|Charlie aged 5|
Today is a very very special day. My wonderful daughter, Charlie, is 21 years of age. I cannot believe where the time has gone and how our lives have changed and how proud I am of how my beautiful child has developed into a caring, intelligent, determined, responsible, creative, loving, loyal, funny, energetic, erudite, stylish and even more beautiful young woman.
|Aged about 8|
Charlie was born 10 weeks prematurely and weighed only 2lbs.
|In an incubator at the Special Care Baby Unit where she lived for the first 9 weeks of her life|
Her lungs were collapsed and she should not have survived and yet she did. Something back then should have told me what a strong little character she was going to be!
|Posing for the camera!|
|About to go off for a cycle and proudly wearing sporting badges for swimming, cycling and gymnastics|
|in my mum and dad’s garden|
|Wearing her Forever Friends cardigan|
Since moving to Edinburgh to study for a degree in Film Production at Edinburgh College of Art she has matured even more and is handling the difficulties of adult life without complaint and with great maturity.
|Developing her own sense of style|
I am even more proud of her coping so well when she is only one of a very small percentage of students at ECA who are categorised as of a low income family. Her childhood was ‘unstable’ living as we did then, with her complex father who had quite extreme psychological problems and often very aggressive moods swings. This led to us moving home 12 times in 10 years with nowhere ever feeling like home. I did all I could to minimise the effects of living in the enviroment that we did but Charlie was still a witness to things that she should not have had to experience. We also existed on very little money as her father stopped working very soon after she was born and didn’t work again for many years. Charlie therefore didn’t have the things so many other children around her had and we suffered the humiliations of running out of money for the electric meter, school dinners, petrol, rent and much more, on many, many occasions. From the day I finally managed to break away from her father we never received any financial support from him so things remained difficult and yet Charlie never asked for anything, never complained, and was never jealous of her friends.
|Happy as always having fun in Llandudno North wales|
If anything, the things we went through together have probably bound us even closer together and when Gavin came into my life it was equally important that Charlie liked him too. She did and the rest is history. We moved in with Gavin shortly before Charlie was 13 and though life has remained a struggle financially we have had a stable, happy and warm home life ever since.
|Being Avril lavigne|
Charlie showed the type of woman she has become only a couple of weeks ago when she received a call in Edinburgh from her oldest friend, Helen. Helen’s father, Tim, had been seriously ill for around three years but they had just been informed that he did not have long left to live. Helen and Charlie have been friends for so long they are truly like sisters and their lives have remained intertwined. Charlie immediately rang me after she had heard from Helen, desperate to come home. I agreed she should get the earliest train possible back to be with Helen. Sadly before Charlie could even get on to the train home, she had received a second call from Helen to tell her that Tim had passed away. Gavin was about to jump in our car and make the 4 hour drive to Edinburgh to bring Charlie home in case she was too distressed to travel, yet somehow she got herself on to the train and got home. She then spent the next week looking after Helen and her mum, assisting in arrangements and just by being there. She was amazing. After the funeral service, Janet, Helen’s mum, told me what a wonderful woman my child had become and how Helen couldn’t have got through the week without her. And indeed she has.
|Charlie with boyfriend Denis|
|Charlie and me ready for her 18th birthday party|
Thank you Charlie from the core of my being for being the best daughter, friend and woman I could have ever have hoped for. My heart swells with pride at what you have accomplished and what you have become from such a dreadful beginning and a difficult life. I can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of your life!