Me and my Mum


Alison with her Mum and her Dad's Mun When they asked me to write about Mother’s Day (this Sunday 14th March), I have to be honest and say that it’s incredibly difficult to try and encapsulate almost 50 years of memories of someone who is not only responsible for me being here, but has guided me and supported me through some of the hardest of life’s lessons.

I seriously don’t think there’s room on this page to put into words what I’ve learned from her so it’s probably best to go back a bit to when my world revolved around my brother and sister, my Mum and Dad.

Bloxham… big back garden and three small children all wanting to smile into the lens of a Box Brownie (photo below left).

Different garden, some years later with my Dad’s Mum and my Mum (photo left). Note the positioning of my hands!!! Awkward or what? And as my Mum pointed out to me… why would Nana have her handbag with her in her own garden? ­­­­­ Who knows?

Allyk2 But she did and I remember quite poignantly some years on when we had a picnic in the back garden with Nana, lots of sandwiches (crusts cut off), chocolate cake, and stewed pears! We were also asked to try Earl Grey tea which I loathed, but can still remember the beautiful bone china cups we drank it from…

Talking of food, it reminds me of a present I bought for my Mum for Mother's Day when I was about seven… a hot cross bun!  I didn't get much pocket money in those days you know but  I was so excited I bought it the weekend before and kept it in a supposedly 'air tight' box (where were the Lock and Locks when you needed them!). On the day, she had to pick the bits of mould off the bun, but she still ate it, and that to me is a true mother's love! 🙂

Alison with Mum and family Being a mum is different for all women. I seriously believe it depends on what you’ve been taught. You either change what you were brought up with with or use it as a template. Whichever way you choose from whatever you’ve learned, nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming love you feel for your own children. 

I have watched my three babies grow into strapping young men and a beautiful woman,  and yet I remember them so well when they were tiny and relied on me completely to give them what they needed. As the years have passed that need has changed, and they now have lives of their own. The direction they choose in their lives is more to do with who they are as individuals, and I applaud their individualism.

Alison with her Mum in London But… if I’m really honest, I’d give everything I have for them to be tiny again with their little arms around my neck, knowing that whatever the following day held, it was something we’d share…

However you spend Mothers Day, whether you’ve ever had children or not, simply by being here, someone gave birth to you. Let’s celebrate that. My love to you, Ali xx


  1. Julie February 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Loved your blog-as always!As you know very poignant to me at the moment.I sometimes wish Rebecca was younger at least I knew where she was then and she was ok.I find it strange when we drive past her infants school and see how small the children are, it’s hard to believe she was ever that small-and innocent!It seems like yesterday.She and my Mother were very close and she hung onto everything my Mother said!I’ve actually been to the cemetery this morning as my Mother would have been celebrating her Birthday this Sunday-have to say I had a few words with her!!
    Looking at you photo’s isn’t it interesting how fashions come back around?
    Hope you’re well and will keep you updated!!
    Take care
    Julie xx

  2. Chris Page February 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm -  Reply

    I owe Mum more than I could ever pay back for all the times she stayed with me when I was in hospital for months on end as a baby. Meanwhile Dad was at home looking after my elder brother, who was only a toddler himself. Now, 41 years later, me and my elder brother are Uncles to our younger brother’s two children. It would be three, but his first daughter was sadly Stillborn two years ago. Mum and Dad retired to Spain in 2003, and I’d say that my relationship with them has improved, because it’s forced me to live my life in a more responsible way, knowing they can’t just come and fix things like they used to.
    I hope your children appreciate their Mum as much as we do – and they buy you something nice!
    Chris xx

  3. dorothy February 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm -  Reply

    HI Alison
    I agree with you parents are so precious, and there is always certain memory’s that stick. Both are in ill heatlh hate seeing them like that, but i go everyday and do what i can she would do the same for me and has over the years. When you are younger you always think they are nagging but as you get older you realize it was good advice, i can hear myself with laura hope she does’nt think im a NAG she always say’s im the best mam in the world (I DO TRY) SURPOSE WE ALL DO. I too wish she was small again i would be younger and have no aches pains.hope arm is getting better take care.
    love best wishes.
    dorothy xxx

  4. Morag February 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    HI Alison
    I was so touched by your words about your Mum and it made me think a lot about my own mum – although every day I do think of her at some point, whether it is a word or a scent or a joke which reminds me. I lost my mum about 17 years ago and it was specially hard because she brought me up on her own, which was unusual at that time. I am an only one, so we were very close. I am now blessed with three children and understand what she meant when she used to say “just wait till you have your own children, you’ll know what I mean”. Like you I have two sons and a daughter, all grown into fantastic people, so mother’s day is always bitter sweet for me, but memories always stay. All the best to you and your family.
    Morag xx

  5. Daphne Dean February 20, 2010 at 9:56 am -  Reply

    Well done Alison, I agree your Mum is a treasure and I am looking forward to visiting her and Joe in a fortnight. To think she and I were at school together all those years ago, then busy friends when we both had our families small, and never thought we would still be friends in our 70’s. Lots of love to you and your family, Daph xxxx

  6. Breda Corless February 20, 2010 at 1:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi, Alison. So sorry to hear about the discomfort with your elbow. Thank goodness, the source of the problem was discovered and I now wish you better very soon. Must admit that Mother’s Day makes me rather sad. My own darling mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and has not spoken to my sister or myself for the past seven years. However, like you, I find it just great to remember all the fun times with Mum and, believe you me, she was such a joker who loved and lived life to the full. Take care for now, Breda.

