They say that you can choose your friends, but not your family. That is true and you cannot change where you are born into either but I don’t think I’d change mine…mostly.
My Mum was the eldest of 8 and I’m the eldest of 6 – there are a lot of us. I’m the eldest of 30+ grandchildren ( I will work it out properly one day) and there are now 20+ great grandchildren and that’s just on my Mum’s side. The generations also overlapped because My Nan had her youngest in her mid 40s, and my Mum had me at 19, so I had an uncle who was 18 months younger than me. When I was small my Great Grandma who we called “Nanny with the bad leg” was still around too. We are a big, sprawling, loving family.
I was born in the East End of London in the Salvation Army Hospital in Hackney and still consider myself to be an Eastender or an Essex girl, even though I’ve lived Sarf of the River since I was 10 and we moved 10 times before that.
My siblings are all half- siblings…same Mum, 4 different Dads. I’m not ashamed because it was none of my doing, and me and my Brothers and Sisters are as close as can be, and it mostly has no bearing on how much we love each other. I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers – in order Sister then brother then the youngest 3 being Twins -a girl and a boy- and another sister born 18 months later. The youngest 3 had the same Dad, my Italian Stepfather who was only 15 years older than me.
My Mum was married to my next sister’s dad, but to be honest I’m not sure how long that lasted, because by the time my brother came along it was all over. I was 8 by then.
We moved around a lot, as I’ve already said – 10 times before I was 10. We didn’t have much…only each other.
As a child you have no control over your life, you just have to go with the flow. But I did know that as an adult I didn’t want a peripatetic life and although you can’t guarantee what will happen, I knew that I didn’t want the same sort of life that my Mum had. I guess I’ve been lucky in my choice of partner – we’ve been together through thick and thin for 30 years…which is ridiculous because I’m only 28! And we’ve only lived in 2 homes whilst we’ve been together.