I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be. (The Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston)
I’ve always been surrounded by children. I was the eldest of six at eight years old. My dad comes from a family of fifteen and my mam a family of six so we also had lots of cousins and family was always so important. My godson, my nephew, was born in 2001, followed by my goddaughter, my niece, in 2004. They lived with us in our family home for a time and this brought a special bond and love I will always hold dear. I have welcomed eight more precious nephews and nieces, each one unique (even my twin nieces), each one I love dearly. Sometimes I wondered if it was because of my love for them that I yearned for our own baby to love, but the truth is I always wanted to be a mammy, for as long as I can remember, and I will always be grateful to Liam and Grace for making me their mammy.
When I told my nephews and nieces that I was pregnant they were so excited (the ones old enough to understand), they had been innocently asking me for years when I was going to have a baby. I remember them rubbing my belly and asking each week how Rocky 1 and 2 (the nicknames I had given my precious cargo) were doing. They’d laugh when I’d tell them Rocky 2 was misbehaving again, wouldn’t stay still for a scan photo. I remember my niece saying Rocky 2 was her favourite and she bet she was a girl, how right she was!
It breaks my heart that they were left devastated when their little cousins died. I hate that they had to learn that babies die, I wanted them to hold onto their childhood innocence for as long as possible, I never wanted them to know how cruel this World can be. But I think I underestimated their strength and resilience. I’m so proud that my nephews and nieces have always shown their unconditional love for Liam and Grace. They said their names right from the start, they include them in their conversations and they ask me lots of questions about them. While some adults were struggling to find the right words I love that children just say what they’re thinking. I’ll always be grateful for their innocence, curiosity and above all their love for their little cousins.
On a Saturday morning all the cousins meet in my mam and dad’s and play together (and fight). Oh how I wish Liam and Grace were in the middle of all the mayhem. My 9 and 10 year old nieces regularly put on a concert to showcase their latest dance moves and songs. I get the VIP seat (closest seat to the stage with a free bottle of water, lol) as they include a “sad song” for their cousins Liam and Grace. It amazes me all the ways they find to include them; sending me cards and pictures with their names on them, buying and making things for their grave, telling me they weren’t afraid to go on the big slide as Liam was on one shoulder and Grace the other, to putting on blue and pink eyeshadow…..They find lots of ways to include them and it makes me so proud. Each one of them enriches my life, they make me smile, laugh, (when no one else could) and they’ve helped me more than they’ll ever know. So thank you Sean, Shauna, Aoibhe, Ciara, Ellie, Molly, James, Mya, Kyle, Sophia and Alex xx
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.