A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Twin daughters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twin daughters. Show all posts

Monday, 20 June 2016

To my daughters as they leave uni...

Anything is possibleIt seems like days rather than years since you were switching classes at school, hosting stage shows for Beanie Babies and loved playing with cars, rather than dolls. My sweet little bundles of mischief... all fun and laughter, now all grown and ready to face the world after three years at uni.

Your mum has no idea how the time has passed so quickly. All I know is that you have grown up a lot. Occasionally you agree with something I've said and that makes me smile. It's not so very long ago that we didn't agree about anything at all. I guess that makes you your mother's daughters. You compare me to the mum in The Goldbergs and yep, I'm always fighting your corner and wanting the best for you both.

I grew up in the eighties where my own experience of parenting was a decidedly laid-back affair. I vowed to be different when I had a family of my own and I was. If you're lucky enough to have children some day, I'm sure you'll create your own style of parenting and want to kick yourself for all the things you did wrong in later life too. You learn from mistakes. It's taken me a long time to realise that children need to fall down a few dozen hundred times and learn how to fix their own problems.

While at university we've had our share of early morning calls and attempted computer fixes over the phone.  There have been calls via Skype when a mum knows instinctively when something is right (or wrong) and I've pleaded for kisses and dished out hugs (not always reciprocated). We even did an early morning sprint across country when concern turned to despair. It all worked out fine in the end.

It's still being a mum, but not as you know it - this parenting from a distance. And just as I'm getting used to life at home with your dad and the cat, life is about to change all over again.

You are going to have to humour me for a while as I get used to the new status quo. I will try my  best to leave you to get on with your own lives and if I don't, feel free to remind me.

It's time for you to unleash yourselves on the world...

Be awesome. Go, have a few adventures and, if something isn't right, don't be afraid to change it for something that is. Chances are the career of your dreams won't happen overnight and instead of going from A to B to find whatever it is you're looking for, there will be a few pit-stops along the way. Life is all about reinvention and re-writing the rule book when it no longer meets your requirements. If something makes you unhappy, then it's time to move on and find something else.

For the first time ever, your future is unwritten. How scary and utterly brilliant is that?! 

Be happy,

Mum x

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
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Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Year That Was... 2015

2015, Looking backAs 2015 draws to a close, it's time to look back over the previous twelve months and reflect on everything that's happened. I have no idea how an entire year has disappeared quite so fast. I'm guessing that's what happens as you get older. I remember a time not so very long ago when a year seemed to last forever.

With the number of blog-related collaborations increasing, I've enjoyed lots of new experiences and been lucky enough to work with some great companies during 2015. Apart from blogging, I also worked on the General Election, secured a job as an exam invigilator and continued to mentor at two schools. December saw the offer of not one, but two new and exciting roles. Unfortunately, I had to turn one down and have given up one of my mentoring roles, but I start my new job next week and look forward to lots of fresh challenges for 2016.

Special Birthdays
Mr A turned fifty and we went to Mexico for two glorious weeks of sun, sea and relaxation. My daughters also celebrated their 21st birthdays. As Sophia had recently arrived home from the US and was about to go back to uni, the partying was more low-key than anticipated. We held a party at home and took our daughters to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London.  

In June we spent a chaotic week in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the sea while moving daughter no 1 and a friend into new uni accommodation. We hogged the lift and got locked out of the apartment... I could only apologise to fellow residents for the disruption. At the end of September we booked a last-minute holiday to Mexico for Mr A's 50th and wondered why life isn't like this more often?

Both daughters are now in their final year at university. How did that happen already? Sophia travelled to the US to work for Camp America for the entire summer and Olivia started writing for the local newspaper and university magazine. Naturally, I am one very proud mum.

My grandmother died in August, just as week off celebrating her 96th birthday. She'd had a rough year, but I was amazed by the kindness from everyone who took care of her during her final months. Gran was an  amazing lady and I can't tell you how much she is missed.

And for 2016...
If all goes to plan... both daughters will graduate and there will be two graduation ceremonies in 2016.  Dissertations are underway and final degree modules are being completed. Sophia's been hired by Camp America for a second year and plans on leaving to teach abroad when she comes back from the US in September. Olivia's applying for internships at magazines and thinking about visiting her sister in the US next summer.

And for me... well, I'll continue to go wherever life takes me, which was a promise I made to myself after working in the NHS for 26 years. Hopefully there will be lots of new and exciting challenges. I don't normally make New Year's Resolutions, but my first blogging collaboration for the New Year provides a great opportunity to change something that's been troubling me for a very long time. I've decided that this is the best New Year's resolution I could possibly make. Watch this space. 

With love and best wishes for a magical New Year. See you in 2016.

Celebrations, New Year

Copyright ©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Thursday, 10 September 2015

21st Birthday Musings...

This time twenty one years ago I was 38 weeks pregnant with twins.

Pre-babies I was completely in control of whatever was going on in my life and giving birth to my daughters, came as a shock. I may have sworn at my husband, the midwife and the anaesthetist - but then everything that could have possibly gone wrong, actually did.

My daughters were born perfectly healthy at 09:46am (Olivia) and 09:47am (Sophia) on 13th September 1994 and for that I was very, very grateful. Their mum however, was a bit of a mess spent ten days in hospital (with babies), one night at home (with babies), followed by another five days in hospital (without babies). This was not the introduction to motherhood I'd planned, and when Mr A suddenly found himself with two daughters to look after, he did the only rational thing he could think of, and moved in with his parents. He still turned up on time for visiting every day with both babies though :o)

I remember reading through the birth plan after arriving home for the second time, and laughing at the realisation that not a single thing on it, had actually happened. Being a mum has followed a similar theme ever since and I've learnt that it's dangerous to plan to the nth degree - as life tends to throw a lot of curveballs when you're a parent.