  7. Maria Nunn February 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I really enjoyed your story,unfortunatly I lost my Mum just before Christmas so Mothers Day this year is going to be hard.
    But you have reminded me of my childhood and happier times, so thank you for that, we are all so busy these days we take things for granted we dont always remember to tell our loved ones how special they are so we should all make Mothers Day special.
    Hope your elbow gets better soon.

  8. Joanna Downey February 20, 2010 at 10:50 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison, what a beautiful piece you’ve written, I started reading it out to Bex, our older Daughter who’s home for the weekend, and had to stop because your words meant that I couldn’t speak. I totally agre with you about the influences that determine your style of “mothering”, I’ve done things differently from my Mum, however, I have her standards and values. Sadly she died in 2002 and Mothering Sunday is always a bittersweet day for all of us, especially this year as it falls three days before her birthday. Her death left a huge void in my life but I have wonderful memories and I’m so very proud to have had such an outstanding person as my Mum. Love from Jo.

  9. VIOLET February 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm -  Reply


  10. alison keenan February 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm -  Reply

    Julie thank you for taking time out when I know things are difficult. I’m glad for Rebecca that she had that relationship with her grandmother. Sadly mum’s mother died when I was 13 but I did get to spend some of my adult years with my father’s parents which was lovely – getting to know about him when he was younger, and sharing games of Scrabble! They actually outlived him by a couple of years… I’m sure you miss your mum too, but I hope that you and Rebecca will draw comfort from each other on Mother’s Day. The circle of life will continue I know 🙂 Take care, love Ali x

  11. alison keenan February 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm -  Reply

    Chris it was lovely to hear about your family, and I really appreciate you taking time out to write to me. It sounds as though you are a very close family and have supported each other through what I can only imagine must have been desperately sad times. The fact that you maintain a long distance relationship with your mum and dad too compounds how much you all care, and I hope that whether you spend the day with her or not, you will enjoy the spirit of Mothers Day. Love Ali x

  12. alison keenan February 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm -  Reply

    Dorothy, I am sorry that both your mum and dad are poorly – it must be a constant worry for you. I’m sure you are a comfort to them though, and I’m glad that you’re able to get to see them every day. Just being there makes all the difference. Not only are you a lovely daughter but I’m sure as Laura says, you’re the BEST mam 🙂 Certainly the little snippets of your life you written to me about make me smile, you seem to really enjoy each other. Take care and have a very happy and well deserved Mother’s Day. Love Ali x

  13. alison keenan February 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm -  Reply

    Dear Morag, how very sad for you to have lost your mum while I’m imagining your own children were very small. That terrible thing of needing to grieve as a child, and yet having to carry on with the adult/parental responsilities. So many things you would have wanted to share with her, and ask her advice on…but I’m sure the fact it was just you and her all those years means that all she taught you stayed with you. So glad that your did such a marvellous job bringing your own three up, and I hope that although bittersweet, your Mother’s Day will be a happy one. Thank you for writing to me and do keep in touch, love Ali x

  14. Helen February 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm -  Reply

    Ali – I’m in floods as I type this! Just reading your blog got me reaching for the tissues! Thankfully my mum is still around and will for the first time be taking a trans atlantic trip with me to New York at the beginning of March – its somewhere she has always wanted to visit and I felt it was only right to make her wish come true as she and my late dad had always done for me and my brother. My son is almost 19, and at the same university that Julia’s daughter went to. He is fiercely independent (until the washing needs doing!) and when he hugs me goodbye I just want to hang on to him wishing he was three all over again – I can still still the mop of white blonde hair with scabby knees and a cheeky grin! This year he’s given me US dollars to buy “something special” for my mother’s day present so I’m heading for Honora! Hope the elbow is on the mend – at least you know what it is now! love Helen xx

  15. alison keenan February 22, 2010 at 9:48 pm -  Reply

    And Daph, I’m sure mum’s looking forward to seeing you too! I’m still in touch with around six people I went to school with, and we’re all celebrating our 50th birthdays this year! No doubt we’ll still be laughing over the ‘good old days’ well into our 70s 🙂 Lovely to hear from you, Love Ali x

