I Love You Mum

Just tell us why you love your mum.  You can also combine I Love You Mum with the Pack-A-Pocket task, slipping your mum a special gift to show how much you care about her.

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I slipped my mum her favourite Thorntons’ diabetic chocolates to say thank you for being such a brilliant mum. My 3 year old son Logan has Cystic Fibrosis and mum has worked tirelessly to help raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, hosting regular ‘blue’ barbecues (the CFT colours). She rescheduled Christmas when the family couldn’t come together because of Logan’s illness, hosting a whole second Christmas a week later. Logan is doing really well and loves his nan. She's always there for us when we need her.

I love my mum very much. I can't imagine how I would have coped with labour, with becoming a mum of one, then two kids, without her at my side. She is funny, kind, sensitive and brave, honest about her feelings and failings, and always up for facing the next big challenge (and generally succeeding). All of these qualities have defined how I try to live my life day to day too - probably with less success, but always trying - which is the important thing! Even my husband likes her, and that's something very positive to say about a mother in law!

I'm slipping her some of her favourite licorice for the Pack-A-Pocket task... though if she's read this already, it won't be much of a surprise!

I’m getting some gold paint for my mum’s Pack-A-Pocket treat. She’s taken up painting in her 70’s. She tries all sorts, landscapes, portraits, figurative, and now, abstracts and collage. Having spent most of her life caring for other people, there is now a whole back room in her house dedicated to her painting. A room of her own at last, as Virginia Woolf once said.

She was a single parent for most of my brother and I’s growing up, in a time when that was not the norm, and looked down upon somewhat. She worked all hours in West Cornwall hospital, I remember being the only child in the class to have free school dinners and asking her if we could pay to save the humiliation of :“Annamaria Murphy, free school dinner?” being read out everyday at register. She made up a story about how she’d won them in a competition.

So gold seems appropriate, not the hard metal, meaningless in these times, but gold paint to gild her lilies. (She likes to paint lilies)

Unconditional love, a huge smile, plenty of hugs when I need them and always just a phone call away, my mum is a mum in the truest sense of the word. Everything I learned about compassion, the complexity of the human condition and the need to see the world through other people’s eyes, I learned from my mum. Her capacity to care and be there seems limitless and her abundance of generosity of spirit is aspirational. I love my mum not because we are tied by blood or bonkers relatives, but because she loves me unconditionally, with no strings attached. Okay, maybe a couple of heart strings here and there....

My mum is amazing and I love her to bits. She has been such a great mother to me and my brother and sisters; caring, strong, fun, thoughtful, there.

Last year she was seriously ill, which was frightening, but she has bounced back amazingly and I wanted to thank her, mostly for being her, but also to let her know how proud I am of the changes she is making in her life and that I am right for her every step of the way. I've packed her pocket with an Amber pendant, her favourite gem.

My mum died 5 years ago this week.
She was my everything. It's funny how, no matter how old you become, you still feel like a child who needs a cuddle when you think about your mum.
I am 44 and a mother of two boisterous boys (as well as step-mum to two other lovely kids) myself now. When my mum was about this age I remember thinking how OLD she was. She was, in essence, an amorphous blob who transported me from a to b and kept us fed and clean. She held no true interest for me, since she was there to be taken for granted and like a normal child, I did not stop to consider whether she had anything of value to add to modern living. As far as I was concerned she was 'just my mum'.

Blimey, is that what my kids think of me now?! Yes, of course. A child should be a child - carefree and unfettered by profound thoughts of family histories. But one day we all grow up and we find out all too late that we know so little about our parents.

My mother was, of course, truly special. Irreplaceable and immense in my life. Shortly before she died she, unwittingly inspired my second career, now in full swing. I had been through a traumatic divorce with my then-5-year-old. We were both in a bad way and I yearned for her comforts. So we went on a trip together (our last as it turned out) to the places of my childhood. Wales - home of family holidays and long hot summers in the sand dunes. We found so many memories there I found myself very emotional and conscious of her demise from the vibrant beauty she had once been....

And then, suddenly, one day in 2006 my phone rang. It was my dad. My dad never called, deferring always to the female of the house to take care of family matters. I went cold. "Mum's gone," he barely managed. I remember little else of the 200 mile journey home or the week that followed, other than the fact that there was a gigantic hole in our midst. It has been there ever since, literally and figuratively. My father and brother hugged for the first time in their adult lives, and maybe the last. Men find this so hard. And now I, the baby of the family, am the mommy, drawing them together as best I can from a distance.

