An Auntie in the Time of Corona

I’ve been blessed to be God Mother to two babies, who have both grown into wonderful women.  My eldest god daughter – Elizabeth, the child of one of my closest childhood friends, is nearly 8 months pregnant with her first child.  We know this craved for child is a girl.  With the permission of her mother, this is the first of my letters to her unborn baby – Lily.

Dearest Lily,

First of all I wanted to introduce myself.  Although maybe you already know me, by voice, softly drifting into the warmth of your mother’s womb.

I’m your Auntie Sandra.  How do you do?  An honorary Auntie no less, but no less for all that.  You see, we’re not related by blood, but I’ve known your mother for ever.  Well, ever since before she was born, too.

As is now, I was the soft voice beyond the womb, then.  The close friend and confidante of your grandmother – her mother in turn.  So, in so many ways, I’m someone who knew your mother from the earliest of times.

Your mother was born before the time of Corona, the strange, up-ended one which you will soon find yourself part of.  And though I’m two generations ahead of you, little Lily, I can vividly remember your mother’s entrance into the world.

She came early – as always doing things in her own softly determined way.  As soon as I could, I made my way to the Special Care Baby unit of the maternity hospital.  And there I met your mother – Elizabeth.  Tiny, but thriving nonetheless.

I remember seeing little Liz, this side of the womb, for the very first time.  She was lying in an incubuator, an unmistakably fully formed personality, looking back at me with the biggest pair of blue eyes, set in a tiny elfin face.

Your grandmother blew kisses at her tiny newborn daughter and told her she loved her.  And so it was, that before I ever spoke to your mum, I burst into tears first…

It was tears that bought me to this page too Lily, to write to you.  Because when I thought that I might not get to meet you too, in a physical way, for what could be a long, long time in the life of a baby, my eyes teared up again, but for sadder reasons this time…

But listen Lily, I’ve chosen not to cling to the sadness, since soon it will be your turn to make your way into the world.  And before that happens, I wanted there to be a little legacy of a letter or two, waiting for you.

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Elizabeth & Me, in history

I asked your mother how she felt, being pregnant in the time of Corona and she told me that she wondered what kind of world she was bringing her child into.

That’s a natural protective concern, which so many mothers, along long millenia have felt too.  Precious as you are, little Lily, you’re not the first baby to be born into a time of causality and uncertainty.

And there is your father too, loving you – even though he’s living on another continent, thousands of miles away.  He so wants to be with you, my little love, but in this crazy enclosed time, a virus – something of microscopic size, but enormous magnitude, most likely means that he won’t be here to meet you on this side of the womb, very soon, either.

Whilst this all seems like such crazy, sad, uncertainty; as your great Aunt, I want you to know that actually there’s a whole lovely lot of certainty in your life, all ready and waiting to be embraced.

To begin with you already have four generations of living family who love you – quite literally spanning the globe.  So that, my dear one, is already whole world of love.

You will discover that already you have great grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins closely connected to you and caring greatly about you.

There are so many characters you will come to know in your family across the world.  Some you will see yourself in and others – wonder at the differences.

And that’s just the humans – your grandmother and your mother both have a dog.  And knowing those woofling, playful creatures, I can guarantee they’re waiting eagerly to be petted and played with, when the time safely comes.  So you will know the love of animals, also.

As well as people there will be places to discover. Know that your first home is quietly waiting to welcome you.  Your room is ready.  I can tell you now that you will have warmth and food and clothes and toys.

When you arrive in this world, you’ll be cuddled by your mother and your grandmother, certain in their circle of love.  And when the time of Corona has passed, you my child, will be passed from person to post, coo-ed at, adored and exclaimed over.  Not just by a global DNA dynasty, but your mother’s myriad of friends, as well.  And between the happy horde of family and friends, between us we’ll discuss who you look like; then rattle toys at you and play ‘peek-a-boo’, many, many times over.

We will watch you gain and grow and change, and be more you, every day.  But know that already in a life short lived, Lily, that you are unique, special and cherished beyond reason.

