In the final episode of Gilmore Girls, Rory Gilmore is about to leave home to embark on her dream job. As she's about to leave the house to catch the early morning bus, her mother Lorelai asks her whether she's got everything. She replies 'Mom, you've given me everything I need.' When I think about my Ma, I always think about that moment. She really has given me everything I need, managing to find the perfect tension between tough-love and indulgence. 
Today is her birthday. She's 52, that might not seem particularly significant, but trust me it really is. Today marks an answered prayer for more time. Ten years ago I was made painfully aware of how finite her life might be. From then on every moment was precious, every argument more devastating because it felt like a waste. We never shy away from the pain of her disability, but we refuse to let it define her. Being your mother's carer is tough but a privilege - vulnerability is inevitable and with it a strong and irrevocable bond.   She has been there for moments I thought I might have to experience alone. In the decade of time we've been given there have been countless moments of significance: afternoon coffees, middle of the night tears, momentous drives to Bristol, evenings out in London, raw conversations, sofas full of laughter, graduation, prom, boyfriends, year abroads, good news, bad news, banana bread comforts and a rather ridiculous amount of tea. She's vetoed all my important outfits, thrown me the best birthday and coming-home parties, sent me care-packages, held me close when my heart was broken, taken me to the doctor when things got too much, told me when I'm being selfish and arrogant, re-decorated and re-organised my room after a year full of pain and challenge, re-packed every suitcase I've ever packed from home, introduced me to some excellent films and encouraged me more than anyone else in my pursuit of a career as an actor. 
On the night before I returned to Bristol to start at the Old Vic, my restlessness found me curling up on her bed and falling asleep, just like the old times. Even now she is my anchor,  as well as my friend, my critic, my role-model and my darling mother all at once. I am so very thankful that she still exists and that I get to spend EVEN MORE of my life around her.

Happy Birthday MA!

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