LIFE certainly begins at 40 for a North Anston woman who has been nominated for this week’s Guardian Rose for being a truly inspirational mum.
Sonja Johnson, of Park Avenue, was surprised with the special award at home on her birthday by children Emma, 15 and Ryan, 13.
The pair said Sonja has shown amazing strength through adversity, particularly since she lost triplets and went through a painful marriage break-up.
Emma said she deserves the award for being such a special “mum in a million” throughout the years.
“She is the best mum ever. We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the years but it’s all ok now. I want to thank her for bringing me up and making me so happy - she’s always been there when I’ve been having trouble,” she said.
Ryan added Sonja is simply the best mum they could ever wish for and said they love her very much.
“Our mum is special to us. When dad left she took us on holidays and cared for us. If times were hard she would go without so we didn’t miss out,” he said.
“We always had a good Christmases and birthday parties, and she also got a lot of support from our nan and grandad.”
Sonja gave birth to triplets Ben, Jack and Zak a year after getting married but sadly they all passed away shortly after birth in February 1995.
She said: “It was absolutely devastating and it still feels like yesterday. I go to the cemetery every week to visit their graves - they will never be forgotten.”
“It’s been really hard to keep going at times but I have done it for my kids - they are worth it. I have also had great support from my mum and dad and wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
Sonja is now finding a new lease of life and is thoroughly enjoying working as a higher level teaching assistant at Broom Valley Community School in Rotherham.
She celebrated her 40th birthday with several parties surrounded by close friends and family, including parents Susan and Pete.
“Life definitely does begin at 40. I’ve got a wonderful new boyfriend and I’m looking forward to a holiday with the girls in Benidorm,” she said.