For Ruthie: on Your Non-Birthday!

imageToday is my beautiful, intelligent and talented daughter’s birthday (I’ll spare her blushes and omit her age). She won’t be celebrating it, however, as she leaves for work at 7am before her family are up and running and won’t get home until a rushed dinner, after which she has a parents’ meeting at school!

She does so much for everyone else, helping, advising, often pulling out all the stops with a hand-made present (see my quilted sofa cover below), but resists all attempts by us to arrange something for her.*


So this is my ‘surprise’ (for which read ’embarrassing and mortifying shock’ if/when she sees it!) I wrote this poem a long time ago when I was very ill in bed and dependent on a lot of personal help. Ruth was pregnant at the time, but still managed to come long distance to give me moral as well as practical support. She’ll never know how much her visits meant.

It’s not very good in poetic terms (I’m more than a little embarrassed myself to be putting it out in the world!) I was probably as high as a kite on painkillers and anti-depressants at the time (I no longer take them: juicing, herbal remedies and a healthy plant-based diet are far more effective).

I don’t know if she has ever seen it.

Fortunately, if she does read it, I will already be on my health hiatus, having back treatment and a break from my blog. I will. E incommunicado, so hopefully I’ll be able to dodge the fall-out!

For Ruth

My darling Ruth,

I have tried and failed

so many times

to put into words

– in just a few lines –

what your being here

means to me.


With your sparkling eyes

and your giggling laugh,

your sense of fun

has lifted me up

when I felt so down

and my future

so difficult to see.


You listen, amused,

while I chide your habits

of shopping and spending,

as you wash my hair

and change my bedding

or bring me cups

of warm green tea.


I’m amazed, but glad,

that you come back home,

excited and pleased

to just sit and chat

or be chivvied and teased,

and watch tv,

for without you

I couldn’t be me.


‘Thank you’ is never enough to express the gratitude I feel towards my son and daughter for all the support they have given and continue to give.  Apologies if this is a bit mushy, K and R – I’m your mother, it’s allowed!

Lights blue touch paper and retires…

*(Update: After much persuasion, she reluctantly agreed to a family Cornish cream tea party at the weekend! Sadly, I and my bad back missed out, but I was given a running commentary via photos and videos throughout the afternoon. The highlight was the two toddlers enjoying their ride in the Morris Minor, giggling the whole way – oh, and the ginormous chocolate orange jaffa cake our son made for my husband who was also celebrating his birthday:


(Credit, my son)

The middle orange layer was made with freshly extracted orange juice.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

11 thoughts on “For Ruthie: on Your Non-Birthday!

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