The word 'deluded' springs to mind when I think of my pre-baby musings on what it meant to be a mum. I'd mistakenly thought that the babies would slot effortlessly into my hectic life and that I'd have everything sussed in no time at all. Naturally, that is not what happened.

This is the picture that always makes me smile when I flick back through the baby album. We'd just arrived home from the hospital, deposited our gorgeous babies on the sofa and thought, 'What do we do now?' And just because you've given birth to two babies - does not mean you're twice the parent.

Olivia and Sophia
Olivia's cry was so quiet that I worried she'd miss a feed. Sophia's cry however, more than compensated for her sister's and there was no way she was going to miss out on anything. Weighing in at only 2 and 2.2 Kg, the girls needed to be fed every three hours and for the first three months we were held to ransom by two creatures whose combined weight was less than that of the cat. How is this even possible? was a question I'd ask myself daily as the hours vanished, and still I hadn't found time to get dressed. What followed was three months of chaos. There were days when I couldn't have told you what day of the week it was, or whether it was day or night.

By fifteen months the girls had turned into mischievous toddlers who were capable of running at lightning speed in opposite directions. As a mum I learned all about risk assessment and how to work out which daughter was most likely to injure herself first.

Throughout their school years, the girls worked incredibly hard and were mostly well-behaved. I say mostly, as there were several incidents involving switching classes. At parents' evenings, their teachers would be so filled with praise that I'd often utter the words, 'Are you sure you have the right children?'

The teen years were an adventure I don't think I'd have the stamina to repeat. There were tears and tantrums (mostly mine), flinging things out of bedroom windows, and rooms so messy, that it was impossible to open the doors, or see the carpet. Mr A seriously considered moving into the shed and mostly kept his head down to avoid the missiles. 

I have no idea how my daughters have grown into such happy twenty one year olds and I guess that as parents, Mr A and myself have managed to get some of the parenting stuff right. I suspect there was also a lot of making things up as we went along, and getting things wrong as well. But we kept going no matter what, and somehow survived to tell the tale.

And so, I guess all that needs to be said is Happy Birthday to my gorgeous daughters. You turned my life upside down, but I love you both more than you'll ever know and wouldn't change a single thing even if I could. I'm so proud of you both for growing up to be such well-adjusted young adults in spite of having me as your mum.

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Monday, 31 August 2015

The Week That Was - August 31st

It's been an amusing week in the Anderton house. I've loved having daughter, Olivia, home and have really enjoyed her company. I'm trying not to think about the girls leaving for their final year at university in the third week of September.

This was my week...
On the way to the supermarket on Monday, I spied my husband's old car and waved like an idiot at the person behind the wheel, before realising that it wasn't being driven by my husband. Apologies to the lovely lady I waved at - who obviously had no idea who I was. I can only blame my hormones for the momentary lapse.

I woke early on Tuesday morning, slap-bang in the middle of a hot flush and came downstairs dreaming up plans for Olivia and Sophia's 21st birthday party. I also chatted to a couple of people on Twitter who were similarly sleep deprived. It seems there are a lot of us around at 4am. Later that evening I fell asleep on the sofa at 9pm. How come I take my best naps in front of the TV?

After weeks of asking Olivia what she would like for her birthday, we went shopping on Wednesday morning. My instructions were simply, 'I've stuck a four hour ticket on the car, please find something.' Neither of my daughters is materialistic - which is good, except for when you have no idea what to buy them. Olivia came back with a small selection of gifts. Now all I need to do is find something for Sophia - she arrives home from the US on Saturday. As we haven't seen our youngest daughter since 20th June, I'm predicting lots of hugs, kisses and sleep after her long journey from LA to New York and from NY to Heathrow.

On Thursday, I asked Olivia if she thought a themed party would be a good idea. 'That's an excellent idea,' she said. 'We could have a Harry Potter party. You and Dad could come as Dobby and Kreacher.' She went on to pick characters for almost every member of the family, plus close friends and neighbours. Party plans are underway - sans theme, as I didn't want to upset our guests. So far I've bought balloons, cake candles, bunting and booked a delivery slot with Waitrose.

On Friday, my gorgeous nephew turned thirteen. How did that happen exactly? Thirteen years ago we were on holiday in Gran Canaria when he was born - seven weeks early, perfectly healthy and weighing only 3lb 3oz. It's hard to believe that he's almost as tall as I am, or that he's a teenager. Fortunately he still loves hugs, but I'm no longer allowed to mess with his hair :o(

My sister hosted a party for my nephew on Saturday and miraculously, the weather was kind. We drank a lot of Pimms in the garden and I taught my nephew a fun game involving clothes pegs. I have a suspicion that my sister isn't going to thank me for this. It was dark by the time we arrived home and I was rather taken with this view of moonlight filtering through clouds from my bedroom window.

On Sunday I made a batch of mini scones that resembled The Leaning Tower of Pisa. The plan was to freeze these ready for the party in a couple of weeks, but as they didn't turn out as planned, we ate them instead. I'm hopeful that batch number two will be more successful.
The Leaning Scones of Pisa

My favourite blog for this week comes from The 40 (ish) year old Domestic Goddess. I snorted with laughter as I read her post: Was my Mum really a Hairdresser?? My mum was also a hairdresser and I have a similar assortment of hideous snapshots hidden away in photo albums. To this day my mother wonders why I hardly ever visit the hairdressers.

Here's to another crazy week. Have fun whatever you're up to.

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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