Family

A fear of tomorrow deprives us of today.

Over the past few weeks events, tragedies and atrocities have occurred which have made me reflect and think. In these times our grief turns to those most close to the person; the parents, siblings, family and friends, then you begin to look in the mirror of life and think quite selfishly ‘what if that was me, or my family’. A natural reaction to sadness thrust upon you by something out of your control. You ultimately  turn to the people closest to you and feel grateful for what you still have and feel grief for the people who have lost the most precious gift of life closest to them.

We can’t stop things from happening to good people, we can’t put our lives on hold incase ‘something’ happens. I have a number of fears that have led me to writing this ….

A fear that we spend so much time rushing to get things done that we never ‘have time’ to stop and inhale the beauty of today …

A fear that we wish time away because we do not like what we are doing or who we are in this very moment …

A fear that one day we will run out of time so say the things we should have said…

Instead we must always be mindful of;

  • what we have
  • who we have and
  • who we are to ensure that we live our short lives to the fullest.

So today, I have reflected upon some of the things my parents have taught me on the way, it hasn’t always been a walk in the park nor have I always shown my appreciation for the values they have given me. But here is my chance to do just that.

I imagine that if there is an external super being or the world is one big goggle box that this is what the narrator would say about the life lessons taught by the legends that are: Duncan and Donise.

1. “YOU ARE NEVER ALONE”:

Despite living in different countries for most of the year you are never without them. As Donise says: “What is a 3 hr plane journey?”.

2. “YOUR FUTURE IS INFLUENCED BY YOUR PAST”:
No matter what you want to achieve in life reflecting on the past helps to inform your future. Regrets are only lessons that have not been learnt and there are certain people in your past who are very much in the present:
You have always been inspired by the courageousness, bravery and defiance of women in the past and present, most notably your Granny, Nanna and AJ.
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  • Your Granny was a strong defiant woman who taught you the value of hard work, and the morals and virtues to follow in order to find peace. She also influenced your eclectic taste in music and introduced you to flapjack a.k.a Granny Crumble
  • Nanna taught you the value of giving to the people who need it the most and taking people in who have nowhere to go. She would be proud to see you continually defending the people who are unable to defend themselves. She is also the person you inherited your taste in clothes and fashion from and wonderful sayings that do not make an ounce of sense. …. ‘its not the cough that carries you off, its the coffin that they carry you off in’ as an example.
  • AJ taught you that love does not have an expiry date. You may lose the one you love but making sure their soul lives on allows for those around you to get to know and love somebody they will never meet. AJ also taught you that despite losing everything, as long as you have people around you and your faith, you will get through it. You will smile again. You will laugh again. It will take time but you will get there.

995626_10152676892624456_5128214610711225660_nBut this is not to say that you are not inspired by men. Quite the opposite ….

  • Granddad: you will always be Granddads little ‘Tattie’ and the epitome of the sparkle the first Granddaughter gives to her Granddad; the sparkle which you are all too often familiar with when seeing Duncan and Erin today. Your Granddad would be proud to see you still playing football; the last smile he gave you was hearing about your hat-trick against the scousers for school, a memory that will stay with you forever.
  • Granddad Lees – A man whose bravery, courage and honour remains a part of us all to this this.
  • The boys
3. “BUSINESS CAN BE PLEASURE”

As a little girl you loved going into Warburtons on a Saturday morning with your Dad. You would sit on his knee in the car and steer it into the car park, you would close your eyes and let the sweet smell of bread tickle your nose and you would get over excited at wearing a blue hair net and ear plugs ready for the ‘boss’s walk around’. One day you asked him why he loved his job so much, his response was along the lines of:

