It is hard to believe that 14 years have passed since my beautiful granddaughter, Lillian, was born.
But then, I suppose, everyone says that, don’t they ?
Everyone comments on how fast time flies; how policemen look younger; and how everything was different in the “good old days” !
But, it is indeed 14 yrs since we were waiting around at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham. 14 years since my husband and my son-in-law were pacing the floor and nipping outside for cigarettes. 14 years since we drank endless cups of coffee in the canteen and my husband complained bitterly because it was “Italian Week” at lunch-time and he had to have pasta, whereas the following week it would have been “Mexican Week” and he could have had his favourite Chilli ! He has often teased our daughter about it and said she “Could have hung on another week”.
But in those years, I have watched Lillian grow from a precocious toddler into a beautiful young lady. I could not be prouder of the way she has coped with all that life has thrown at her. She has been diagnosed as dyslexic, which was a blow as she has always harboured the ambition to be a Vet . But she has not let it hold her back and has worked hard at school and gained excellent grades in Maths and Music and as many other subjects as possible. She loves the Performing Arts and always features prominently in school productions. All this, though, is the sort of thing that any proud grand-parent would say ………I am biased and bound to sing her praises.
But, there is something else that makes me especially proud.
Early last year, her parents decided to divorce. This was devastating in its impact on the family. We had all lived together in a huge, comfortable house. Lillian and her baby brother, Gabriel (who is 8yrs younger), had always been cosseted and cushioned from the hard reality of the outside world. But, the big house had to be sold, my husband and I moved to East Yorkshire, my son-in-law moved back to Yorkshire too and my daughter had to rent a small house in St Helens, as she had promise of work there. Schools were changed and friends left behind. That was bad enough. But then my daughter’s back problems (an old injury from her horse-riding days) began to get worse. Lillian had to take a much more prominent part in helping with her little brother. She did this with her usual kindness and good nature; helping to dress him on a morning and organising his breakfast etc. Then my daughter had to have an operation. she had to give up her job and became a “single mother” living on benefits. For all those of you who think that people on benefits have it easy……….let me assure you, they don’t. My daughter had to fight for every penny she receives and with every fight you lose a little more of your dignity; a little more of your spirit. But through all this, Lillian was supportive. Never moaning when she didn’t have the latest clothes and gadgets that her friends have. She helped her mum so much after the operation, cooking meals and doing the cleaning.
Then, another bombshell. My son-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Lillian worships her dad and this is a huge blow to her. Even though she sees him only very occasionally, she had been in regular contact by telephone. Because of his treatment, the visits became even rarer, but she still phones and writes and sends little cards that she has made. And still she remains level headed and caring. She is now Head Girl of her year, represents her year on the School Council and is a Mentor for some of the younger children. My daughter is now a lot better. Though her back will never be completely mended, at least she is not in constant pain every day. She has gone “back to school”, taking a Degree Course to enable her to obtain a less physical job in the future, because, despite her disability, she wants to work and make a better life for her family. So now Lillian helps with Gabriel even more. She supports her mum and insists she rests on days when her back is particularly bad and she still cooks meals and cleans and generally makes the World a sunnier place. I feel very privileged to know her and very proud of my daughter for raising such a lovely young lady.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILLIAN !