This is a long and personal tribute to my Mother.
As promised on Father's Day - thoughts on my mum... Yes, I will occasionally mention Dad - but parents come in pairs who, if you're lucky, support, enhance and allow each other to grow.
From what I've heard, we had a pretty rocky start. But, in my memory, my time with my mum has been precious. My beloved parents learnt from experience (not in my immediate family), so I was never, ever, referred to as 'an accident' - no, I was always a gift, a surprise yes, but a special gift to be treasured and cherished. And this, always, is how I felt.*
While I don't remember much of my early life, I do know that one of the coolest things about my sister's wedding was seeing my mum.#
I once asked Mum about my fondness for KFC chips dipped in potato and gravy. After thinking about it, she said it was where we went for lunch (New Lynn branch) before custody handover. I remember my Christmas present during this time - a dolls' cot. Not so much because of the present, but because Mum gave it to me.
I remember writing to Mum, while she was living in Keri Keri, asking if she'd heard 'Badjelly the Witch' on Sunday morning storytime on the radio. And I remember the letter back - written in yellow ink. Very cool. She had a whole group of young guys - brother and his friends - listening in, and all enjoying it.
I remember when Mum and Dad got back together. I was sleeping in Mum's bed and, one night, I remember waking up as I was being carried through the house. I woke up in the spare bed - where Dad had been sleeping - and I knew that all was right in my world.†
I remember going to school after the holidays and telling EVERY body about my mum coming home. And I remember some kid saying 'but you don't have a mother' - I said 'yes I do, and she's coming home!' I also remember being sad that I couldn't head north to pick her up.
Yeah, sure, we have had our ups and downs. Puberty and menopause in the same house is not a good plan.
And, yes, I hassle the hell out of her now. But she knows that I love her. Hey, you only really hassle / nag / tease those you are so comfortable with you know they won't take things the wrong way.
I admire her strength of character. I am in awe of how she kept it together as long as she did - good choice in partner there, Mum. How do you - physically and emotionally - survive giving a baby up for adoption, marrying and having four children in five years (and at least one miscarriage)¶ then, when you've recovered - getting pregnant again!
I admire the fact she got out when she realised that it was best for us all if she wasn't there. And that she tried, with the best of intentions, to make things easier for us left behind, by turning herself into the baddie.‡
Her honesty - once she realised that she and Dad were heading towards the altar, she told him about her baby. That took courage - it was 1955 after all. And, yay for Dad, he turned up for their next date.§
Since Dad died, things have been tough. But she hasn't really let us in to that. How would we understand? I know she's struggled, though. She lost a huge part of her identity very quicky - within a short time frame (two to three years) both of her parents and her life-parnter died. She has had to reinvent herself as her roles as daughter and wife have gone.
And she's done so.
I love you.
*Even if my sisters called me a spider monkey. [On their first visit with me, I was yellow, covered in black hair, and all limbs, and no body fat - that'll be why I'm about six-months old in my first photos]. Oh, and my nana would say 'every time I see a frozen chicken, it reminds me of what you looked like when I first saw you' - and grandad would say 'you were like a little frog. We didn't think you'd make it]. That's got to affect you - not knowing that your new baby would make it home.
#Being a flowergirl was right up there, though! Yes, that's me in the very cute Hollie Hobby outfit.
†Not so good in my big sister's world, as she had left her bedroom door ajar, and wasn't too pleased about an early morning visit from a very excited little sister to tell her the news!
¶From first pregnancy to the-next-one-up-from-me's birth - all told, just over 6 years.
‡Yes, it did make it hard - for the others - when she came back. But, we made it through. We all loved Dad, and he was happy.
§See, good choice in life partner!