DEAREST MOTHER 

I have finally begun to see my Mum as the multi-faceted person she is, rather than the person I conjured from my childhood. From my own shortcomings.  After all, my Mum is the reason I became a feminist.

I watched her clean the house to a shine, prepare special meals for my Dad, showered and scented before he arrived home. Wearing a fresh dress and a satisfied smile. While I sat and cowered beneath neatly placed cushions, in a dust free zone. That wasn’t going to happen to me.

My house doesn’t’ gleam. There’s no gleam in it. Clean and clear surfaces are rare. I didn’t use a vacuum cleaner until I was 33. I have lived with two different men. I made them do it. My sons have taken up the task now. I can delegate. Except the toilet. I could never get anyone else to clean the toilet.

As I age I realise that the mother I saw – the nifty-70’s housewife – was Queen of our house. While my Dad disappeared on the train to the mystery called ‘the office’ – Mum cooked, cleaned, hung curtains, changed plugs, mowed the lawn and raised 4 children. And she loved it. You hardly ever saw her work, it was done before we got home from school. I didn’t even see dust until I left home. I thought you had to shut up houses for years to get dust and cob webs – like in Scooby Doo.

Mum rose to the challenge of surviving on a tight budget. Never complained when we moved to a house miles from the shops or the train station – she never did take her driving test. At Christmas she dragged an enormous real Christmas tree a couple of miles, then on to a train, ending up with another hike home.

I undervalued her tireless work. I always wanted to be like daddy; dressed smartly, disappearing on the train to the ‘office of mystery’. And I did that until I nearly turned grey. I’m quite the homely one these days. After having kids and living in an idyllic tumbledown cottage on acreage. My house doesn’t look anything like my mum’s but when she visits she is kind. She doesn’t mention smeared windows and clutter. Although I have seen my Dad wince once or twice.

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday in the southern hemisphere. I’m a bad daughter as I always miss the northern hemisphere one. My excuse is that the cards aren’t in the shops yet. But I know I could make her one. I don’t.

They say that women understand their mothers once they have children. Well for me it took a little longer. I can be slow on the uptake at times. Finally I understand that housework wasn’t a distraction from me, or my siblings. That she preferred to spend time polishing and bleaching. It was how she showed her love. Now I’ve finally worked that out my wish is that my mum stays on this earth for many years to come. On the other side of the planet but all the same I want her feet in gardening shoes and low heels far far into the future. I’m lucky, she visits every year. And she probably won’t ever read this post but all the same, she might develop a craving for technology. You never know. She must be into her second childhood by now.

Happy Mother’s Day Mum. I got there in the end.

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8 thoughts on “DEAREST MOTHER 

  1. That’s beautiful …. (hate that word – substitute one!) – xxx
    And happy mother’s day to you, amazing girl.
    … my humble rental abode – Scooby-Doo eat your heart out … ps I know my mum also hates housework but even she would be shocked … 🙂 *sigh*

    • We have but a small time on earth – we should not spend it cleaning and stuff. I would rather look at the sky or a favourite book. Thanks for the words. Always make me smile. 😀

  2. Oh no Julie, that made me cry. Of course it was all love for her beautiful brood. The 70’s was a very strange time to be a female of any age. We had to lean forward to force the changes, whilst for the males it has been a case of ‘when the next generation is born’ they will understand the necessity. Our Mum’s were absolute hero’s. I know everyone says their Mums were, but ours really were. They had wrought iron coursing through their veins.

    • I’ve had a strange and rocky road with my mum. We’re just so different. For years we had frowned at other, trying to work out what goes on the the other’s head. I think I get it now. If I had an ounce of mum’s energy I would be a happy girl. She still has common sense coming out of her ears while I could never be accused of that. Sad and glad it made you cry. 😀

  3. Loved it and yes it made me cry too I sure mum would shed a tear too if she read it and also maybe she will understand things more this can be done by the magic of ‘sister’ I think we both have things to say to mum not sure i have covered all my differences that we have had but I hope she understands me a bit more as I try to understand her xxx

    • I like acceptance rather than going over old wounds. Mine are different from mum’s but may be related to the same situation, just different points of view. I’m not a good cry and discuss girl. I prefer to have a bloody good belly laugh and get on wi’it. Hope you are good – I’m behind in birthday thank-yous but that’s April for me. It’s just full of them. Present and birthday cash all gratefully accepted. Man Cave board still hanging in lounge room. I’m afraid. No, really. I’m afraid. Outnumbered. XXX

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