Mothers Day

What does it mean to you?

I get so very upset when I see the bombardment of advertisements spruiking their sales pitch, aimed at instilling a feeling of guilt to those that don’t buy their Mum the biggest or best and of course most expensive gift, or the flipside being those that bemoan it’s just far too commercial now.

          The truth of the matter is most Mums don’t want or expect expensive gifts, that’s not what Mother’s day is supposed be about. The words I love you Mum from any offspring of any age outclasses any other Mother’s day gift on earth.

          I for one thank god I was blessed with the gift of our children, who by just being themselves have given me more riches than money could ever buy, commercialism has nothing to do with my idea of Mother’s day I need no extra gifts, I have had a life time full of them every day, and to all Mums out there, I know deep down it is the same, we are a very privileged band of people.  

          As I look into the faces of my adult children on this special day, I find myself slipping back in time, to a much younger Mum’s place.

          The diamond earrings that were purchased at the flea market with saved pocket money and given with such love and excitement you were wrong Mummy, diamonds don’t cost a lot of money at the market, putting up with the green rings that formed from wearing them.

          A plastic string of love hearts, given with such majesty as if they were pearls. Being confided to by the mother that sold our daughter the metal soap shaker, that when she tried to persuade this first grader to buy something “pretty” for Mum from the stall, she was told in no uncertain way, Mummy doesn’t like them she needs a new shaker, that shaker, well used and now rusty, resides in my treasure box along with the things that were bought with more love than money.

          It is remembering the cold bread, butter and Vegemite sandwich served with tea made with cold water, because you know I am not allowed to use the toaster or kettle till I am seven.

          While chopping wood for the fire and overhearing our young son tell his friend, when I grow up I want to have muscles like Mummy…. Or all those cuddles that were needed NOW.

          These are a fraction of the priceless memories that are sealed with love and bound to my heart that make up Mother’s day for me, to be revisited at any given time, not only on the second Sunday in May.

Every Mum has a treasure trove like this hidden away, so to all out there that are Mums, will one day be Mums or to those that take on a Mum’s role, you have got the best gift of all,  cherish it, it’s a very important one …  Happy Mother’s Day

Family

Tis the families of old, or so I’ve been told, who held the recipe
for the harmonious living to which we all hanker.
Mother ruled indoors … prior to speaking, cunning kids used to pause
while Father the sternest of males was mainly the anchor.

All that were able, quietly sat around the table for home cooked meals,
typically consisting of meat and three healthy veg.
Most children attended to their after school jobs, without rancour or sobs,
the young then preferred never to skate through life on the edge

Stay at home Mums were the norm before woman’s lib was born,
she undoubtedly being the glue that cemented the home together.
With our world revolving and progress evolving, orthodox family values
have undergone more changes than Melbourne’s weather.

With home duties no longer a perk some Mums went to work, slick kids seemed to have it made now dads no longer wielded complete control.
Meals once a family affair, now a chemical prepack if you dare, zapped in the micro, then eaten from the pack not a bowl.

After school chores they skirt, as iPods and mobiles sound another alert,
for exercise and outdoor activities now, no time.
One wonders, how much won against that lost after morals were surely tossed, family life seemed more family-ish when in my prime.

It’s Too Quiet

Its quiet, too quiet, could be that everyone had gone back to sleep, albeit highly unlikely at ten am on a Saturday morning.
A choice to make; do I take advantage of this bonus, with four kids under six it doesn’t happen very often, but no … would be different if Tom was home, his early morning starts still have two more to go.
What the! that’s not normal, the dogs! … I can hear them barking from their pen!! They’re never penned unless we’re going out. Where are those kids – TJ, Sarah, Junior, Wendy, where are you? Come on kids Mummy wants you please … nothing … into TJ’s bedroom … no one under the bed, shoot have to remember to vacuum there later, through each bedroom, no one there either. TJ, Sarah, Junior, Wendy, stop it, this isn’t funny, Mummy’s not joking, answer me please. Playroom empty, breakfast dishes on the table so they have eaten … outside TJ, Sarah, Junior, Wendy where are you?
The silence is frightening, Oh hell surely not in the garage it’s supposed to be locked … it is, no kids here. The chook shed, maybe they’re collecting (and dropping) the eggs. Not there damn! TJ, Sarah, Junior, Wendy answer me NOW, dead silence.
Please god! … Police … call the police don’t wait, things happen, time is crucial, rushing past the dog pen wishing they could talk, wait they may know … open pen, find the kids, Rover, find TJ, both dogs are off in a flash down the block over the fence barking like fury.
Oh my god NO, they’re running around atop the dam bank, racing in the wake of the charging dogs, trying not to panic while struggling with the gate latch that has jammed again, how many times have I asked for this to be fixed? No time … climb over, nearing the dam my vision is being partially blocked but I can hear excited voices and see waving arms behind the bank, Oh dear god, climbing the bank I hear Rover, Spot get out, go home … TJ, Sarah, Junior, Wendy? … rounding the dam I see they are behind the opposite bank. What the hell is going on, why are you here, laying on the ground?, TJ’s yelling and waving his arms, Mummy Mummy come quick, but keep Rover and Spot away … I was worried sick TJ, speak to me young man.
        Mummy, Mummy look, Mrs Woolly is making babies she made one and is making another one, look Mum we can see it’s feet and nose, you said she wouldn’t have a baby till daddy was home to help her, she did it all by herself and she made two look.
Oh Dear lord thank you.