Shortly after she died, I discovered that I was pregnant again. I had been in a fantastic new relationship with my now-husband for a short while - we'd dealt with the trauma of her loss together and a miscarriage, and now we were elated with this baby news. I was nearing 40 and this was surely my last chance. Of course mum never knew and my son, Ollie never met her or felt her warmth. This bothered me very much and I was determined to somehow 'connect' these two most important people in my life, so that my sons would know who she was and the family from which they have come. I wanted to be sure that mum would be more than just a faded face in a box of black and white photos.

More importantly, my children would one day have to deal with the loss of their own mother. What, I considered, would they want me to have told them about my life? What kind of a legacy would I have to show for my time here on earth? Would they know why I divorced? Would they want to hear the stories of my happy, carefree school days and youth?

Last year my hand was forced. I was made redundant and spent some time considering my next move. After much deliberation, I decided to take my passion for family nostalgia and do something about it. I launched a new family life stories website, inspired by my mum and my memories of her. It's called www.saveeverystep.com and it's where I commemorated her life in words and pictures, in chronological order on a timeline. The site is a shareable and free celebration of the big and the small events in life. We use it as a family to record the development of our kids, our holidays and days out, school work and reports, birthday parties and old boyfriends, bad fashion mistakes and house moves. It's a lifetime on a timeline and the whole family's lives can be recorded individually in one place. Life, in the order it happens, in words and pictures. The site is free to use, since writing a life story is a personal and intimate act and I am passionate about encouraging people to save their memories for the future. Press coverage has been great so far and I am delighted to say that we are going from strength to strength in my mum's memory.

I have no doubt that she would have been proud. Thankfully I now have no doubt that she will not be forgotten.

My mum has been my rock and best friend though out my life and has been there every step of the way. I was diagnosed with epilepsy as a toddler. I was not old enough at the time to understand, but as I got older and more aware, my mum helped me to cope. When I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with s.l.e [ lupus ]. Lupus is a blood disease where white cells attack instead of defending, the bones, heart, lungs etc. It can also mimic other diseases. It can be medicated but cannot be cured. It can be passed on though the family - my mum has lupus herself which was passed on to me.

At 17 years old I was diagnosed with CFS [ chronic fatigue syndrome] which is very similar to M.E.. With all these problems my mum has helped me to cope and understand. Although she is very ill herself and had 4 other children, she helped me to lead a normal life.

My mum supported me when I found out I was pregnant with my first child and my second child, although I had been told I couldn't have children. When I told her I was pregnant and keeping my child, she supported my decision and didn't try to change my mind. I first thought it was my only chance to have a child but I was then blessed with my second. Now I am unable to have any more because of my problems. Over the last 13 months my mum has helped me with post natal depression after my second child was born which was a bad time.

During my marriage my husband was verbally and physically abusive towards me, I didn't tell my mum at first because she had been though the same with my dad. When I told her in January last year, she helped me with a solicitor to leave my husband after nearly 2 years of marriage. When I got a non molestation order she allowed me and my 2 boys to stay with her while I went to court for residence of my boys and occupation of the house. I left on 3rd Feb 2010 and it took until December 2010 - during which time I stayed with my mum. Now that I have residence of my boys and occupation of the house my mum is still helping me with everything I need or want. The last year has not been easy for her with everything she has done for me. I want to thank her with a small crystal sun catcher in the shape of the moon as a gift - although to me it is nowhere near enough for what she has done for me thoughout my life.

When I heard about the Story of Mum's Pack-A-Pocket campaign I thought what a fantastic idea, and a fabulous chance to let my mum know what a special person she is and how much I appreciate her.

My mum is such a kind, loving and thoughtful person and has been incredibly supportive throughout my life. I recently became a mum myself which has made me realise how hard my mum has worked over the years and how influential and inspiring she is. I had to have an emergency cesarean and mum has been such a fantastic help to us all.

I decided to slip a bar of her favourite chocolate into her pocket, with a little Alice in Wonderland style note attached saying 'eat me', thanking her for being a top mum and now a top granny too!

