We were supposed to have one en masse at the weekend but rain stopped play, a big photo of our three generations. It is going to happen but not until the spring.
So I decided to write one in the meantime
I am very fortunate indeed to have a wonderful big family, and we are all very close, geographically as well as emotionally. We all live within a five minute walk of each other.
My Mum is the backbone of us all, a matriarch in the grand tradition. She is warm and clever and the one we all run to with our woes. She is the Queen of Entertaining, hosting huge and varied parties for all occasions. Always there for a forgotten item, whether it’s a safety pin or a last minute ingredient for dinner. Much put upon but always appreciated, although we don’t remember to tell her often enough.
Mum is also the one who kicks my arse when I’m being a knob. She is one of two people who can cut me to the quick with well intentioned criticism. She thinks I’m a lazy arse (she’s not wrong) but she is also good at telling me I could do better. I have her to thank for my can-do attitude because I have been raised by a woman who can do anything, and she doesn’t tolerate defeatism.
She is the most wonderful Nanny to the Chums and all their cousins. Patient with them in a way I can’t be, and generous to the point of spoiling them . She is an absolute gem and I wouldn’t have her any other way
except when she tells me off and I revert to a sullen sixteen year old.
My Daddy is the greatest. I also don’t tell him often enough. He is a fantastic Dad and a wonderful Grandad and does lots of lovely kind things for us without hesitating. Yesterday he had the Chums while they were off school (and an extra one who turned up!) and made bangers and s’mores in the garden. In the evening, the Boy dissolved into floods of tears because he’d left his charger there. So Dad came round with it at 8pm. Actually he returned my phone the same way on Sunday (we must stop leaving all our stuff up there). He looked after the Littlest Chum today as well, who ran rings round him until they wore each other out.
He makes things. Complicated things out of bits of rope. Also any crafty type homework the Chums have, we can rely on Grandad to step in and help out. I remember being distraught as a child that I didn’t have a Red Nose for chuffing Red Nose day. I woke up in the morning to find he’d made me a papier mache one, and painted it. Those are the memories that make a childhood special.
He might be a bit grumpy sometimes but we all know it’s just a front ’cause he’s a proper softie really. He’s a Dad in a million and we all love him to bits, and so do the various honorary Grandkids him and Mum take under their wing.
My sisters. My middle sister is the only other person who can cut me, she is the Empress Royal of the backhanded compliment, it’s a marvellous skill to have. We HATED each other as children, we were too close in age and too different to understand each other. That relationship changed as we got older and we had to agree with all the
annoying well-meaning grown ups who used to crow ‘you’ll be best friends when you’re older’… I admire her like no one else, she is clever and driven and sensible in a way I’ll never be. She’s also very funny and can be surprisingly kind. She’s a velvet fist in an iron glove. I’d love to be more like her but I’m too comfortable being me to make the effort
Her husband is lovely. He’s slotted into our family in such a way that I don’t ever remember him not being around. He is one of the most generous and loyal people I’ve ever met and I know that he will always look after my sister, and the rest of us. They are amazing parents to their two gorgeous daughters, and I am proud of them all every single day.
My baby sister is somehow all grown up and has a baby AND one on the way. I have no idea how that happened, because in my head she will always be about fifteen. She is little and beautiful and sweet and comes across as innocent and naive, but she is also one the strongest people I know and she is well on the way to becoming a matriarch in her own right. I am lucky enough to have her as a Childminder for the Littlest Chum once a week and she is amazing at it. I absolutely adore her, and she is so different again from us older two that it always makes me smile, we are like the triple goddess (except I dont’ want to be the crone, okay?), three aspects of one unit.
Her husband is ALSO lovely. We have all picked great men to marry (well, I had a false start but even so). Aren’t we all clever? He’s a work-hard/play-hard, down to earth family man. We all love him, and it’s so wonderful to watch them grow into their little family.
My little brother. He so YOUNG! He was born in the NINETIES ffs. He’s such a dude. We have fabulous debates and arguments about all sorts of shit because we are both really good at picking a side and sticking to it, even if we aren’t that invested. He’s worldly and intelligent beyond his years (that’ll be my input, I reckon) and even though he towers over me at six foot something-or-other he will always, always be my baby brother and I would walk over fire for him.
For any of them actually.
So there we go. My slightly gushy and probably cringy (they may yet shoot me for it) Family Portrait. I count my blessings for them every day, even when they annoy me (often) or infuriate me. They truly are a great bunch of humans, and together we make up a slightly insane but generally awesome family who will bend over backwards for each other, be there for the lovebombs AND the shitbombs, sometimes (rarely these days) have epic, earth shattering rows but ultimately will always have each other.
Ain’t life grand?