My parents divorced when I just just 15 years old. My mother spent the majority of her time focusing on her career, going back to school to get a degree and spending any spare minute she had on raising us three. She never made dating a priority and never had time for a man.
Growing up, I admired her attitude on dating and relationships; who had time to date anyway? Friends and family where more important to her than meeting an other half. She was a force to be reckoned with, with a fiery attitude to match. Maybe there just wasn't a man who could handle her?
Yet, the older I got and the more years that passed by, I found myself worrying about who would look after my mum. Gradually we grew up, I left home for university and my brother shortly behind. With the youngest the only one left at home, my mum seemed to have more and more time on her hands. I found myself worrying that she'd never find someone to appreciate or share with her appetite for life with.
One Christmas I'd had enough. Yeah, she'd been on one or two dates since the divorce, but nothing special, and there was no one she actually felt a connection with or liked.
I signed her up on Totally Dating's mature dating site. I figured Tinder was a bit behind her time, and she can barely Snapchat, never mind swipe right for a date. Her first reaction? Outrage. I may be 23, but I thought she was going to ground me there and then and send me to my room without supper.
"Mature! That's just another word for old," she shouted at me. At 47, she still liked to believe she was 31 at heart and had plenty of time to find a man. But I was ready to bring her right back down hard to reality.
For a while her profile just sat there. She didn't like the pictures I'd chosen, and she told me I made her sound "loose" on her flirty bio. Any time I asked her if she messaged anyone, I got a tut and a sigh and told to stop talking about, "that stupid dating site."
I'd almost forgotten about the whole thing and almost given up hope that I'd ever attend my mother's wedding to a handsome Italian stranger and be whisked away to Italy to live with my step family drinking endless espresso (a girl can dream). And then I got a text message from her.
"I have a date Saturday. Will you help me?"
I couldn't believe it. I was jumping for joy, and my best friend and I got her primed and ready in a lovely new dress and red lippy for the occasion.
I felt like the parent waiting by the front door for her to return that night. I was more nervous than she was. It had been five years since her last date. We'd gone over conversation starters, I'd given her flirting tips and told her to relax. Hopefully she didn't drink too much wine and feel obliged to show him her Tina Turner Impression she liked to do at parties.
As she strolled in past midnight she refused to tell me a thing. I later got out of her that the date was a disaster, she'd been too nervous, the restaurant was too crowded and she didn't know what to talk about. But I wasn't ready to give up.
I encouraged her to keep trying, I told her to keep chatting, get to know a few people and try and arrange dates that she actually wanted to go on. I must have been annoying as my perseverance worked. After three months browsing the web, she had a pizza date with John one Saturday night and hasn't looked back since.
OK, he might not be the Italian stallion I imagined for her, but he's kind, he's sweet and most importantly, he makes her happy. Seeing my mum smile like a love-struck teenager again was better than I'd ever imagined it to be. As much as she hated the thought at the start, I know now she'd let me play Cupid for her all over again.