Singing through my tears

Moved to Tears

Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!

 

It had happened again, as it does about this time every year, I had been taken over by a little person that resides deep within, as I feel does in every one,. She refuses to let adulthood take over her place in my life since she woke as a child, and to this day swears she saw Santa putting gifts on the end of her bed.

Now the only problem I have with this ego, is that for some reason the sound of Christmas carols set her emotions on an unexplained ebb and flow of haunting warmth and longing, that triggering off a rollercoaster ride which in turn opens the floodgates and tears start to flow … Automatically I attempt to join in, albeit is impossible to sing along and cry at the same time.

Having battled this embarrassing conundrum all my life, although years ago arrived at the stage where I can almost pretend they are not playing everywhere in the shopping centers, therefore I get to do most of my shopping without sobbing, although the bill sometimes makes me want to.

Now this new problem arose last December in the form of a five year old Fairy Princess who calls me Nana and spends every Friday yakking at me. I was instructed it was time to put up home decorations, okay this means we had to visit the garage. Oh goody! … Rummaging through twelve months of accumulated dust to locate boxes, then lug them back to the shamefully undecorated lounge room.

With ladder in hand and supervisor on a chair in the centre of the room, I was directed as to what was to go where, all fine as I do enjoy this part of Christmas, but sadly neglected to continue the tradition after our own offspring had flown the coup.

Then the REQUEST that led to the quandary of how to handle the situation. Nana, can we Please play Christmas carols, jingle bells and Rudolf the red nose reindeer? Being the best Nana I can, I dig out the records and the player (yes I am not that modern) I still have Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.

Anyway she is so mesmerised by Nana’s funny big black cd’s as she called them, she didn’t notice my half strangled replies or the eyes starting to fill,  even going into another room didn’t help as my Friday shadow was right there yakking.

After playing the above mentioned requests, and before I completely dissolved into a blubbering mess, I put on White Christmas and did the only thing I could think of at the time, I started to sing along with Bing. Now for those of you out there that unaware, I’m the only Mum I know of that when she sang lullabies to her babies they started to cry until I stopped.

It only took one carol before my Princess decided it was time to go outside for the twentieth time to see if the chooks had laid any more eggs.

I think I need a better solution, as I don’t want her to grow up crying every time she is with me and hears carols, in case Nana starts to sing again.

 

Sharing is caring

The announcement …Time for the birthday cake … has the scattered little guests gathering around the beaming birthday girl, leaving adults to watch on with indulgent smiles. Observing this part of the proceedings is by far for me a most enlightening experience. Watching all the little ones sporting excited faces noisily gather around, pushing and shoving to get that front and centre sort-after position closest to the table, near the cake.
The birthday cake extravagantly covered in pink and white icing, with sparklers and candles blazing, is ceremoniously born aloft, usually by the very proud mum, then placed in front of the milling crowd of children, some with rosy little cheeks puffed out together with pursed lips ready, in the hope of being permitted to help the baby blow them out … one year old and all those candles!
It can be almost prophesying to reflect on their body language, bright excited eyes, big grins spread over their party-food smeared faces, sticky hands clasped in excitement, or clapping for no apparent reason other than to expel some unexplained burst of excited energy, then joining in the Happy Birthday song with as much gusto of members in some award winning choir.
I cannot help but wonder what it is that grips children then holds them in the state of sheer delight, it’s not their birthday, they don’t get the gifts, the older of them must realise that the baby has no real concept of what is going on, so what is it that keeps them so enraptured for a few captivating moments?
Every one … adults included … gathered around both the child and the birthday cake, having no thoughts other than total support, while appreciating that the moment of pleasure belongs solely to the birthday person. Within a matter of minutes of that cake cutting, magically the veil lifts, children are running around or back bickering among themselves, adults have returned to the conversations that had been interrupted.
Although my question is never answered, every time I attend a birthday party and witness this extraordinary moment of total unselfish support for another person by all present, I am grateful.

Writing 101, Day Sixteen: Serial Killer III

Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile

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What’s in a name

Picking up the phone, I was pleased to hear my niece-in-law calling to have a chat; after swapping different family news came a request, I had no trouble with. Telling me she was trying to trace the family tree down my side, would I happen to have a copy of my parent’s marriage certificate, the answer was no, but in my particular line of work one of the duties was obtaining different certificates from the office of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, so I would be happy to do this for her if it would help .

