GROWING UP VANDERPUMP: A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Growing up, our lives weren’t as bizarre as they must seem to you now. Our mother wasn’t a reality television star. There were no cameras around the dining table. Attention-seeking servers weren’t pitching fits at my parents’ businesses every night. Our dogs didn’t wear clothes and social media didn’t exist. All in all, it was a very different life we lived than the one I find myself in today. Don’t get me wrong – I love our life now with all its peculiarities, publicity and petite Pomeranians – but it just isn’t how I was raised. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to give you a peek into what it was really like growing up Vanderpump.
Our life might not have been filled with cameras and photoshoots but, nevertheless, it was far from normal.
When I think of my mother, I think of her in distressed denim overalls and Wellingtons. Perhaps a chic white tee shirt and a dangling gold cross, but still with my little brother sitting on her hip and mud on her boots from wading in the river trying to pick up Brown Trousers the Duck. I picture her as she was, in button down oversized pajamas riding my horse Lucky bareback through the village. Running towards me outside of my school singing “I missed you like crazy” at the top of her lungs (embarrassing becomes endearing given a few years to reminisce!). In my memories, my mother isn’t the Lisa Vanderpump you’ve come to know – poised, polished and glittering with diamonds – she is the mother wildly running the ‘egg and spoon’ race at kindergarten track and field day; the one making my father’s favorite bread and butter pudding barefoot in the kitchen; the mother who was many many things but, ultimately, a mother first and foremost.
Not to say that my parents couldn’t pull it out of the bag and get fancy because, trust me, they could. When American Pie introduced the word MILF to my friends' pre-teen vocabulary, it was the bane of my life. She was an actress and businesswoman, well known to the press, and my father was equally as fascinating. I saw the glamour of their lives, and yearned to grow up and emulate them. However, the difference between then and now is that, at home, they were just ours. My brother and I were lucky enough to grow up in a household that didn’t let the craziness of work encroach onto our cozy home life.
When I think of my brother, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that he is a grown adult and living with his beautiful girlfriend. In my mind he is, and will always be, a 3 foot-tall whirlwind of pale limbs with a blond mop of fine curls. Come to think of it, he was always dressed in overalls too. If I look back at my little brother, I think of a sensitive, caring boy who put his family before himself even aged 2. He was the kid who refused to go to Disneyland without me when I was grounded; the kid who brushed off a broken arm because he didn’t want mummy to cry; the kid who went to school with a bite mark on his cheek because our mother treated him the way she now treats Giggy. He had the perfect brotherly knack of knowing exactly what to say to get me into trouble; the exact high-pitched squeal to distract me from my homework; and he couldn’t say Spaghetti no matter how hard he tried. No matter how old he gets, he will always be that perennially-annoying, perfectly adorable little monster that I love.
When I think of my father, I think of him on a horse playing polo in full riding regalia. He was my hero growing up and my best friend– we were two peas in a pod both in looks and in our love for my mother. I think of him taking me to the duck farm a mile away so that we could buy an incubator and 20 duck eggs, to hatch in cahoots for my mother’s Easter surprise. For weeks, we watched the little eggs together in secret and, when they hatched, I thought it was the most normal thing in the world to take my mother breakfast in bed on Easter morning with 20 little fluffy quacking ducklings pouring out of a ceramic egg. Not normal, you say? I realize that now but, with my parents, things like that happened every day.
As a kid, my father was a dashing London businessman who owned nightclubs. I was the child sitting in the office hiding in the closet doing a puzzle while the police checked IDs, or learning to Lambada from the dancers at Bar Madrid aged 6. Growing up, he was the one sneaking my friends and me midnight feasts after mummy told us to go to bed. He was the one who would catch me reading until 3am and, instead of berating me, come back from London the next day with the newly released sequel to my book. He was the man who, after months of us all obsessing over a friend’s cocker spaniel on our summer in France, and devastated when bad timing didn’t allow us to say goodbye to the dog before flying home, had a cocker spaniel puppy waiting for my mother at the airport when we landed back in England. My father is very much a father but, more importantly, he has always been a Daddy.
Looking back on my childhood, I think the single thing I am most grateful for is my parents’ relationship. The way my father loved my mother and the way he showed it and acted on it unashamedly is still astounding to me. Not only were we lucky enough to grow up with parents that never allowed us to hear them bicker, we grew up in a house where love was expressed and encouraged. At no point in our lives did we ever have to question our parents’ commitment to us or to each other and, for that, I am eternally grateful.
So, no, I didn’t grow up in a house that remotely mimics this crazy reality-tv fueled life my mother lives now. However, I grew up in a home that was equally as bizarre, if not more unbelievable. I am thankful for those wonderful memories every single day.