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Mum’s the Word

Today has been a strange one so far. I awoke this morning and had the most overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss for my mother, who died a few years ago now. I am one of those annoying people who is usually relentlessly positive and upbeat – don’t you just hate that. But when other emotions are allowed to rise to the surface, they wash over me like a tidal wave and I am left reeling for a few hours as I try to regain my centre and go forward. Today is one of those days.

Without waxing too lyrical, my mum was great – really great. She got me in a way no-one else does – we could talk for ages about absolute nonsense and spent acres of times laughing about the most ridiculous things. She was dry, sarcastic and great fun. I miss her acid wit and kind heart more than I can put into words. She was my Yin Yang.

It got me thinking about mums in general, and the enormous effect they can have on our lives. And how the old saying you never know what you had until it’s gone is so true, and so frustratingly obvious, that you are left wondering if you walked around with blinkers on all those years.

As a mum myself, I am prone to the odd grumble at my own kids at their lack of appreciation for this fun-loving, witty, caring mother they are blessed with (ignoring for a moment those parts where I turn into a screaming banshee over a left-over banana peel on the bedroom floor). Not on a physical level in terms of what I do for them in the home, so much as their lack of appreciation for me as a person in my own right. A friend, if you will, who deserves the same level of regard as their peers. As mothers, in between the washing, cooking, cleaning and rushing about, we try to listen and to impart our experience, knowledge and wisdom on an almost daily basis – much of the time it falls on deaf ears. I must have been the same – in fact I remember putting my hands actually over my ears during one of my mum’s “talking to Jesus” sessions and actually mouthing the words “Blah, blah, blah” at her. So disrepectful and hurtful now I think about it, but at the time you dont think about it. I suppose that’s the point – as kids we don’t think about our mothers as people at all. Why I should expect any different from mine, I do not know!

So today’s blog urges those of you with mothers/carers/guardians in your lives to say one thing to them today that lets them know you appreciate them as a person. It can be anything from “I like the way you did your hair today, you look pretty” to “Mum, I never told you this but the help you gave me with my French homework that time really made a difference, I get it now” or simply “Mum, you make me smile/laugh/cry”. Because sometimes it’s that sort of appreciation that means so much more than “Thanks for dinner” or “Thanks for tidying my room” or “Mum, please stop nagging me” – maybe because such appreciation connects directly to the person we are, not the carer/housekeeper we have become. 

I wish I had the opportunity now to tell my mum that her simple dedication to making me behave in a ladylike manner and always displaying good manners is sooooo important to me as a mother bringing up my own children. Without her constant reminders of “Elbows off the table!”, “Don’t slouch!” etc, my own kids would not be as well brought up as they are, and I would not be half as proud of them as I am. I hear her words come out of my own mouth so many times. So thank you , Mum, for that and for everything else which I must have absorbed by osmosis along with the knowledge of your love and your sense of humour that is also imprinted in me. I wish I’d said it at the time, but I know you forgive me and hear me now.