After filling out the application and handing it and the appropriate government fee to the cashier, there was the usual five minute wait, and under normal circumstances, the certificate was handed to the purchaser. Not this time, the woman bringing up the details on the computer, starts to look concerned, looking at the screen and across to me, eventually she asks if I’m sure of my facts, as they have no record of a marriage between the two names I had supplied. As this had been my mother’s second marriage, I thought maybe she used her first married name instead of her maiden name, so I gave the woman that name, more confused looks and rechecking her computer, then again saying sorry, no match. I’m stumped and tell her they are the only names I have for my mum at the time they married. Never mind there is another way we can try, she says, I’ll look using your fathers details. Again, she asks me to repeat the details I had given her, including the names of my grandparents on his side, all this is verbally relayed to her

The results of that search had her asking if it was important that I get the certificate, as sometimes it’s better to leave things as they are and not to delve into parent’s affairs. Good lord, I thought the poor woman is trying to either save or protect me from embarrassment or prepare me for some shock. Trying not to giggle I quietly informed her that as I knew my mother very well, there was nothing she could tell me about her actions that would spiral me into hysterics. With that, I was handed the certificate by the woman who had no intention of going anywhere, until she heard my reaction to learning that my mother had the same surname as my father before their wedding. All I could do was stare stunned at the information and tell her I had some more investigation to carry out, retreating from the office before bursting into gales of laughter. Mum had struck again.

On arriving home that evening I showed my hubby the certificate, he just laughed and wanted to know what I was planning to do, well sure as eggs are eggs I can’t tell my niece about this until I speak to my dad. Obviously, there had been some sort of monkey business going on wayback then, and I’ll be damned if I want to be responsible for rocking the boat or hurting feelings, I’ll give him a ring. Admittedly, by this time I was intrigued, having come to the realisation that she had to have changed her name by deed pole, but for the life of me I couldn’t work out why.

I was thrilled when Dad answered their phone, (he had of course remarried many years ago, even so there are some things second wives mightn’t be aware of) after the usual pleasantries I asked him if he would mind answering a question regarding mum, if I know the answer it’s yours he told me. Assuring him I wasn’t prying but explained about his granddaughter-in-law doing the family tree and wanting a copy of the marriage certificate, so rather than hassle him for it I had obtained one myself. The infectious chuckle must have started deep in his throat and resounded clearly through the phone, relieving me of all the tension I hadn’t realised I’d built up, having to ask the question. Why did she do it Dad, you obviously knew about it and went along with it … ok I will understand if you’d rather not discuss it, but I am ready to burst with curiosity, what was her reason. It’s ok love, yes she changed her name because I had to return home to Nana & Pop’s, the war had just finished and I had only just arrived back in Australia, no time to marry first, you know what Nana was like, she would not have accepted us just living together, it was 1945 and parents were very strict, and I wasn’t of age, so your mother changed her name and told them we were married, until we could sneak off to Melbourne for a few days to marry at the registry office. There was some more joking back and forth, and we made the decision to give out the wedding date for the family tree, but there was nothing to be gained in handing over the certificate. So it resides in among the usual family papers that may or may not be treasured when the next generation come across them.

Writing 101, Day Twelve: (Virtual) Dark Clouds on the Horizon

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Take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation.

Broken bones mend.

The above topic brings to mind a conversation I overheard between our nine year old son and his friend as they approached our front door on returning home from school. Well you said you liked basketball, and we gotta sign up today if we want to play, why don’t you sign up? I’m gunna, it will be fun. It was our son’s reply that had me instantly stop fuzzing with the cushions on the lounge and plopping onto it instead. Yeah I know, but when I play games, I always end up breaking myself, so I didn’t tell Mum it was sign-up day.

            Oh Lord, I had no idea he felt that way, yes both our children had a record of breaking their arms or fingers, and one time our son had broken his nose. This had been explained to them by the Doctors (after, I might add their father and I had satisfied all concerned that they were not abused children), that some children were more accident prone than others and would hopefully grow out of it.

            Sitting on the lounge weighting up the pros and cons, do I pretend I didn’t hear them, and keep him closeted safe at home, out of harm’s way, or do I let him be a little boy joining the team  and take his chances in the rough and tumble of growing up.  Visions of my own childhood on the farm, climbing trees, falling out of them, and off bikes, growing up unhindered and free, flash into my mind.

One doesn’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to know, understand or accept, that we as humans learn basic life lessons by example, trial and error. Shaking my head, I grab my keys, lock the doors and call the children, come on we have to get down to the school, today is the last day to sign up for basketball young man, and I don’t want you to miss out. After assuring him that he had probably gown out of getting broken bones, and if by chance he hadn’t, we would just have to go get it fixed like the other times.

I was treated to the warmest Mummy hug and a grin that was worth the worry I would have to endure every Saturday for the next ten or so years.