Word of warning for the stone-hearted or eye-rolling types: ~emotions~ lie ahead. My Mum and brother are my best friends, but my Mum is also my hero. My Mum, younger brother and me are a very tight-knit trio, having been through a lot together. I won’t go into details here, but my Mum has made sacrifices on an unimaginable scale for my brother and I, protecting us from the entire world and raising us on her own. We’ve turned out to be pretty stable and well-adapted people (perhaps all equally bonkers but in a friendly kind of way), and if I do even 10% as well as my Mum when I’m one day a mother I’ll consider it a job well done. Since it’s Mothers’ Day, I thought I’d share ten amazing things about my Mum, and explain a little bit about why I have so much respect, love and gratitude for her.
|This extremely grainy photo is courtesy of a holiday in 2009, when my Mum had a serious tan and I had a serious bangle addiction.|
UN: She’s a complete crazy cat lady, and if our cat wasn’t such a grumpy bugger who hates other cats she’d have a house full by now. Despite this, she does NOT want any more cat-themed presents because we’ve been giving her them for years, and now only do it for the exasperated expression when she unwraps ANOTHER cat print tea towel.
DEUX: She’s got the most amazing olive skin and is going to look so badass when she goes properly grey. She’s currently growing out several years of dying it brown and I can’t wait for her to be completely grey. Also, no, she will not be cutting her hair short no matter how old she gets. She was made to have short hair for way too long and it looks fab long.
TROIS: One of her favourite things to do is ironing (are we even related?), except for bed sheets even though they’re the easiest thing to do.
QUATRE: I may be into my fantasy and sci-fi like my Dad, but my Mum is all about the crime novel. I don’t really get the fascination when there isn’t at least a historical or fantastical twist; what do you mean he isn’t secretly a vampire and it’s just set in modern day?
CINQ: She went back to working full time before I was four months old to support our family through difficult times. She worked ridiculously hard for us and changed all of her plans for the sake of others. Apparently, the nursery used to pop me under the Christmas tree and I’d just stare at the baubles and lights for hours.
SIX: She somehow survived my insane teenage moodswings. I’m especially thinking of the times when the pill sent me absolute off-the-scale bonkers during lower sixth, and I screamed at her when she suggested I wasn’t ready for uni, or when I got it into my head the Grudge was real (despite never having even seen the film) and I was refusing to have a shower because I thought it would show up. She locked me in the bathroom until I had a shower while in absolute hysterics, and I remember her just stifling laughter at the absurdity (for real though, I was pretty much delusional and this is why I do not touch hormonal meds). She put up with my absolute insanity and helped me figure out what was wrong with patience, understanding and minimal giggling.
SEPT: She taught me French so well that I still dream in it on occasion, and can slip back into the basics so easily. I’m a long way from fluent, but I can definitely get around France and navigate a menu without really thinking about it.
HUIT: She instilled a great love of reading in me from a very young age. It started with her ancient Enid Blyton books which have both of our childhood scrawls in, thirty years apart. She bought me my first fantasy book, Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure, which changed everything for me.
NEUF: She gave my brother and I incredibly privileged lives, with amazing holidays at least once a year, everything we wanted (within reason), and above all, a happy and welcoming home.
DIX: She always saves me. Whether it was supporting me financially so I could pay rent on two flats at once to escape a toxic and dangerous flatmate, picking me up and taking me in after a devastating breakup, driving me home despite just having had a knee operation or countless other scenarios, I know that if I need her, she’s there. She refuses to downsize her house until my brother and I both own property, so that we always have a place to go back to. No matter where I am in the world, and I really mean anywhere, I know that if I really need her she’ll come and get me. She’s picked me up in the middle of the night from my flat in Birmingham when I was running a fever and was alone, she’s ferried me all over the country to see friends and family, she’s paid for holidays to the other side of the world and waved me off with tears in her eyes. No matter where I go she’s always there, waving goodbye or welcoming me home.
I’m a little bit in awe of her, even though I’m now grown up and see her as a person rather than an all-knowing deity; in fact, I think I’m even more in awe now that I actually understand who she is and how she got there. She gave up everything for my brother and I. I almost can’t believe she’s real. I know she’s not superhuman, although I did kind of think this as a child. Now I know she’s a very real, very hardworking and astonishingly kind woman. I love her more than I can say and I’m more grateful than I ever will be to anyone. She’s an incredible woman and I know how lucky I am to have her as my mother. Her name is Dawn, and she’s my hero.