Mum and I are best friends and really enjoy each other’s company.  When my first child was born and it was a girl, I remember saying to my Mum how pleased I was to have a daughter, as I hoped to have a similar close relationship with her.  

My daughter Polly was then diagnosed with autism when she was three, and I was completely devastated.  For a while it felt as if my whole world had fallen apart, and without my Mum’s love and “hands on” support, I don’t know how I would have got through those initial dark days.  

Polly is now a happy and sweet natured five year old.  I have a very close bond with her, but as she struggles to communicate and can’t talk, it’s a different type of relationship from the one I have with my Mum who was, and still is a tower of strength. I feel so lucky to have her in my life.  

Anything practical and relating to gardening makes a good gift for my Mum, so for storyofmum.com's Pack-A-Pocket task, I'm going to slip a large ball of string on a spool in her pocket!  I remember buying her some makeup in a makeup bag once as a gift, and the next time I came across the bag there was no makeup in it, but wirecutters and pliers.  She was using it as a tool bag instead. That sums my Mum up.

I have put a packet of "companion planting" seeds – marigolds – and a small packet of handmade fudge in my Mum's pocket because she is a fantastic companion and an emotional and physical support whom I cannot imagine my life without. She was there for me when soon after having my own daughter, I learnt I had cancer, and she has supported me through my recovery.

I'd also like to thank her for allowing me to take over part of her garden to grow vegetables which will benefit from the companion planting....and the fudge is just because it's yummy!

I was listening to the radio with my mum and someone was talking about having been the first Western woman to travel in Iran in 1968. My mum looked up and said ‘I was there in 1967’.

Seeing her as my reliable, selfless mum, it’s easy to forget that when she was 18, she just upped and left to backpack all over the world. Hearing about her independent travels reminded me that nothing is impossible, you can make what you want of your life.

I found an old photo of her boarding the Castel Felice ocean liner aged 20 on her way from  New Zealand to  Curacao, South America and slipped that in her pocket as her secret treat as she's had a lot of stress recently worrying and supporting sick, elderly parents and tirelessly helping two struggling daughters with young families. I hope that it will remind her of that young woman who has inspired us, and of who she still is.

My Mum is my hero. There is no more giving, selfless, loving mother than she. Caring, super intelligent, creative, considered, her achievements and love for her children are endless.  

She learnt English in a year, passed all her O' levels and then A' levels with flying colours, got a degree, a Masters of Philosophy, a PGCE, became a lecturer and only decided to stop her PHD because at age 2, she missed me too much. She and my father George whom she met at Uni, opened their first Greek restaurant 30 years ago and run three award winning ones in Leeds, although since my kids were born, she dedicates most of her time to helping me raise them. She is utterly amazing.

Without her I couldn't continue to have a creative career in the way that I do...

There are so few female directors in the film industry-approximately 7 % and I can see why, it's hard juggling a career where you are on set for 12 hour days with a young family, children who need you and you need them.

When I had Oliver, I took a year off directing. Some thought it was a risk to take off what was perceived as a long time, post several awards and industry recognition and at only 28, but I was determined I wanted a family and I simply hoped I'd have a career to return to.

As a creative I had been Editor of film magazine Film & Festivals, taught, lectured, directed and produced, making my first film at 11. I've exhibited artwork and written short stories. From as long as I can remember, if I found a creative outlet I was happy.

First time motherhood for me was not easy, far from my folks and a shock to the system, I felt I'd lost my identity, my previous reference points, lost and lonely unsure of my new role.

A traumatic birth had taken away my voice and confidence...returning only when I started this blog when Oliver was 10 months old. Suddenly people wanted to read what I had to say, what's more they seemed to relate to it and enjoy it. Suddenly I'd found a small space for me, to be creative and hone my voice. 

4 weeks from starting honestmum, I became a finalist at the BritMums' Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Fresh Voice Category. I was elated. I was a loving mother and still an artist. A writer recognised for doing what I loved: telling stories.

The nomination gave me the confidence to get back on set and direct some fashion advert films.

It gave me the confidence to make the important film here raising awareness and offering support to women on the pregnancy liver condition OC I myself had in my first pregnancy. It was made for charity, unpaid and meant I could help thousands of other women through my skills as a filmmaker.

It gave me the confidence to realise I can be a mother and still do what I love and that's OK. It doesn't eradicate the ingrained guilt but it gets easier. I'm doing it for my family.