My mother hates to have her photo taken, it’s incredibly hard to get her to sit there and let you photograph her. She hates it, she’s never happy with them, and I totally get it. Photo’s always come out making you look absolutely ridiculous, unless you have the body of a supermodel and a face to match. Anyway, I have some, and she has no say over whether I put them up or not, they are, in essence, what she is for me though.
My mother isn’t like yours. I can bet you that. She may have similiarities, in that she too is a mother, but I am pretty much willing to bet you that’s as far as the similarities stretch.
She has the most ridiculous sense of humour in the world. And it has completely transferred onto her children. We are, ridiculous. There is no other way to put it. We just are.
I grew up in a household where farting was not just appreciated, but encouraged. For years and years, I was the black sheep of the family. I did not fart, even if I had. It got so bad, my sister apparently, would run around sniffing everyones bums to see who the culprit was. Unless you are a fart person, I advise you not to start a conversation about them with my mother, she will talk to you for days about them. She has, the best fart analogies in the world, and she can, fart you under the table, make no mistakes about it. She is, the Queen of the Fart.
When I was growing up, I have memories of being read to. In particular, read “The Magic Treehouse” where there was a girl called Fanny (here, dear American’s, a Fanny is the girl’s privates, not a bum like you all think!). Try as she might, mum could never keep a straight face, and neither could I. We would laugh until we cried every time she said the name. I’m not sure how long it took us to finish the book, but it was a riot.
When I was five, my best friend in the whole world, whose name just happened to be Aleeya, was a Christian. I decided, I wanted to be a Christian too. Mum was all for it, and I ended up in a catholic school, and we would go to church together. Church, was fantastic. I really loved it, because, like me, she has a case of the inappropriate giggles. We cannot be serious, anywhere. Church was particularly difficult. Everything would set us off, people sliding across the pews making fart noises, people giving readings with a lisp “Abwaham, Abwaham, get off your ass!” Everything. We would shake the entire pew, for an entire hour and leave feeling like we had been kicked in the ribs. Tears staining our faces. Church, didn’t last long for us..maybe a year? I can’t remember. But it was great fun.
I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t something ridiculous going on in our house. I, was always much too serious and brooding for such hilarity, and the games they played where often played while I stood and screamed in terror that it might, eventually be my turn to have my head flushed down the toilet. I was little, let’s not forget. And they were all almost fully grown. It was scary times! I had a cupboard in the lounge which was for my toys. I used to move them around until I could fit myself inside it and I would spend hours in it, writing all over the walls. I was never much of an artist with pictures, it was always words. I don’t recall ever being told off for this either. I spent most of my days in that cupboard.
Mum I think, has always wanted to be a grandparent. She got her wish, but she was much too young to be a grandmother, and became instead a Poppy. She knitted up a storm for her grandkids, mine probably in particular, little girls, you know. They never went without anything. They had the cutest clothes in the whole baby kingdom and we barely had to buy them anything. She can knit and sew anything she puts her mind too. She made a lot of our jumpers and clothing even when I was in my teens. You’re never grateful at that age, and then, when you really desperately want something, she’s given up, because you were such an ungrateful creature that she cannot be bothered anymore. Honestly, I don’t know how she put up with me, so I gave her granddaughters. Granddaughters who are, incredibly grateful for everything she makes them. They cherish their gifts like nothing else. And it is a fight to get them out of them, even when they are worn out and full of holes.
The older I got, the more I value her and what she did for me while I was growing up. We definitely had our differences, and there were times I daresay neither of us really liked one another, but she did her best, and she stood by me through everything. She has been my biggest supporter, she reads everything I write and pimps me out to everyone who will click that link and read me. She’s kept the stories and pictures I drew when I first started school at five and began to write. She listens when I need to talk about how difficult it is to have daughters, and while I know she’s completely amused at the fact that I am getting back, what I gave her, she has sage advice that always helps.
Mum kept a perfect house, she spent her life working hard and making sure we have everything we needed. I don’t remember ever wanting for anything. She always listened to what I wanted, and she did her best to provide for me. She has the amazing ability to spring back from everything life throws at her, including a heart attack (she drove herself to the hospital while having it), and then baffled doctors by healing with no scar tissue on her heart at all. She was there, when I gave birth to Siobhan, and she flew down the day I rang her to let her know I’d given birth to Aleeya.
She’s one of those women that you’re thankful for, because she’s never too serious, she doesn’t take herself too seriously, and when you do catch her in a photograph, she’s always much more attractive than she thinks she is.
There are four generations of us now. Four generations of girls. We are still going strong, and we still have the most juvenile sense of humour in the world. I can’t begin to tell you the hours we spent rolling around the house screaming and laughing and making up filthy alliteration sentences. These are the things that I am passing down to my children…word games which seemed like they were just for the silly fun of them, and which helped shape me into a woman whose passion is steeped deeply, in the written word. Thank you mum, for being my early inspiration, for indulging my desire to be read to, and to read, and for (maybe) unknowingly, helping me learn how to write so that people want to read what I have to say.
I love you more than chocolate – and you know what a big thing that is for us right? Happy birthday you dirty old woman. Here’s to growing old disgracefully, with red hats and purple clothes and exa exa’s to the whole damn world who think otherwise!