I am reminded on this day that my mother gave me life and a good start, but what I have chosen to do, say, and think since then, and especially since I have been an adult, has been all my own doing...
|Swaddled to within an inch of my life...|
I still have the angora sweater my mum was wearing!
As luck would have it, my mother was smart. She liked a good drink and a Matinee cigarette. She read 4-5 books every week and hated housework, which she pretty much refused to do. She cooked, but it was never a passion, although she had a few recipes that could knock your socks off. She had a Masters Degree when most women her age were not attending university. Her idea of slumming it was the Holiday Inn and it is a real pity we were never wealthy, as I think she might have done wealthy really well! She liked Judy Garland, The Edge of Night, detective novels, good movies (the last movie she ever went to see in the theatre was Schindler's List when she was losing her eyesight), white rum, and wine. She loved her family and friends.
As I get older, I become more and more sympathetic towards my mother, something I wasn't always capable of when she was alive. More and more I feel like I am my mother's daughter; that the spark in me is the spark from her. She was, as they say, a trouper. And there are far worse things than to be the child of a smart trouper.
On this Mother's Day, I am reminded that, just as I have forgiven my mother all of her mistakes, so must I forgive myself for all of the mistakes I have made as a mother.
And in spite of my mistakes, I have managed to raise two fine, kind people and one neurotic dog (he takes after his dad).
We do well to remember that in the end, we are human. Our mothers were the ones who brought us into this world and if we are fortunate, we are able to be with them to see them out of it. And in between, we love them and they love us imperfectly. The world is full of frail people, and I have come to the conclusion that the job description of mother demands it of us.
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
So this Mother's Day, in the midst of being feted or feting, take a moment and thank god for the opportunities you have been given by your mother, wrapped as they are in all their perfect imperfection.
Me? I'll be drinking some wine and listening to Judy Garland in honour of the woman who started it all for me.