Becoming a mum and turning 30 this year has given me a lot to think about.  It’s made me appreciate the small stuff, realise what makes me happy and look back on how I got to where I am.

As a parent, I can finally appreciate all those things my parents did when I was a child. Yes Mum, I really do understand now I’m a Mum too.

Now I’m 30, it’s probably about time I thank my parents, and although words can never do it justice, I thought I’d give it a go.

Another period of mental illness has spurred me on to write this, because no matter how old I am, you’ve been there for me, no questions asked.

So thank you for guiding and loving me through the highs and lows, for teaching me the importance of family.

Dad, thank you my idyllic childhood, for tucking me in at night with my shoulders off the pillow, for all those carefree weekends out in the fresh air, and for the best summer holidays that seemed to last for ever.

Mum, thank you for making a homemade dinner every single night. Those family dinners round the table were key to lots of lessons I’ve learnt over the years. I have fond memories of these meals. Even if you did make me eat all on my plate whether I liked it or not.

Dad, thank you for teaching me how read a map and compass (and not to forget them – remember that time on the mountain when the mist came down…), to ride a bike, to be resourceful and not wasteful.

Mum, thank you for trusting me and standing up for me when all those around me didn’t. For all those times at primary and secondary school when you took my word without any doubt, that must have been hard when so many around us didn’t believe me.

Dad, thank you for instilling in me that I have the talent to acheive things I didn’t think possible. For supporting me from the sidelines, guiding rather than leading, so I could find my own path.

Mum, thank you for making me get changed out of my school clothes the minute we got home so we could have a post-school cup of tea and chat. You helped me put the world to rights and process what the day had thrown at me.

Dad, thank you for your love of the outdoors, for letting me be a tomboy and getting stuck in with the boys.

Mum, thank you for taking care of me, even at 30, you always know when I’m not at my best. That time at university when you dropped everything to care for me, or when bullies kicked my head against that radiator or threw chewing gum in my hair. You’ve always been there to pick up the pieces.

Dad, thank you for showing me that you have to work hard to get what you want. For showing me that if you really want something you have to work for it.

Mum, thank you for teaching us to write thank you letters and have good manners in general, in a world where common decency is slipping you’ve helped me stand out. As you always said, ‘manners cost nothing’ and this is something I will work hard to instill in my sprogs.

Dad, thank you for not just chucking money at us when we were children. For making us save for things we wanted, it’s made me appreciate things in ways that many around me can’t.

Mum, thank you for making me work from a young age, I may not have enjoyed handing out my CV (what the hell did we write on it) at 15-years-old, but it’s instilled a work ethic in me that has stood me in good stead.

Dad, thank you for leading by example, I know you may not have loved your job but you helped instil in me that work ethic I’m so proud of. I also thank you for doing the job you didn’t love so you could support and raise your family, I know how hard it may have been and you did it without moaning so we could have all the things we had.

Mum and Dad, thank you for letting us be kids, for all those hours of just playing with my brothers, I’m so grateful for this. Riding our bikes in the close, being pushed around in the orange wheelbarrow, playing with the pets – I loved my childhood.

Mum and Dad, thank you for giving me common sense. I may not be the brightest button in the box academically, but my common sense and work ethic have helped me achieve things I didn’t think I could.

Mum and Dad, thank you for treating the three of us children equally, there was never any jealousy, apart from that time… Even today you treat us all the same.

With thanks, also come apologies.

Sorry for that time I got my belly button pierced, for when I drove the Mercedes on to the college wall, for going clubbing at 14-years-old and that enforced gap year at home when I made our lives hell.

We can laugh at these things now but, in all seriousness, I apologise for all the times I ever made you feel shit. I now understand that what ever it was that made me cross at you, you only had my best interests at heart.

It’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the unwavering support and love you’ve both given me. My successes over the last 30 years can be attributed to the fact that you have always given me the courage and motivation to realise my dreams.

You’ve both let me walk my own path, guided me when I’ve asked and caught me when I’ve tumbled. If I can offer my sprogs the same then I know I will have done a good job.

Mum and Dad, thank you.

Love, Sprog #3