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I have had a wonderful Christmas day/Birthday.

Lots of birthday greetings via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, text messages, emails and phonecalls (although I did miss one from Romania, which is a bit annoying!)

I spent the afternoon with my Mum, brother, sister and aunt, having lunch at my mums.   We ended up laughing lots and I was very spoilt.

As I was sitting there listening to the banter around the table I felt this swell of love for everyone there.   I am lucky with the family I have, we have always had a close bond and great respect for each other.

My mum is a mum in a million, she has a huge heart, a good (but crap!) sense of humour and she has always let us lead our own lives, allowing us to move forward to become the people we are today.

She is also one of the most generous and open people you will ever meet.

She has stood by me and my decisions throughout my life, although not always agreeing with them, always supporting me.  Always proud of me.

We were taught to always be honest, to say what is on our minds and to always remember that what we give out, we will get back ten fold … and she has not been wrong.

She has taken the time to be very nice to various women in my life, because they made me happy, so she was happy.

She has voiced her fears about some .. and sadly, in retrospect, she has been right.     I am too much like her at times, too soft and too forgiving.

I have at times tried to change this about me … but then I see my mum, and my heart swells with pride… if I can half the woman she is .. I will be happy.

We never had a lot of money, I was a council house girl, my dad a Gardener and my mum worked in children’s homes and latterly as a Social Work Assistant.   When I was picked to play for Scotland at hockey we had to buy our own kit, tracksuits, strips, sticks etc .. which all added up to quiet an amount .. but my parents sacrificed a lot, including the chance to watch me play for Scotland, to make sure that I had everything I needed so I would not look like the “poor relation” of the team.

They also surprised me that year by paying (in secret) for me to go on the School trip to Italy … I hadn’t asked them because I knew they had spent a lot on me that year but they decided I needed to be “rewarded” for making them so proud of me.  The rest of the family did not have a holiday that year.    

During the bad time I had with depression last year, I eventually spoke to my mum about it … but she already knew … she had been watching me, waiting on me to tell her … not wanting to push me … and when I did … she cried with me … and then said “you are my daughter, I have always admired the independent, strong person that you are, this will pass” 

She was right… again.

This Christmas felt so different from last year.   I felt at peace, I felt happy, I felt relaxed, I felt loved.

My family are good people.  I am so proud of them.    I am lucky to have them and I am grateful.