“The key to making any job into something you love is to treat the business like it is yours. I look after my employees like they are working directly for me. I get to know them, and their families which makes us all get a long and enjoy the job we do.”
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4. “LIFE IS NOT ONE ISOLATED EVENT BUT A SERIES OF MISHAPS, OUTAKES, AND ACHIEVEMENTS”
Just because you have failed one assignment,  failed your driving test or the dog has eaten your designer shoes what does it matter? Are you still healthy? Yes. Are you alive? Yes. Brush your self off and carry on. 
5. “FOLLOWING FOOTSTEPS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOUR FEET HAVE TO FIT THE MOULD OF EVERYBODY ELSE”
“Of course you want to be successful like your Mamma and Pops and the boys but you Bex, are a little different. You always have been and you always will be. You will take your journey not on the straight path by placing your feet within the moulds of everyone else, you will get distracted by shiny things, butterflies and the track of curiosity. It may take you longer to figure out how to get back on the main road but that is what you enjoy about the adventures of life. And by gosh the things you will learn from the stumbles, the muck and the hike. Take care whilst you tread, be mindful and enjoy the ride!”
6. SELF-CARE: MUMS KNOWS BEST:
“There is only so long you can live off pints and adrenaline Bex”.
7. LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR DRAMA
The only argument you have ever had and left unresolved was one with your Dad, you were 15; an argument so small and insignificant that you can’t even remember what it was! Your paths divided; Dunc headed to the Burnley game and you trotted off to the cinema in your new playboy shoes – yeah you did think you were something that night. Little did you know in that present moment that Dunc would suffer a blood clot and you would be preparing to say goodbye just hours later. Since then you have never left an argument with anyone open. Instead, every time you have to say goodbye,  you hug a little tighter, you say what you mean and appreciate the intricate value of time.
8. “YOU WILL FIND FAMILY IN FRIENDS AND FRIENDS WILL FIND FAMILY IN YOU.”
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9 . “YOU’RE AMAZING JUST THE WAY YOU ARE”
Bex, you will complain that you are fat, your teeth stick out, your boobs are small, your nose is crooked and you have ginger hair. These are the ingredients for someone who is less than ordinary.
10. “GO TO UNIVERSITY FOR THE EXPERIENCE. IF YOU GET A DEGREE IT’S A BONUS”
 You never appreciated this logic until you graduated, became VP and reflected upon your journey. You are a different woman to the little girl who left in 2009. You are no longer narrow minded, you listen to appreciate not to reply, you understand rather than judge, your fuse is dampened by the skill of conscientiousness, you fly the flag for equality and challenge prejudice and discrimination at any given opportunity. Pat on the back for getting a piece of paper and all that but big congratulations for opening your mind and becoming a decent human being.
11. “YOUR MUM WILL BE THE BEST TEACHER YOU EVER HAD”
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In the classroom the poems still rattle around your brain;
535983_10150745357229456_549059764_nColonel Fazackerly Butterworth Toast bought an old castle complete with a ghost, but someone or other forgot to declare to Colnel Faz-ack that the spectre was there, early one evening while waiting to dine the colonel was taking a fine sherry wine when the ghost with a furious flash and a flare shot out of the chimney and shivered beware …..
And the songs related to history ….
Take off your coat walter, lay it over that pool of water, take off your coat and enjoy the walter raleigh blues
Take this is piece of tobacco take a sniff its got a really big K-O best of all is when you rub it up small put it in mouth and kap-pow what a taste11350473_10153366385994456_9071343400049713850_n
I don’t wish to know it, put it in your pipe and smoke
What a good idea I hadn’t thought about doing that
And the dances ….
Bewitched – Blame It On The Weatherman
S Club – Reach
You would hate being challenged in class (especially in Maths) and yes she did pick on you to make an example that ‘Mrs Lees’s daughter’ was not getting an easy ride. But Mrs Lees has been your coach ever since – giving you a kick up the bum when needed, pushing you to ask for help and challenging you to always do better.
12. TRAVEL AND LEARN
Every holiday Dunc and Donise would have you up at the crack of dawn ready for a ‘run out’. The car would be packed with sandwiches, pop and crisps. Dunc would have a moody blues CD on, followed by Donises Anastacia then Rod Steward to even it out. You would be sat in the back reading Harry Potter or complaining about being hot. And bored. And tired. And hot. And are we there yet? Donise looks at the map.
Yes. We are here. Where? A castle, a monument, a famous place, a football stadium. You name it, you have been to it. Dragging your feet, scowling on pictures. But now you realise the places you have been, the things you have seen and the lessons you have learnt will stay with you forever.
Apart from the Camembert Factory which was in fact a closed down shop.
Or Rod Stewarts house which turned out to be a collection of ruins.
13. “MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING”
Bex, you will be fortunate to live in a nice house and have enough food on the table but you will work for what you spend and appreciate every penny you receive. You have seen families who use money to gloss over crumbling foundations and fill the cracks in unhappy homes with materialist things that oppress conversation, imagination and genuine family play time. You could all be without the nice house and M&S onion Chutney and still be happy, even if it means you all had to wear grass stained jeans; they are the marks of a great time though right?
………Having said that, the annual London shopping trips would not be the same!
14. “KEEP ON CHANGING THE WORLD, GIRL!”
You wear your heart on your sleeve and put your soul into everything you do which often leaves you disillusioned and hurt. Don’t let the people who try and squash your imagination, spirit and creativity get you down, keep chipping away girl! You will get there.
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15 RESPONSIBILITY
Christmas 1999, Father Christmas brought you your first rabbit named Thumper. For the next 11 years you looked after Thumper, Junior and Rooney in turn. Feeding them, watering them, cleaning them out and at the age of 9 you even drafted a letter to Crufts because you believed Thumper was worthy of being a dog. The responsibility of having your own babies taught you what is was like to care, love and lose the one thing that meant the world to you.
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16. . “LIFE ISN’T EASY BUT IT’S HARDER TO GET THROUGH IT ALONE”
You will experience things that you don’t understand.
You will have questions that you will never find the answer to.
You will be so tried you can barely speak.
You will be so heartbroken you can’t sleep.
You will get so confused that nothing makes sense.
You will dig yourself a hole that you can’t see a way out of.
And you will ask whats the point? There isn’t one. You come home, we put the kettle on and provide you with plenty of chocolate.
(The Labrador and Cadbury type).

