My Mother is an amazing woman. Yes, everyone says it on Mother’s day, so let me give you some truth – Mum and I have had an extreme rollercoaster of emotions to get to me knowing what a boss she is. I got a lot of my qualities (good and, er, less good) from her – her love of music, punny jokes, water in general and the beach in particular. A determination devolving into stubbornness. A need to prove myself. Above all else, a fierce love for ‘my people’.
Headstrong and stubborn, I was by all accounts a difficult child who went on to be a fairly horrendous teenager for a while there. Mum and I had some intense times. We had difficulty understanding each other, which was slightly ridiculous as the answer was clearly in that we were so alike. Here’s the thing though – I always knew she loved me. I knew that she was in my corner, ready to fight for me in any way necessary. She would take down any opponent however she could, and here’s a story of when I really realised it.
When I was 15, I was having a particularly awful time at school dealing with some people who, for whatever reasons, did not like me. One day I snapped, lied to the office staff about an appointment, walked out of school and went home. Mum was working at the time, and wasn’t due to be home for hours. I planned to wait it out, hide away from the world for the day, and start again tomorrow. I didn’t have to tell her I played hooky. It wasn’t the first time (oops, sorry mum, pretty sure you didn’t know that), and I’d dust myself off and could try again. Except I didn’t, and I couldn’t. As I walked in the door to our house I found I had reached the end of my rope, and I needed someone to take over. The remarkable part is that, as I picked up the phone and dialed her office number, I wasn’t even slightly afraid. I needed my mother, and I knew that she would be there for me. Trouble would be coming, but I knew it wouldn’t be from her (or Dad, I might add).
I told her everything, through sobs, and after a little comfort, she immediately got on the phone to the school and read them the riot act. Side note: Having been on the receiving end of said riot act, I can confirm that it is formidable and kind of like that feeling you get when you open a hot oven or get off a plane in a hot country. You will be blasted.
She sorted everything out, and less than two weeks later I would be attending a different school, who had previously refused me entry but suddenly catchment areas were no longer an issue, and I was in. She had done it all for me. I didn’t have to talk to anyone about it, no one (other than a few key staff members) at the old or new schools knew the reason I’d be moving, I would be able to tell my own version of the story and become myself however I pleased. Now, this part of the story is wonderful. The happy ending, but it’s not the only part. The next morning was a school day. I had hoped I’d be allowed to stay home, for a day at least, to avoid the situation, the people, and the pain. That is not what happened, school move arrangements were still being put in place and I needed to attend where I was until they were. I was gently told to get up, to get dressed and ready. I did, with the occasional tears of worry and fear sliding down my cheeks. I would not be allowed to skip out, that was not the way the world works. I had been given a pass on my afternoon of truancy, that had been my time to wallow and now I would have to fortify and get on with it.
As we got ready to leave, she slipped a token into my hand. It was a small red wooden heart. She told me that she would be thinking of me, and that she loved me, and that when it got hard (when, not if – smart woman), I could put my hand in my pocket, hold that heart, and know that she loved me. I made it through those last 10 days or so, knowing the unstoppable force behind me. More importantly, she taught me that I could get up and carry on. That I could go back to a horrific situation, take charge of my part of it, hold my head up, and move on. It was not as bad as I’d thought, and I think had I not gone, my first few days at my new school would have been more difficult. After all, how hard can a new school be when you’ve spent the last 10 days facing the people who ridiculed you to the point of running away?
Going that day was difficult, but it wasn’t until I had my own children that I learned how hard it must have been for her, knowing that I was scared and encouraging me to do it anyway. She never let it show, but I bet that day was just as hard for her as it was for me.
I watched Wonder Woman last night and there’s a line where Hippolyta says to Antiope, “You will train her harder than any Amazon before her. Five times harder, ten times harder. Until she is better than even you.” My Mum is Hippolyta. Not only does she command a horde of warrior women (I’m one of 6 sisters), but yes, she pushes us. She trained us hard, she helped make us who we are, and continues to help us whenever and however she can.(Does this make me Wonder Woman? I’m good with that.)
We get along far better than we used to, and she is one of my biggest supporters. After each of the boys were born she came to stay and help me adjust. When I decided to go back to school she was excited and supportive, and regularly asks how my work is going. I can confide in her, and she gives me kind advice and love without judgement, and the tellings-off are much fewer, farther between, gentler and (mostly) necessary 😉 And when it gets late and we’re together, the laughter is loud, long, and usually hard enough to bring on tears.
Yes. My mum is amazing. Formidable, wonderful, warrior woman queen.
typed from my fat fingers and said from my chickenlips (in jokes for another day) but most of all from my heart,
I love you x