And I don’t know if you will know of this time of Corona in a conscious sense.  I’m trusting that this viral storm will pass and it will be relegated to that thing the oldies in your life will rattle on about – how you arrived when life was locked down and we all had to keep our loving distance.

That we do this is important. It’s my first gift to you, Lily, to keep my distance.  And I’m doing it with a happy heart, because that’s what it takes to keep you as safe as can be.

And I’m still here, woven into the loving infrastructure of your world.  We will just now have to do things differently from how we thought they would be.

One day we will most definitely meet and I’m storing a little stockpile of stories ready for when we have that first cuddle, exchange our first words and have that first ever game of peek-a-boo.  And all of these things will be especially special, since we’ve earned them with our loving patience.

No doubt before that day we shall meet via the modern day miracle of video chat, although I’ve already got a sense of you from soft scanned images – grey, grainy and beautiful…

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Meet Lily

And as time goes on, I will chart your childhood with more photographs, just as I did with your mother – Liz, with her sister Jenny and brother, James.

And so, it goes Lily, on and on and nothing, not even Coronavirus will change all that.

Bye for now little one.

With much love from your
          Auntie S xx

PS: Peek-a-boo!!!  Just wanted to be the very first person who did that with you 😉 xxx

 

Mothering Sunday in the Time of Corona

It is Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom – a day of family habit and celebration, now turned on its’ head by the novel Coronvirus pandemic.  Today as part of my series of ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ blogs, I’m exploring how Mothering Sunday can be ‘done differently’…
Mum Hol 2
My mum & me, in history…
So you may have a mother or you may be a mother. Or maybe not. Maybe you have a maternal relationship you wish to celebrate. And maybe not.
As a day in the life, this particular one has many layers of meaning – not only affected by status, history and a whole other myriad of variables, but also potentially your nationality and culture.
 
Here in the UK it originated as a Christian festival, where, since the 17th Century, people visited the ‘mother’ church of their childhood home – annually, on the 4th day of Lent. This is the Christian period of fasting which leads up to Easter – with its feasting to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and before THAT, were the pagan celebrations of the Spring Equinox.
 
Its’ modern day form as a more secular happening comes from the early 1900s – where in America it became a ‘Hallmark’ occasion, which the UK imitated – taking up the trend for sending cards and publically celebrating the role of motherhood.
 
Time travel to recent history, where in the UK it became the busiest day of the hospitality industry and florists’ year, with restaurant tables fully booked weeks in advance to cope with the demand.
 
It’s with a sense of unreality that I am now writing about all this in the past tense. In the Time of Corona, we’ve had to rethink our celebrations. Whilst we take action together to halt the spread of the virus – restaurants can no longer cater to families coming together to share a table in a public place.
 
This means that we are all reducing the chances of passing on the virus to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Conditions which put them at a higher risk than those of us who, in reasonable health may simply suffer flu like symptoms, which we would recover from usually in a matter of days.
 
So we are celebrating differently… Social distancing, making phone calls instead of visiting, postponing ‘till this is all over’ and more besides. This year, we can’t keep our customs in the same way, so let’s keep thinking creatively and come up with new ways of keeping the old ways going. And let’s see what clever ideas others (going through the same strange decisions) are coming up with too.
 
Let’s do this because the world does not need to stop turning right now. It’s time now for it to turn on its axis, differently. And that is DIFFERENTLY – not with difficulty. It’s not about being victimised by our circumstances, but rather, rising to them. Together.
 
My own mother is gone. And I don’t have children to celebrate me. So I COULD tell you that this day is irrelevant, or that I miss my mother and grandmothers, more than ever, on this day of days.
 
Or I can choose something different.
 
Today I’m celebrating all my female ancestors – the ones who were royal and who toiled. The ones who gave me blue eyes, blonde hair and a stubborn, creative spirit. The ones who travelled continents to beat hardships I will never know. Who came together with all my (grand and great grand) fathers to make me. The ones who worked and cried and laughed. Who made babies and lost babies and saw them grow up to have babies of their own.
 
