Every year on Mother’s Day, I send my mum a card thanking her for all the things she did for me during my childhood and teen years. Mind you, I wasn’t able to thank her for most of these until I was safely out of the confines of her house and care, mainly because she would have bolted the doors and denied me access to the outside world until I turned forty seven.
Here’s my list of the top things I have thanked my mum for in recent years. Of course, there are many, many more things, such as giving birth to me, covering all of my school books and writing my name on each and every pencil, but you get the gist. (And yes, she has a great sense of humour.)
1. Thanks for getting me out of nappies and toilet training me because it’s a really handy skill to have when you’re living on your own.
2. Thanks for making your special Chow Mein once a week, consisting of ninety five percent cabbage, three percent mince and two percent lurid yellow colouring. Because of this weekly torture, I am able to eat anything anyone serves me and lie convincingly about how delicious it is. (Even my mum admits that it was a terrible meal, and my eldest brother is as equally scarred as I am in regards to any form of Chow Mein.)
3. Thanks for being oblivious to the fact that a ‘Blue Lagoon’ cocktail contained both Vodka and Blue Curacao. We went out to dinner each Saturday night and I was permitted to have two (yes, two!) ‘pretty blue drinks’, resulting in me building up a tolerance to the effects of alcohol at an early age. Consequently, Saturday night with my parents didn’t suck too much.
4. Thanks for forcing me to bring each boyfriend home prior to them taking me out, (except for the ones I was smart enough to not tell you about). Each boy was interrogated and intimidated by the line up of my three large, scary older brothers. This ensured that I stayed single and dateless for the majority of my teens, which limited my exposure to sexual activity, prolonged my virginal state, and probably ensured that I didn’t catch a sexually transmitted disease or fall pregnant.
5. Thanks for sleeping like the dead so that sneaking out the front door in the middle of the night and into a revving V8 driven by some teenage boy was not such a challenge. These were the boys I never told you about.
6. Thanks for drinking cask wine instead of the bottled variety, because it was impossible for you to have known how much was missing.
7. Thanks for insisting that I accompany you to many seasons of live theatre because it was the first time I had ever seen a penis – although the smile on your face at the sight of the young, naked actor was burnt into my memory like a branding iron and haunts me to this day. I still don’ t know what disturbed me more – a real-life penis or the Cheshire Cat grin on your face and enlivened mood for the rest of the evening.
But most of all, thanks for being you. Love you to the sky and back again, Mum! xx