Feeling: BLESSED, LUCKY, EXTREMELY GRATEFUL
Now, I’m not really one for a lot of gush. Now and then when I write a post or status, a bit of soppy-ness may slip in here and there but I always try to inject a bit of wit or humour to counteract it. So please, bear with me as the following may contain a truckload more than my usual limited sugary, syrupy sentimentality.
You know how when you’re a little kid, Mother’s Day often involves cards and little placards or mugs declaring, “World’s Greatest Mum”? I can honestly, whole-heartedly say that Deb is fully deserving of sipping her tea out of one of these cups. I could take on anyone in a debate with the moot being that I have the world’s best mother.
I’m the first to put my hand up to list her shortcomings. (There are very few, I’ll have you know). It’s true that nobody is perfect. I can’t handle how she always flicks her fingernails, how she jumps down my throat at times, and her indecisiveness when buying a clothing item really starts to fuck me off (“You’ve tried it on for me four times, I’ve told you to get it, what do you want from me?!”), but that’s about as annoying as it gets. She’s a pretty sensational lady.
Growing up, especially the past five to ten years, the remarks from observers that I’m so much like Deb in looks and mannerisms has become the norm. As a young teen, I took such comments in distaste. Not an insult per se, but as minorly offensive. My mum is not a bad looking woman at all; she is actually pretty damn hot with her nice clothes and trim figure, but come on. At 13, 14, who wants to be told they look like a mid-40 year-old?
Now I embrace such comments as compliments. I look my mum you say? Why yes, yes I do. I own it. I’m proud of it. I’m proud of her.
We always give my mum shit about her job at the Post Office. “How was licking stamps today Postman Pat?”. It never fails to amuse (us that is, not her). But in actuality, Deb is bloody good at her job. It’s not easy issuing passport papers, doing international transfers and calculating foreign currency when there is a line of irrant, impatient people snaking out the door. Sometimes when I go to the local PO I just watch her. She has such a welcoming demeanour with a warm smile, and you know she’s the lady everyone wants to get to serve them.
What really sets my mum amongst is her selflessness. Sure, some days she reminds us of it and acts the martyr on occasion but for the most she puts all of us before herself and runs a shipshape household. Henio sometimes gives her shit about stock control but our pantry and fridge are always full to bursting, and running out of a staple household item is seldom (and usually is because one of us kids finished something off and didn’t put it on the shopping list).
When my younger brother was 9 years old, he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. It’s funny, the cancer sort of ran our family for years as a massive part of all of our identities. Now however, it’s a fleeting thought once and awhile. (James is absolutely clear now and as healthy as can be; you’d never guess he’d been a Cancer Kid). My parents were fantastic throughout his treatment, doing all they could to ensure my older brother and I did not miss out on any opportunity or anything we wanted to do because of the Big C. Bloody hell, I was a rower, rising at insane hours and having training on the daily, and they managed to make it work. It’s only looking back I realise.
The day James was diagnosed mum left her much-loved job as a school receptionist and dedicated the next few years to James. Maybe dedicated isn’t the right word; committed maybe? Regardless, her life was all about him at the fore. She was so unbelievably strong and resilient; thinking about it I’m in awe of her.
Deb and I are extremely alike in some ways and can be rather short-tempered with each other. If one of us is in an abrasive mood, hackles rise quickly. If both of us are, it’s a full blown blaze of a row. And over the silliest, most mundane things as well. But we never hold grudges; resolutions are made very shortly after an outburst with one of us waving the white flag in the form of proffering a pinky finger to shake.
I just have to share this. My parents have never been ones for kicking us out to make us walk home when misbehaving in the car or grounding us for wrongdoings. I think the worst of all punishments would’ve been sending us to our room with no pudding. Until about two months ago.
I sold my much-loved BMW when I moved to Australia, and on return what with travelling and such, I haven’t yet bought a replacement. Deb has been ultra generous in letting me share her car with her, The Ravorous. Most of the time our working shifts would work around each other so it wouldn’t be an issue, but now and then schedules would clash.
One morning I started work at 8.30, Deb was at 9.30. My plan to walk to work was drowned by the torrential rain. So Deb said she’d drop me off. We got in the car and there was much martyr-like behaviour on her part, making sure I knew she was going out of her way to deliver me on time.
“Christ,” I exploded. “How long does menopause last for?”
Deb kicked me out of the car. I kid you not. She abruptly pulled to the side of the road, glared at me with her eyes flaring. “You get out and you can walk.”
I was in shock. Was this seriously happening? 23, and my mum was kicking me out of the car for a snarky remark? I went to backchat but withdrew at her dagger stare.
I was feeling extremely sorrowful. I was absolutely saturated, sniffling a little and most importantly, sincerely regretting my behaviour as I embarked on my trek to work. It brought the “Walk of Shame” a whole new meaning. I think I got about two streets in before I saw The Ravorous hurtling round the corner.
I hung my head as I opened the door and got back in the car. I looked up and met her eye and we both burst out in pearls of laughter. We linked pinkys at the same time and laughed and laughed.
I might give my mum a hard time now and then. We may clash on occasion. But she is such an absolute superstar, a sassy lady and my best friend.