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17. “WE WORRY BECAUSE WE CARE”
Dunc and Donise can be a little overbearing when it comes to your life, especially when you are on the move. Its only because they care and you don’t fill them with confidence, a few examples that spring to mind:522121_10150991659874456_1716008778_n
  • In California you wrote off a car and were stranded in the dessert for hours on end, without water or phone signal
  • On the way home from California you missed your flight and managed to talk your way through 3 airports onto 3 flights for free. How?
  • You once fell asleep on a train to Lincoln and it took you 8 hours to get there
  • You once pretended to be asleep on a train to London because you missed the one you were booked on to and the second was £200. You had 20p on your person at the time.
  • You once picked up a hitchhiker off the side of the road and thought nothing of it
  • You once ran a marathon even though you can’t run, you are asthmatic and trained 10 miles short of 26 miles
  • You once lost your drivers license and had no idea you had until the police turned up6037_238675996275830_1866651640_n to the house with it
  • You had no idea that you couldn’t park on yellow lines until the police turned up because you blocked the whole road for hours,
  • You once had 6 iPhones in 18 months,
  • You once stuck a fork in a light switch to make it work
  • You once fell in a freezing canal because you were too busy gabbing

You are an inspiring head strong and motivated woman but bloody hell you have no common sense and there is only so long your good luck will last; there is only you who would smash your car up on the M6 and walk away without a scratch. There is only you who complained to Apple that there is a fault with your phone, when in actual fact you dropped it in your cheesy chips after a night out, they took it apart and agreed with you. HOW does this  happen?

18. “WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN PUSH THEM INTO DOING EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING”

Growing up there was nothing that you were not allowed to be involved with; football, trampolining, netball, dancing, Youth Club, Brownies, music, shows, part time work, rounders to name a few. Being involved made you meet new people, appreciate different cultures and opinions, develop into a leader and express frustration through a sweet connection with a pigs bladder.

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19. WHATEVER THE WEATHER….

Duncan and Donise have always been there come rain or shine. Whether that be Dunc putting his hand in the caravan toilet to retrieve your favourite dummy or Donise trying on Mercurial Vapours for you in the middle of Piccaddilly circus because nowhere else in the country had them. Or perhaps when they are always at the end of the phone or travelling the country watching you play for Burnley, Chester or Airbus. Thinking about it – try and work out how many days they have spent on the touchline, how many miles they have travelled or how many times Dunc has shouted the following:1174257_490305667726065_913840015_n

“SQUEEZE”;

“Get on the shoulder Bex”;

“Look at the state of their right back, use your pace and run at her”;

“If you get half a chance, with this wind it could go anywhere”;

“STRETCH THEM!”

Quite a few!

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Even Dee is a regular on the touchline.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, when you see your supporters there you always try to; run a little harder, tackle a little stronger, shoot a little better and on rare occasions you actually manage to head the ball.

20. JUST BE YOURSELF
Last but not least: People can take away your sparkle, they can bruise your ego and intrude on your dreams but they can never take away who you truly are, only if you let them.
It is often seen as a cliche but life is too short. So from now on I am going to strive to:
  • Make it clear to the people around me how much they mean to me
  • Always be the person I want to be; strong, happy and inspiring
  • Be more mindful of the legacy I want to leave behind

Because one day, our fears will ring true. Our time will be up.

Love you always.

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