On my eighth birthday I was given a telescope because I started to show a keen interest in space. I was lucky enough to have my bedroom on the third floor where we were renting, allowing me to set up my telescope in view of the city below and the sky above.
I was, at this time, still an only child which meant my poor, exhausted parents had to entertain my weekly “stargazing” events. I would write them separate invitations, slip them under doors of kitchens or bathrooms and run away giggling. I would sneak crisps and sweets from the cupboards in full view of bemused parents. Setting up a party in my room at the convenient time of bedtime…
My parents, who both worked full time, indulged me, sitting staring at thick, grey, cumulus clouds. Nodding fervently as I asked them, eyes wide in hope, “Do you see Mars??? Can you see its red glow? And of course you should be able to see Venus as it rises where the sun sets”.
Looking back at this I have such admiration for my parents. No matter how stressed out, exhausted or bored they may have been, they always gave me their time and respect. They encouraged every mad whim and love I had. They never once told me I couldn’t achieve a goal no matter how ridiculous. And there were some absolutely ridiculous ones.
Every time I said I wanted to join a club they encouraged me. Karate, debating, creative writing. When I wanted to sing and record my own album, they encouraged me and even to this day play fondly the 6 tracks I now cringe listening to.
They made hard choices for me that opened doors to a life I have loved. They pushed me when I was being insolent and supported me when I made my own rash decisions even if it wasn’t ones they were happy about.
It’s because of their unconditional love and belief in me and my eccentricities that I’ve managed to travel on my own across continents, go to university, learn languages, set up my own charity.
They kept telling me to look for those stars all those years ago. Stare through any grey cloud and I’d reach them. And it’s because of them I am who I am today.
A tribute to Fiona Carey and Nigel Stickland for being the most unconditionally loving parents a gal could have xxx