KATE is one of them people everyone knows. She works on the checkouts in Sainsburys. You’ll have probably heard her before you’ve seen her.

She has always had a job. My parents have never been unemployed. It’s one of the things I really respect them for. As unemployment in West Belfast was hard to come by at times, they never turned their nose up at any work that put food in the cupboards and provided for us.

They taught us the value of working for things we really wanted. As soon as we got our National Insurance Number’s we found employment, sometimes even before. We earned our own money from a young age and paid our keep.

All four of us have travelled widely and hold finance as an important part of home life. Nobody was lifted and laid. Apart from Ronan, he still is. She has yet to cut the apron strings from that thirty-three-year-old Lil Momma’s boy.

People that know us both say we are like clones. I can’t see it and neither can she. I’m more like my Da’s ones. Quietly spoken and not someone you’d want to cross. My Ma though has a big gub and laughs like a witch having a heart attack. She’ll rip your head off if you piss her off.

During the Troubles, she had run ins with school Principals, priests, nuns and cops. That’s why she’s a natural union rep, she’ll fight an injustice and save your job just because she likes to stick it to the man.

I’m just killing time here and beating about the bush. The fact is, me and my Mummy have never got on. Maybe we really are like clones and so alike that we get on each others nerves.

We have had some almighty rows that have almost come to blows. Well, me punching her back. That’s when you know you’re banjaxxed. When you hit your Ma back, you’re screwed. As a young person in West Belfast, it was just accepted that you took a beating if you brought trouble to the door. Or maybe that was just our house.

It’s only the past couple of years that I’ve realised how much my Mummy has been there for me. Whether it was in school, Connolly House or Woodbourne Barracks, she’s pulled me out of many holes. It took thirty-five years to realise what was staring me in the face the whole time. While I thought she was off doing her own thing, she was still there in the background keeping an eye on me and making sure I didn’t go into self destruct mode. She’s become the one I turn to when I’m upset or have good news. Finally we are building a relationship of some sort.

When I had my daughter, I was young and didn’t know what to do with her. My Mummy didn’t take over. She let me make mistakes and discover for myself how hard parenting really is. It has stood me in good stead because this week I was the proudest Mummy at the Emo’s parent teacher evening and it’s all down to the guidance I had.

Anyway Mummy, this is your Mother’s Day present. It won’t wilt like a bunch of flowers from a stall and it won’t end up like a greetings card stuck in a cubby hole buried under clutter. It will last forever.

Love you loads, thanks for everything you’ve done for me and especially for being available when I needed you this year.

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