Time Time is one of the most precious and amazing things we have. Everything we do revolves around time; from the smallest things like holding your breath for sixty seconds, to the big things like celebrating a relative’s sixtieth birthday. Time is built from memories. Memories of childhood, memories of experiences, but most importantly memories of the people you love and care about. Memories are our only way of rebelling against time and the change that inevitably comes with it. The memories I have of my mum before circumstances altered will never change. Time can’t take those away from me but although I’m afraid of time, it also gives me the gift of the future as well as the gift of the past. My mum is the most important person in my life without a doubt and although things have been difficult, it has all brought us closer together and changed a simple mother daughter relationship into a best friend as well as a mother. A climbing frame stands in my large back garden, worn out and not safe to play on anymore but at one time it stood tall and proud, the envy of the neighbourhood. It had been specially built for me by my dad as there weren’t many other girls my age nearby for me to play with. The blue bark circle shone brightly in the sun and I spent a lot of time out in the garden, teaching myself a cartwheel or swinging until my feet touched the sky. In the summer my dad would get our big paddling pool out and my younger brother, my mum, dad and the younger boys in the neighbourhood would all come to join in for water fights and games. A photo of my mum shows her mid-run through the garden, laughing, her eyes shining and her face lit up in the summer sun with a water gun in her hand. This is one of my favourite pictures of her, she looks so happy and there are few pictures, particularly now where her face and eyes have that beautiful light behind them. I was fortunate enough to have a magical childhood and the climbing frame stood tall throughout it, withstanding all the memories, the experiences, the years. It can be seen from the glass doors in my kitchen which overlook the garden and I watched it age as I grew up and when I was still just too young to understand the world around me, things began to change. Slowly at first; my mum hurting her ankle out cycling with us one day, a trip to the hospital a few weeks later because she still doesn’t feel right. That’s the thing with time, it sneaks up behind you and you lose track of it. Changes were happening but I was too young to see, too young to ask the right questions. I continued to swing until I flew, detached from the reality around me and unaware of the time I was losing. Until that day, the day my brother and I were sat down at the kitchen table by my mum. I didn’t understand what ‘Multiple Sclerosis’ was or knew what ‘chronic’ meant except that this was the reason my mum had been having ‘sore legs’ and chronic meant it wouldn’t ever ‘go away’. Everything carried on as usual because I didn’t understand the scale of what I had been told and nothing had really changed about my mum so I almost forgot about it. But nothing lasts forever. The climbing frame I had loved so much began to rot and wood broke in places so it became no longer safe to climb on, but the swing was still strong. Just like my relationship with my mum. Time also brings around regrets. It moves so fast that in the moment we constantly dwell on the past or the future and forget about what to do in the present. I reacted badly to the changes and in reflection now, all the moments I should have been there, all the moments I shouldn’t have wasted, I wish I could change. What I have begun to realise, particularly recently, is how alike my mum I actually am in everything. My temper, my intelligence, and the way I think, my quirky traits, my empathy; all of it I get from her. These are the traits that made the illness so hard to deal with both for me and for her. I handled it wrongly and selfishly when I could have helped. I spent a lot of time out the house, ignoring what was going on around me and avoiding the reality just like the child that swung on the swing to dream. First it was a walking stick, a small limp that led onto crutches. Others assumed it was temporary, but by then I was old enough to know different, old enough to understand but still I pretended it wasn’t happening. I made things difficult instead of being helpful and lost a lot of important time both to me and my mum. Now I realise that I was scared of the changes and this is why I was so ignorant and I try my hardest to make up for the lost time. By the point of going to shops to look at wheelchairs I had begun to panic and wasn’t the sort of person to talk about it, to tell anyone how I felt, as it seemed selfish with everything the rest of the family and particularly my mum was going through. They needed my support more than anything. I was terrified of change and the idea of losing the relationship with my mum that involved going out places, anywhere, and bonding like mothers and daughters do. She didn’t ever seem to want to go out. Through the MS website I was able to express all these feelings and the situation and many responded with ideas on how to help my mum get out more and ways of spending time with her. Slowly we managed to make up for the time we had lost and my fears disappeared. We became closer than we had ever been before. I’m still unsure as to whether that was just down to me growing up and accepting what had happened. Although the climbing frame wasn’t as strong as it had previously stood when it was brand new, most of it had endured all the elements and the people and memories that had passed through it. Even today I sit on the swing to read or write, the garden is just as beautiful in the sunlight as it was when I was a child swinging to touch the sky or chasing my mum with a water gun. Just like the climbing frame, my mum will always share memories with me and I’ll always love her. That’s one thing time can never take away; emotions. The love I have for the swing and the sky blue slide will always be with me as will my love for my mum, not only as a hero but also as a best friend. Yet, unlike the climbing frame, the change and the time has made her stronger as a person and it’s this strength that I admire and hope I have too. As much as the climbing frame has been a huge part of my childhood and still is a beautiful part of my life; a symbol of strength and endurance which I think is true beauty, it can never compare to my mum. It can’t make me smile when I’m unhappy, I don’t hear it laugh and it can’t give me a hug or discuss boyfriends with me. There is nothing better than a mum. I am extremely proud of my mum and the way she has gracefully handled every hurdle that has come her way. I no longer regret a moment and through time, and our memories and experiences, we can learn and create a better future.
This moved me enough to post my first comment on this forum. I have to admit, I even had a couple of tears. Can't imagine how moved you must have been!
I wish your daughter every success with any future writing she chooses to do.
Made me cry.
Thank you for your kind comments.
It made me cry too. I don’t know how old your daughter is but she shows great maturity and understanding. You must be very proud.
That's a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing.
You must be a wonderful mum - to have such a wonderful daughter. l developed ms when l was pregnant with my daughter, which has
been the saddest part - as she has never known her mum as she was before this dreadful illness. She is now nearly 29yrs old - She calls in every morning and then again after work - mainly to drop her dog off for me to look after - but also just to check up on me. ln her teens she went through the 'Kevin' stage complete with the baseball hat on back to front.
What a treasure this essay is -and how proud you must be.
Love to you both,
Wow, wow, WOW. You clever, clever lady for bringing up such a beautiful daughter who has great talents and you clever, clever daughter for your art of recognition.
You are both truly blessed to have each other and also to have the compassion that you both obviously share.
Love to you both forever and always
What a special relationship. How proud you must be of your wonderful daughter.
Thank you for sharing.
I can only hope my 9 year old daughter will grow up feeling the same.
Thank you for sharing this with us x
We are so lucky to have daughters ! My daughter is also fantastic !!!! My son also happens to be this as well !!!.
Lucky I am