So that is different for ME.
 
What about you? How have you been spending this day differently?
 
What can you learn from this day and do differently from now on?
 
To all my mothers – I commit to using what I inherited and learnt from you – to support those I can; to influence people positively and love my way forward.
 
I celebrate you all and I celebrate your child – me.
 
And I thank you, today, with humility, awe and love.
 
~ Sandra – a Daughter, differently xx

PS: I currently have a special offer… You can buy the paperback of my book of the blog – ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ on Amazon for £11.99 or you can get an author signed copy on my website (see below) – for just £7.99 including P&P…

Featured in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, the book was also listed as a Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards.  

Making a perfect Mother’s Day (or any other day) gift, the book takes the best posts from this blog, adds new content and wraps it all together in a satisfying structure – that will make you feel the love, entertain and enlighten you.

It’s an easy yet satisfying read, which sees love in everything we do in life – from the big themes to the tiny, trivial minutiae of it too

Buy the paperback on my website – here for just £7.99 including P&P…

  • Or get it from Amazon for £11.99; from all great book websites anywhere in the world or order it from your local bookshop.
  • You can also buy it in Kindle format…

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

Missing your mother or miss being a mother, this Mothering Sunday?

It’s Mothering Sunday in the UK – time to celebrate and venerate those who gave us life and / or raised us in the Christian and Hallmark calendars.  I see a lot of joy around this time and I also see a lot of sadness.  As a woman whose mother is no longer here and has no children of her own, I wrote this poem to celebrate and demarcate the child…

Mum and Kids cropMy mother and the children that made her so

HAPPY CHILD’S DAY

I’m reading all the Mothering Sunday posts and reflecting:
I don’t have a mum any more.
And I’m not a mother myself.
So, regardless of why, that’s just how it is today…

For every mother and every child there’s a single story.
And it’s different for each and everyone of us.
Made out of genetics, chance and a million interactions.
Starting in the womb, then pushing out and pushing a way through life.

And I’ve heard it said that we choose our parents.
That’s both coldly crazy and softly sane in different measures.
I know I have chosen what I take from and learn from mine.
That’s some bitterness turned in to much sweet reason.

I’ve chosen the love and the laughter.
The generosity, the surprise gifts and all the toast.
The recognition of a tough job with the tough and easy love.
And today, what ever our story is, to celebrate my mother.

And there are no birth babies for me, but I’ve created so much.
I’ve played with god children and cooed over little ones.
I’ve hugged, hid, tickled, spoilt and giggled many times over.
I’ve witnessed the joy of new generations and played my part in their lives.

So Happy Mother’s day, what ever your denomination.
Whether in flesh or memory – seen or invisibly felt.
Regardless of our parenthood, there wouldn’t be a mother without – us.
So celebrate and be a cause for celebration:

And most of all – have a Happy Child’s Day – what ever that means – for you.

~ Sandra Peachey – Child and Creator

PS: I currently have a Child’s Day special offer… You can buy the paperback of my ‘Love Letters to Life’ on Amazon for £11.99 or as a Valentine’s treat you can get an author signed copy on my website – for just £7.99 including P&P…

Featured in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, it was also honoured as a Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards.  

Making a perfect Mother’s Day (or any other day) gift, the book takes the best posts from this blog, adds new content and wraps it all together in a satisfying structure – that will make you feel the love, entertain and enlighten you.

It’s an easy yet satisfying read, which sees love in everything we do in life – from the big themes to the tiny, trivial minutiae of it too

Buy the paperback on my website – here for just £7.99 including P&P…

  • Or get it from Amazon for £11.99 and from all great book websites anywhere in the world.
  • You can also buy it in Kindle format…

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor.
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.

Is it Mother’s Day, Mothering Sunday or Child’s Day today?

