Roots to Ground Us and Wings to Help Us Fly {Chapter 1}

Every Mother’s Day I receive letters from each of my children. My love language is time and words of affirmation. My whole life is my family, so to read words of love and appreciation fills a deep need in me. Last Mother’s Day Charlotte surprised me with an extra long letter…in the form of a book.

The book is named after the tagline of my blog, ‘Roots to Ground Us and Wings to Help Us Fly‘. I read it in one sitting. It was full of love and pain; love and sickness; love and memories…love… I cried as I read it. I don’t mean tears rolling down my face cried, I mean loud, unseemly, vocally incoherent, sobbing out loud.

Charlotte had captured every gamut of emotion as she wrote recollections of her childhood, intermingling her memories with the utter devastation of her illness. It was a special book for me to read.

I have her permission to share it here because I thought it might encourage all my fellow homeschoolers out there. What we do is important. Maybe not to all people, but it is very important to our children. It matters. Not just in the present, but for many years after. So my lovely homeschool mummy (and daddy) friends, those of you who are neck deep in homeschool, nappies, sickness and goodness knows what else. This book is for you too. Keep at it, even when it is hard. It is worth it, I promise you, more than you can ever imagine xx

As an aside, the book is written in a similar way to spoken word poetry. It is hard for me to represent the ‘look’ of each page, but I shall try my best.

Charlotte says…

When I started writing this book, I had no idea I would end up publishing it just two months later. The words came so easily to me that I finished in one night and half, the book written the next day. As I’ve slowly been adding to it, editing it and formatting it, this book has become one of the favourite things I have ever written. You see, I always grew up thinking that my home life was normal. I thought every kid read instead of watching tv; that family time happened in every house; that siblings were best friends, no questions asked. And now I am here, many years after finding out how different our family is, using the only thing I know to immortalise it. To make it real. To show people that love still exists, siblings can be best friends and family is the only thing we need.

I’m chronically ill and my family have never once held that against me, used it against me, blamed me for it. Nor have they ever loved me any less because of it. They have supported me, held me up when I could not stand; lost sleep for me when night fell, and rest did not come; been my best friends when I felt the loneliest I have ever felt in my life. And I want to share that. I want them to know that I noticed; that I love them; that they are what kept me going. I want my parents to know I remember every part of my childhood and that it should be in a fairytale. And one day, maybe when I am old and grey, I want to be able to look back at this and smile, and remember our strength through everything we went through. A strength which will keep me going for a thousand lifetimes.”

“To my family

I noticed.

And to mum,

Without you I could not write this.

Thank you.”

Chapter One

A house cannot be a home without a family.

Lived in,



but home.

And family, love beyond what we believe, worth beyond what we conceive.


The walls would shatter without the books, and

perhaps that’s why we keep them.

Forget sentiment and think safety and

insurance and…

I know I am making excuses.

We are attached.

We joke there are too many girls, not enough

boys but would things change if there were less?

The ages, so close and yet so far apart, we are

adults in age but in mind, maybe not.

Bedrooms shared

and split

and filled

with trinkets we’ll keep until we are old

and brittle

and grey.

Memories and moments

and music and love,

all in boxes too small to hold

and yet still we collect.

Names and lists and forgetting who is who

and yet we would have it no other way.

Have we really grown up?

I feel as if I am playing adulthood the same

way I used to play dress up.


The one place we don’t need a mask.

No matter what

Even as our eyes droop and our hearts break

into a million pieces,

no mask needed needed for we have buckets to pick the pieces up

and love to


them back together.

Where do we begin when new beginnings are always around?

Maybe we should start at the end and

work backwards because,

if we’re honest,

when we’re here endings are never really


Maybe begin with white walls that are tinted

orange and a strange man who won’t look at me

and is telling me my life is ending

before it has the

chance to begin.

But maybe this is the beginning.

Car rides home that shouldn’t exist but do and

maybe I took too many people to this


But I couldn’t do this alone.

I don’t understand.

But mum does.

And she’ll explain it time and time again until I do.

“My life is beginning.” I look out the window and try to be happy for her, we are twins after all.

Silence follows my half-hearted smile.

My life is ending.

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