  16. alison keenan February 22, 2010 at 10:01 pm -  Reply

    Breda, I was so sorry to read about your mum. Such an incredibly difficult illness for all of you to have to deal with. A very dear family friend who had no children nursed her husband over 10 years and for the last year he really didn’t know who she was either…she would spend all her time talking to him about their past. I think it’s lovely that all your memories of your mum are such good ones, because that’s who she really is… and I’m sure that there’s a great deal of her personality and magic in you and your sister. My friend Jo’s mum was lost to us for many years, but all the fabulous family memories are the ones that still make us smile. My love to you, and thank you for writing Breda. It seems as though this special day will be difficult for many of you. Ali xx

  17. alison keenan February 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm -  Reply

    Maria, thank you writing to me about your mum. I am so sorry to hear it was so recent, and no doubt Christmas was difficult for you too… I’m glad my funny old photos brought back memories of your own childhood, and thank you for reminding all of us to cherish what we have while we have it. I’m sure your mum always knew how much she was loved. Ali xx

  18. alison keenan February 23, 2010 at 10:41 am -  Reply

    Dear Jo, I so admire your courage and honesty and thank you for sharing memories of your mum. I’m sure for all she was you are, and your daughter Bex is still to be. It’s funny the things that become a part of us that are so much a part of our mothers. Not just things they taught us – like how to make a bed properly with hospital corners! – but the things we learned without being told… Love to you and Bex, and thank you again for taking the time to write. It means a lot. Ali x

  19. alison keenan February 23, 2010 at 10:53 am -  Reply

    Helen, I have to say I’ve shed a few tears myself reading yours and the other lovely replies I’ve had. What a wonderful thing for you to have arranged this trip to New York for your mum. Your dad would be really proud I’m sure to know that you’re taking her, and how kind of your son to have gone to the trouble of getting money changed to dollars for you 🙂 I would say Honora is an excellent place to visit! I hope you both have a fabulous time. My sister and I took mum to Venice for her 70th birthday and it was a very special time for us all. Thanks for writing Helen, Love Ali x

  20. alison keenan February 23, 2010 at 11:01 am -  Reply

    Dear Violet, a mum after my own heart…. and isn’t it strange that so many other memories fade into insignificance, yet those of our children when they were small always stay bright….? I too loved the bath and then bedtime story routine. I managed to read at night to Jack until he was seven which I really enjoyed. Although when I was tired I’d try to skip a paragraph or two, but he knew the text off by heart, so I didn’t get away with it 🙂 Glad to hear your mum is still with you and I hope that you’ll have a happy mothers day however, and whoever you spend it with. Thanks for writing to me, it’s much appreciated. Love Ali x

  21. DebbieG February 23, 2010 at 7:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    You’ve made me all teary,too! You are a great mum which is why your words are so powerful!
    Lady Greenwood x

  22. alison keenan February 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm -  Reply

    Lady Greenwood, you are a sweetheart and a fantastic mum too 🙂 Thank you Love Lady K x x

  23. Julie February 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Thanks for your last message. It’s just dawned on me that Mother’s day will be a year to the date that I had my accident! Although it’s been a long hard year I don’t now where it’s gone! It’ll be a strange weekend really as it’s also the anniversary that my Father passed away. Will be seeing “my wonderful and beautiful” Rebecca though!She’s doing well,no other news but will keep you updated.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Take care
    Julie xx

  24. alison keenan February 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm -  Reply

    Julie thank you for the update and I hope that by spending the day with Rebecca you’ll be able to make some happy memories to replace the rather sad and troubling ones associated with that date. Take care and hope you too have a lovely weekend. Ali xxx

  25. Doe Brown March 6, 2010 at 8:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, what beautiful words you have written, I lost my mum 22years ago, I know we all think our Mum’s are the bet in the world, but my Mum was wonderful she had nine children, and she was the best Mum in the world, I still miss her so much, This year will be so sad as our son Simon died quite suddenly the end of July last year, he was 34years old, so there will not be his Mothers day greetings this year, but I will treasure the lovely text message he sent to me on my mobile last year on Mothers Day, God bless you Ali, hope your elbow keeps on improving, lots of love, Doe XX

  26. alison keenan March 21, 2010 at 9:45 am -  Reply

    Dear Doe, I have only just found what you wrote to me some weeks ago, and am so sorry that Mothers Day for you this year will I’m sure have been an incredible struggle – as not doubt most days are for you still. I imagine you were a young mum yourself when you lost your mother, and now to have to cope with losing Simon and not have her to comfort you must be so hard. That fact that you still have the text confirming how much you were loved is I hope, a comfort. Words, whether written or spoken, mean so much… I just wish there was something I could write that would help…All I would like to say is that having come from a large family, as you do, I am certain all 34 years of Simon’s life will have been filled with a special love and caring. You will have learned from your mum how to make a loving family home, and that’s not something all children are blessed with. To love and be loved – even when that person is no longer physically here – to me is something you carry with you for a lifetime. Stay strong Doe, and hold fast to your memories, they are yours forever. With my love, Ali

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