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A portrait a week, every week, in 2013.

—Monica.

I took this photo last week on Mother’s Day. Myself, Monica and Aoife went for breakfast. We talked about parenting, birth, each other, our family and relationships. It was really nice and thankfully occasions like this are not limited to a once a year tradition…my mother my sister and I regularly do things together. They both drive me crazy and I haven’t been given the nick-name ‘witch’ by Aoife for no particular reason but family wouldn’t be family without turbulence.

I know that someday I am going to be a great mother, and I have Monica to thank for that. She has shown me that it is hard and frustrating and constant but she has also shown me how rewarding, beautiful and fun it will be.

I am frustratingly awaiting independence and total self-sufficiency and I have Monica to thank for that too.  She has been patiently and selflessly teaching myself and my three siblings to look after ourselves for the past thirty years. We don’t thank her enough for that. I don’t. But I hope that the way we conduct ourselves, the relationships we hold dear, the way we read before bed and the fact that we can cook and clean (though we don’t always!) and shop show our mother what a tremendous job she did. I hope that the adults we have become reflect the childhood that she gave us.

The more I grow up and begin to resist the more challenging our relationship gets. To venture out into the world and grow into myself both Monica and I know that my siblings and I have to leave the safe home she has built for us and create our own.

After this period is over, when I have moved on, moved out and have begun building a life for myself, with children of my own, our relationship will be different yet again. Each phase is difficult but rewarding and once it begins to pass it becomes apparent how fleeting it was. I will never again be the baby she fed and shushed and rocked, or the little child who crawled onto her knees to read stories, or the pre-teen who watched tv curled up using her lap as a pillow. I take comfort in the hope that I will one day be able to watch her do the same with her grandchildren.