I really dislike Mother’s Day. It might be because I am stubborn madam who does not like being told what to do and I therefore resent society telling me that on the forth Sunday during Lent, I should tell my mum that I love her. What if I want to tell her on the second Tuesday during Advent instead? Anyway, I digress. Despite the fact that I am moaning about it, I haven’t seen my mum today for the first Mother’s Day in 34 years because she’s working and I feel a bit sad about that so I thought I’d write about her instead.
My mum is beautiful, clever, creative, funny, hard-working, determined, loyal and smiley. She is also a rubbish dancer, a bit of a hoarder, not great at making pancakes and stubborn as anything, although I consider the latter to be an excellent trait in a person (she says, stubbornly defending stubbornness as a personality trait).
My mum is also a woman not to be messed with. I learnt this particular lesson very early in my life. To put things into context you need to know that at the time the following event took place my mum was living alone and trying to bring up two young children. She did not have much money and to make matters worse, she had one daughter (me) who was a terribly fussy eater.
My mum’s friend, Jenny, was coming to visit with her two sons. Mum needed to feed everyone on a limited budget and decided that she was going to make a spaghetti bolognese. I did not like pasta; god knows why, it’s delicious carby goodness, why wouldn’t I have eaten it back then? Who knows? The exception to this rule was that I did like spaghetti hoops. I just know that if I have children one day, I’m going to end up with at least one who will only eat beige food or food that begins with the letter p or something ridiculous as pay back. Mum spoke to me a few days before the dinner. She explained that we didn’t have much money and asked if I would eat the bolognese served with spaghetti hoops. I readily agreed.
The day of the dinner arrived and, as children often do when they have guests, I started playing up:
“I don’t want to eat the bolognese”
“I don’t like bolognese!”
“Why did you give me bolognese?”
“I want something else to eat.”
At first, Mum tried to encourage me to eat but I persisted, causing a fuss and refusing to eat my dinner. Now, another thing to know about my Mum is that she doesn’t get angry easily. She’s quite a calm person and it takes quite a lot to wind her up. However, I was obviously pushing her buttons and before long she did get angry and eventually, exasperated, she told me that if I didn’t eat the bolognese, I would be wearing it. I can remember the conversation. I can remember thinking “Yeah, yeah, of course that will happen. Silly mummy, she won’t do it” and so I continued to whine and moan and have a paddy about my food…
…And this is why, one of my earliest memories is of leaning over the bath, having spaghetti hoops washed out of my hair.
My mum is pragmatic and practical. She’s not hugely demonstrative. A hearts and flowers, hugs and kisses kind of mother she is not. Sometimes I don’t speak to her for weeks at a time but that is a testament to her parenting skills, the fact that she encouraged me to be independent, to find my own path and live my own life and I would much rather that. I am grateful that she has given me the gift of confidence and self-belief. Hmmmm… if I’m not careful, this will turn into some sentimental clap trap and she would not like that. Also, I wouldn’t want to give her a big head.
I have learnt many things from my Mum; I still ‘fri’ the ‘end’ of my friend when spelling the word ‘friend’, I still take my coat off when I am inside, because otherwise I won’t feel the benefit when I go outside again, there is still a tiny anxiety that if I pull a funny face the wind will change and I will stay that way and I think ‘because I said so’ is a perfectly acceptable response to the question ‘Why?’. It’s also a good job that my head is screwed on because otherwise I would forget it regularly.
From my childhood, I have so many great memories, way too many to list, but some that spring to mind include watching Jasper Carrott and Red Dwarf with her, both of us laughing like drains. I remember her driving me to the hospital when I’d had an asthma attack. Her little Metro being driven so quickly that Nigel Mansell would have struggled to catch us and all the while, Mum being calm, talking to me about everyday things as if we were just nipping to the shops rather than heading to A&E. She was excellent at making my soft toys come to life. I had a teddy bear hand puppet called ‘Snuffles’ that she would animate, much to the excitement of my sister and I. She took me out for driving lessons. Well, actually,she took me out for one singular driving lesson where I crashed into a traffic island and lost my hub cap and then was conveniently busy every time I wanted her to take me out. As I grew up, she didn’t judge me, no matter what. She is supportive, reflective and encouraging.
My mum: Beautiful, clever, creative, funny, hard-working, determined, loyal, smiley, rubbish dancer, bit of a hoarder, not great at making pancakes, stubborn, not to be messed with, calm, does not get angry easily, pragmatic, practical, supportive, reflective, encouraging. Loved.