! I cried, and then read your mums comment and cried even more! You have got such a lovely future ahead of you and you are very very lucky that you get to enjoy it now 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    S, x
    31st March 2016 at 8:52 am

    Crying at my desk! You have such an amazing way with words and I just know that your mum's heart must be bursting with pride xxx

    Sophie Cliff

  • Reply
    Kelly I To Become Mum
    31st March 2016 at 9:28 am

    A very special post about two special ladies (your mum and yourself) who love a special little boy very much xx

  • Reply
    Jess | The Indigo Hours
    31st March 2016 at 10:15 am

    Beautiful! Your mum is a star isn't she 🙂 Just think of all the time she'll be able to spend with the three of you once your little girl arrives! ♥

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

  • Reply
    Miranda Rachel
    31st March 2016 at 10:21 am

    Gosh Charlotte, I wasn't quite ready for how emotional that was going to be. You have an amazing writing ability, I often feel like I'm you when I'm reading. I was watching your 37 week YT update last night and also had tears in my eyes watching you. I'm a complete stranger but I'm so happy you have 'a second chance' x

  • Reply
    Nicola Bradbury
    31st March 2016 at 11:19 am

    I managed to get through the whole post whilst on my break but not without fighting back tears – but reading your mum's reply has just set me off again. Absolutely gorgeous post and I know you know how luck you are to have such a wonderful Mum. My grandparents looked after me when my Mum went back to work and my in-laws look after Alfie now whilst we work and we are forever grateful. I know how long you have waited for this time with your baby boy and I hope you enjoy every minute of it. You deserve all the happiness in the world. xxx

  • Reply
    31st March 2016 at 11:41 am

    Oh Charlotte, my mum died last year just a few months after I had my baby boy and I've just sobbed right through this post. What a privilege to have your mum to walk this journey with you – thank her today and everyday that you can! Such beautiful, beautiful words.

  • Reply
    31st March 2016 at 11:43 am

    What a lovely post! Fighting back the tears at my desk! xx

  • Reply
    Amber Wilde
    31st March 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Jesus, Charlotte. Thanks for making a pregnant lady cry at her desk. Fairly sure my colleagues think I'm mad now!

    This is beautiful. It made me feel so happy that you have that beautiful relationship with your mother and that Bill and Little Girl have such a fantastic grandmother, and so sad that you experienced so much pain in having to leave your little boy, and so PROUD of you because LOOK at you, look how far you've come! And a bit wistful too, because my relationship with my mum isn't like this and she'd love to look after my children but – eh, I just don't want her. And I want to want her, or I want a mum that I want.

    So many emotions for a Thursday lunchtime. xx

  • Reply
    Katy F
    31st March 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Oh my goodness I am in tears here, what an absolutely beautiful letter. x

  • Reply
    1st April 2016 at 7:49 am

    Oh god Charlotte, I am literally in floods of tears reading this – thank god I'm working from home today and not reading this on the tube. But damn you for whatever state my mascara is in right now! This is such a beautiful post and one that I can totally see me writing at the end of August. It wasn't 10 weeks but my mum has looked after Zach since he was 10 months old. Three days a week for the last two and a half years. I too wondered how he would love me as much as he loved her, but he does. The bond they have is wonderful and I wonder what impact it will have on him when I go on maternity leave later in the year. Happy to have mummy back but sad to not have nannie (although we are totes going to be seeing her lots hehe!). Thank you for writing this post, We are so lucky to have our amazing mums looking after our children xxx

  • Reply
    1st April 2016 at 10:21 pm

    This post had me in tears, as your blog often does. I'm so excited for you to meet your little girl, to bond as a four and to spend the time with Bill you've always longed for. You're such a great Mama. Just realised, we have the same blog theme too 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    2nd April 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Beautiful post, I'm sure your mum will love this xx

  • Reply
    Davena Lord
    2nd April 2016 at 8:44 pm

    That was so beautifully written!

  • Reply
    Alex Gladwin
    3rd April 2016 at 8:26 pm

    This is beautiful. I had to fight back tears. I'm so happy for you that you have a Mum like this. <3 xx

  • Reply
    Abigail Bryony
    5th April 2016 at 8:43 am

    Your words literally move me Charlotte. You write like no-one else I know. x

  • Reply
    Hayley: Sparkles and Stretchmarks
    5th April 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Well I managed not to cry…then I read your mums comment and now I'm not sure if I'll ever stop!!

    What a lucky, lucky little boy to be surrounded by so much love xx

  • Reply
    11th April 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Oh Charlotte, this is honestly the most beautiful post I have ever read. Fighting back tears reading it and then I saw your Mum's comment. SOBBING now.. I am so glad that you have such a wonderful Mother that would do anything to help you, that is really something special. William will always have such special memories with her I'm sure. My Mum has my little girl once a week and I'm also extremely grateful, but sadly we don't have a good relationship and I wouldn't want her to have my daughter any more than she does. You are such a strong Mama, I have always thought that about you. I'm so glad you get to do things differently this time around and to have that time with your Daughter. xxxxxx

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