HAPPY CHILD’S DAY

I’m reading all the Mothering Sunday posts and reflecting:
I don’t have a mum any more.
And I’m not a mother myself.
So, regardless of why, that’s just how it is today…

For every mother and every child there’s a single story.
And it’s different for each and everyone of us.
Made out of genetics, chance and a million interactions.
Starting in the womb, then pushing out and pushing a way through life.

And I’ve heard it said that we choose our parents.
That’s both coldly crazy and softly sane in different measures.
I know I have chosen what I take from and learn from mine.
That’s some bitterness turned in to much sweet reason.

I’ve chosen the love and the laughter.
The generosity, the surprise gifts and all the toast.
The recognition of a tough job with the tough and easy love.
And today, what ever our story is, to celebrate my mother.

And there are no birth babies for me, but I’ve created so much.
I’ve played with god children and cooed over little ones.
I’ve hugged, hid, tickled, spoilt and giggled many times over.
I’ve witnessed the joy of new generations and played my part in their lives.

So Happy Mother’s day, what ever your denomination.
Whether in flesh or memory – seen or invisibly felt.
Regardless of our parenthood, there wouldn’t be a mother without – us.
So celebrate and be a cause for celebration:

And most of all – have a Happy Child’s Day – what ever that means – for you.

Mum Hol 2
My mother and this child

~ Sandra Peachey – Child and Creator

PS: It’s Mothering Sunday too – not instead of… 😉

PPS: I currently have a Child’s Day special offer… You can buy the paperback of my ‘Love Letters to Life’ on Amazon for £11.99 or as a Valentine’s treat you can get an author signed copy on my website – for just £7.99 including P&P…

Featured in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, it was also honoured as a Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards.  

Making a perfect Mother’s Day (or any other day) gift, the book takes the best posts from this blog, adds new content and wraps it all together in a satisfying structure – that will make you feel the love, entertain and enlighten you.

It’s an easy yet satisfying read, which sees love in everything we do in life – from the big themes to the tiny, trivial minutiae of it too.

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor.
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.

The Parkinsons Path – Part 1

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Mum wearing a tea cosy… And why not?!

This week – 7 to 13 April 2014, is Parkinson’s Awareness Week. My mother lived with this neurological condition for the last 15 years of her life and so many people I know are still affected by this either directly or through some one they love…

My mother was who she was… and then like of all of us she grew older… So she tripped and stumbled sometimes. I remember once she fell in the path of a man in a theatre, as we were all rushing to the interval up the central aisle… There was a sarcastic comment, which fortunately she didn’t hear, and I couldn’t be bothered to shame that person’s ignorant and judgemental utterance… Let’s face it, I have judged so much on face value too, especially where my mother is concerned…

But then we don’t know people’s back stories as a rule, do we? That man misjudged a trip for bad manners, and was annoyed because someone was in his way… He wouldn’t be the first or the last to make a momentary misjudgement, after all he had a whole life time of his own experiences that took him to that place – verbally, logically and physically…

And I too have a lifetime’s experience of judging my mother, so what can I really say? For example, I just thought that the dribbling spools of saliva that dropped from her mouth at meal times were part of a character set of behaviour, a lack of self awareness and control…

And yet as I grew to learn more about the condition known as Parkinsons, ultimately I learned more about myself and my own perceptions too… The excess production of saliva it turns out, is just one of the myriad of symptoms of this condition…

When my mother was diagnosed, she liked the fact that she had a label. As she had developed a tremor in her hand, we weren’t entirely surprised. For me that was a subconscious fact and for my brother, something he had already consciously spotted and considered. Her symptoms were mild then, yet my brother and I knew that she faced certain degeneration. This was something from which there would be no turning back. She was in her 70s… something will get us all in the end…

So we started on the medical treadmill… She had a week or so in hospital being tested. At the beginning she was in good spirits and enjoying the attention and drama. I didn’t see any fear or concern. And I always liked how she lived through the whole Parkinson’s experience, in that it was her ‘thing’ and not a case for constant self pity. Odd, because I judged that she ‘did’ self pity and victimhood a lot in her life, but not for this this real and causal happening…

Life continued with regular trips to the consultant – weighing, walking and pushing. Then talking, and then the tinkering… Tinkering with the drugs – changing the combinations, increasing / decreasing the doses, and this every single time we went. The drugs have to be taken frequently and regularly. They must be administered on time – there is a regime to follow. My mother found it difficult to get her increasingly muddled head around it all.

