Since having my own children, it has regularly occurred to me that I might not have been the easiest child to raise. Actually I suspect I was really annoying. Before having kids I remember Mum telling me stories about things I did, and they sounded kind of cute. I thought I sounded like a bright and motivated little individual. Now with the all new perspective of parenthood, I realise I was just an awkward little shit. I probably deserved to be taken to a wood to be raised by badgers, but my lovely parents persevered regardless.
I know that I crept into their bed every single night for years, crawling up under the covers between the 2 of them in the middle of the night. Trampling all over their sex life, and stealing their sleep. I remember my Dad saying that my face was like a weather forecast, if I was smiling there would be sun all day and the whole family would be happy, but if I was having a tantrum then it was like a hurricane running through family life, destroying everything in my path.. They have both talked about my dogged determination and hard working ethic. About how I could be so motivated when something peaked my interest, but that it would be challenge to get me to join in If the activity didn’t float my boat. I now realise that this is loving parent code for “you were a stubborn monster” Now I have 2 of my own strong willed individuals to raise, I know how frustrating it can be when putting on your shoes just doesn’t excite your 2 year old, and I know how hard it is to avoid butting heads when you’re going to be late for work. I’m sad to admit how often their contrariness has left me in tears.
And it frightens me now to remember the teenage years. I think we’re still both trying to forget the episode with the vomit in the brand new car. (and we both know that no-body’s drink was spiked, but it was lovely that that idea was never truly challenged). How I offended my mums strong Christian ethics by wearing grunge band t-shirts featuring gratuitous swearing. (I still love a gratuitous swear, sorry Mum!) I probably also offended the middle class neighbours, but you know, fuck ’em Mum, it’s you I feel guilty about. And then there were the boyfriends. Despite being constantly over-weight and having shit hair, I still managed to locate some enormously unsuitable individuals to give you sleepless nights about.
Yet me and my mum are the best of friends. She is the first person I want to talk to when I’ve run out of ideas with the kids. If I have a spare 5 minutes, its her I want to hang out with. She’s fabulous. I think she likes me too. She still spends loads of time with me (and not all of it because she is worried that she might find me crying and rocking in the cupboard under the stairs while the children tattoo each other with a felt tip pen) ) She changes my perspective, she challenges my negative thoughts, she offers amazing suggestions for improvement. She brings an endless supply of love, support and intelligent conversation. Now I am aware how challenging I was to bring up, I know she gives me more than I deserve. And since losing my Dad, I realise just how precious every moment we share is, and how truly lucky I am to still have her by my side.
But now I am mother, I also understand how it is that she loves me regardless. How it is that she still finds the good in me. How quickly she forgives the bad. She’s like a poster-girl for motherhood. And she’s mine.
Happy Mother’s day to the mother of all mothers.