She said spread your wings my little butterfly – Little Legacy


Mama told me not to waste my life,

She said spread your wings my little butterfly


Don’t let what they say keep you up at night
And they can’t detain you


‘Cause wings are made to fly
And we don’t let nobody bring us down



No matter what you say – it won’t hurt me


Don’t matter if I fall from the sky
These wings are made to fly

Mothers Day can be a bit of a mixed bag of emotions, I know my kids have big plans for me, they keep letting all their secret plans slip out. So I like to make time and space to remember my own Mum, ahead of the day.

I’ve dedicated lots of words to my Mum, her little legacies run through this blog. I found my voice as she lost hers to brain cancer in 2010. Blogging about losing her was the way I found my way, and into a new life writing for a living.

Dancing to Wings by Little Mix in the Swag section of the Red Nose Day Danceathon on Sunday, reminded me how much music and dance meant to her, and how good she was at finding the joy in things. The words really stuck in my head, and as I attempted the crazy dance moves I felt myself emerging butterfly like from what has felt like a bit of a cocoon. I wanted to do something with them.

I lost my way last week, with blogging, with life, with being a mum.

I lost my way this year, travelling to Kenya with Comic Relief was incredible, but took my grasp on the world from under my feet. Organising fundraising efforts since we got back has been fantastic, but emotional. It was worth every gram of energy, Team Honk raised 30 thousand pounds for Red Nose Day.

Putting these words and images of me and Mum together put me back on track, reminds me who I really am.

I wish she could have stayed a longer, to teach me how to juggle life as a mother, but when I look back, she gave me the greatest tool box for grown up living.

Sleep solutions, mind mapping, diary keeping, changing the world, marriage guidance, toddler taming, play therapy, recipespermission to fail at the school gate –  just some of the little legacies I have blogged about here.

My Mum inspired me to write, to travel, to make a difference in the world. To appreciate the little things and build big dreams.


These wings are made to fly, thanks Mum x


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  • Reply Katy Hill

    GORGEOUS post Penny! Wow. Just beautiful xx

    11/03/2015 at 7:19 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      Thanks Katy and thanks for tweeting it earlier xxx

      11/03/2015 at 3:22 pm
  • Reply Donna @ Little Lilypad Co

    Oh Penny what beautiful photos and memories you have and I love how she gives you strength, even now.

    Much love you and good luck with the competition x

    11/03/2015 at 10:20 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      She definitely does 🙂 xx Thank you

      11/03/2015 at 3:22 pm
  • Reply Mum of One

    Oh Penny. So beautiful. You have me in tears here x

    11/03/2015 at 10:25 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      No more tears this week! xxx

      11/03/2015 at 3:22 pm
  • Reply Jen aka Muminthemadhouse

    I have a very similar post in my drafts. Thinking of you

    11/03/2015 at 11:04 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      I will come and find it xxx

      11/03/2015 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Mammasaurus

    Oh Penny, I am welling up here now. I’m so glad you’ve found your way back on track x

    11/03/2015 at 11:57 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      It’s been an adventure hasn’t it xxx

      11/03/2015 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Sonya Cisco

    What a beautiful and moving post, glad you are finding your feet again xx

    11/03/2015 at 12:18 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      Thanks Sonya xxx

      11/03/2015 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Andrea

    Beautifully written Penny, this has left me in years after writing about my own Mum this week.

    11/03/2015 at 12:21 pm
  • Reply Nikki Thomas

    That is so beautiful and poignant Penny. I think we all lose our way sometimes, I am lucky that my mum is still around but I know that since her diagnosis of Parkinsons last year, I have definitely learned to appreciate her all the more. You mum was obviously amazing and she would be very proud of you.

    11/03/2015 at 12:27 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      Much love to you Nikki, my Grandad had Parkinsons, hope your Mum is doing as well as she can xxx

      11/03/2015 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply Muddling Along

    Beautiful pictures and words – I’m glad you’ve found your way back (& awed by your fabulous fundraising efforts)

    11/03/2015 at 3:10 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      Thank you, what a team of people – makes anything possible xxx

      11/03/2015 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Donna

    OK, so someone needs to pass me the Kleenex. Lovely post Penny with a beautiful sentiment which has affected me on a number of levels. Xx

    11/03/2015 at 9:33 pm
  • Reply Grenglish

    Such a beautiful post and I am so sorry you lost your mum so soon. It’s natural to lose your feet now and then, especially when you have seen as much injustice in the world as you have.
    What you are doing with your blog, writing about your mum, fundraising for Comic Relief, raising awareness, building a career, parenting…. well, it just blows me away. You are not just flying lovely, you are soaring!

    12/03/2015 at 6:49 am
  • Reply Polka Dot Family

    Such a beautiful post and gorgeous photos, I hope that you are able to follow in her footsteps to Bruges

    12/03/2015 at 11:01 am
  • Reply 5 Lessons for my Children to Live By - a beautiful space

    […] week I read Pennys lessons learned from her much loved  mother  and I also read Michelle’s post about the legacies she wants […]

    12/03/2015 at 11:17 am
  • Reply Cass@frugalfamily

    Gorgeous post Penny – so emotional.

    I’m struggling a little bit with all the Mothers Day build up this year as it’s been 10 years since my Mum died and I really seem to be feeling it more than usual this year x x

    12/03/2015 at 3:52 pm
  • Reply Michelle Twin Mum

    Ahh Penny my heart aches for you as I read this but how lucky you are to have such special memories and legacies left by your Mum. Beautiful post, Mich x

    12/03/2015 at 10:44 pm
  • Reply Monika

    Such a beautiful post! I hope you have her there with you tomorrow too in all the small details of the day.

    14/03/2015 at 1:33 pm
  • Reply Helen @actuallyblog

    Ah Penny what a wonderful post to write for Mother’s Day. Such lovely memories and pictures. You are such a GOOD person, and I’m guessing she would be massively proud of you x

    16/03/2015 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer

    Oh Penny – sorry to have only just caught up with this. Your mums looks amazing and beautiful – and incredibly young. Once again, I cannot comprehend your massive loss and am very, very sorry for you. It is like she is still with you and, although you may falter, you will still fly, thanks to her. Much love, XXX

    16/03/2015 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply Anna

    Oh I have a lump in my throat now. I’ve just discovered your blog and your words about your Mum and how she has influenced your life. Such positive memories and so important when we feel lost to remind ourselves of who / what our mothers saw in us too. Thank you for sharing x

    20/03/2015 at 8:46 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      Thanks for visiting, and thanks for pointing that out, it really does make a difference to remind ourselves what our parents saw sometimes!

      23/03/2015 at 10:01 pm

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