My brother and I became adept at taking the consultant’s spidery hand written instructions and turning them into a timetable (for the kitchen wall, her handbag and my handbag), which we would then explain, first to my mother and then later to her carers.

My mother joined the local branch of the Parkinson’s Society and I researched the condition, bought books and researched online about it. I remember being mildly surprised when a friend said that I was going a ‘good thing’ educating myself about it… I had always felt that I just never did enough…

So time moved on and mother’s condition deteriorated… We would talk about it and some how my brother and I took the same tack with her – we could see self pity starting to creep in for her and would show sympathy and talk about it and yet also acknowledge pragmatically and without brow beating, that this was how it was. I would then smile and say that regardless we should absolutely make the most of the time we had together.

Over the years mum had bemoaned the fact that she never got enough time and attention from me, and I in turn had rebuffed that in various ways. I would never kow tow to deliberately implied guilt and so, I simply spent the time I spent with her. I had explained to her over the years that I had my own life too. I had a busy career and a restless nature. Over time the complaints never completely went away, but they certainly lessened. When my mother compared her life with other people, she realised that there was more colour and activity in it, than for so many other people of her age and in her situation.

We would go out for meals, to the theatre, to the cinema and on short holidays. On her 70th birthday I treated to her to her first spa day and what an investment… every single year after that she treated me to the very same thing; whether she was well enough to come with me or not. She loved the self care and specialness of the whole experience…

And sometimes when we discussed having to slow down, I would smile fondly and say, ‘when you’re in a wheel chair it’s not gonna stop because I shall simply drag you around every where instead’! And she would chuckle in delight…

Then the pain started to noticeably increase, especially in her legs. The tremor spread from her arm, all down one side, from shoulder to toe. She was living in sheltered accommodation at the time and after a while couldn’t remember to take all the drugs on time. This is crucial to managing Parkinsons – drugs must be taken in a regular and timely way. So it was a wrench, but she left the home and social circle she loved, and faced the upheaval of moving again – this time to a place where there was more ‘care’ on hand – both to physically take care of her and to ensure that she got her drugs on time.

She had a posh new apartment and my brother and I settled her in and made it a home. It was pristine and shiny and she was very proud of it, but it soon became apparent that she wasn’t getting the level of care that she needed. The staff were not administering the drugs on time and often forgot altogether. We talked to the employees and we talked to the management. It didn’t change. We explained that it is absolutely vital that the drugs are administered in a timely fashion. Still she was ignored. We brought in her Social Worker – who talked to the management on at least 3 occasions, with us present. Still no change…

It was just hideously endemic – the people employed either were not educated enough about the situation, not paid enough to give a damn or else too busy to prioritise an urgent medical need. It is also a 24 hour / 7 day a week situation and so where one member of staff would be aware, the person on the next shift couldn’t or wouldn’t give a damn and didn’t follow the regimen pinned to the manager’s wall. I was horrified and angry, and alternatively discussed, educated and berated them, all to no avail.

Finally I got more support in my own life as I met an amazing man and got engaged. In fact we were moving house the day I got the call from my mother’s home. I was in a white van with my man and much of my worldly possessions at the time; and I couldn’t help feeling she’d done it on purpose… It was probably a stroke, the woman on the phone said.  My mother had had an episode and they had called an ambulance…

And so began the next and darker phase of the Parkinson’s path, for my mother and for all of us…

My book Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life is dedicated to my mother who lived with Parkinsons.  There are more letters about her, along with more ‘Love Letters’ to the people, phenomena and happenings in my life as an author and coach. You can get hold of your copy here…  or else from Amazon (in both Kindle and Paperback formats) and it can be bought or ordered from ‘all good book shops’…