I just found this which, clearly, I intended to publish in February. Here’s some light holiday entertainment…
Two years ago, my mum died unexpectedly. Heart attacks are often thus. I still miss her most days.
She was an excellent baker – there were always homemade cakes in the cupboard. Aunty Mary’s fruit cake, which was light-coloured and included glacé cherries, was a staple. As was nutty flip. My own specialty seems to be banana loaf, which largely stems from our inability to eat bananas in time.
She really enjoyed creating. Several times she “switched” hobby, although textiles were usually a common theme. Her main craft was always studio pottery, but knitting, cross stitch & tapestry always featured. She taught me to make my own clothes, which the fashion industry may not have thanked me for over the years. The shiny blue shorts I made for my gay friend Paul haunt me to this day. The trousers that were converted to a punk-style skirt got a lot of wear, in spite of the difficulty I had walking in it.
We seem to have a similar approach to childcare. She once confessed to me that she got away with spending a remarkably small amount of time playing with us when we were infants. To be fair, I *don’t* remember her joining in with Sindy games, but I’m pretty sure that if she had, then like me, she would have been unable to bring herself to play in the way I wanted her to. Lily keeps trying to feed me lines but I can’t bring myself to be fully compliant and at the very least have to re-phrase them… On the other hand, she always spoke to us like we were people, not like we were children. We once encountered someone in a hotel who spoke “down” to me when I was about 10, and I thought he had something wrong with him. Mum chose not to contradict me.
She would be made up at Lily’s knitting, although I’m sure there would have been a strong temptation to help her out and take her back to *before* the extra 10 stitches were created… I’m resisting because I don’t want her to feel she’s doing it “wrong” and get disheartened.
Although she could be very direct, she was also gentle when necessary. If your mother can’t tell you when you’re carrying a few extra pounds, who can, after all. That voice, which incidentally still comes from my Dad, is now supplemented by the knowledge that my mother and my maternal grandfather both keeled over without much warning. So the less extra I’m carrying the better. But cookies and wine (not necessarily together) are so nice. On the flip side, it’s her voice I hear when I feel like someone is being ganged up on. How do you think that makes them feel?
So, 2 years on she’s still very much missed. But I’m remembering to enjoy the memories a bit more these days.