WARNING: The following post contains such excessive levels of schmaltz sentiment that you might want to have a bucket handy. Just in case, ya know?
When I was a little girl, so sweet and innocent (stop laughing) I thought my mum was awesome. She, along with my collection of Barbies, was the centre of my universe. But then I hit puberty and something happened… I could say that we didn’t see eye to eye, that we had different goals but it would be simpler, and much more accurate, if I just said that I became a bit of a cow. Actually, a lot of a cow. I was horrible. So horrible in fact that I’m surprised she ever spoke to me again. I did everything she didn’t want me to do – I went out with boys that were no good, got my tongue pierced at 16, a tattoo at 18 and was generally not very nice to be around.
Even after puberty had run its tragic course we were never super close. Over the years we had periods of getting on really well followed by periods of estrangement, caused each time, I’m ashamed to admit, because of me. One of those barely speaking times happened during my pregnancy – and it took all my strength to swallow my stupidly large pride (would have been easier to swallow if I could have washed it down with a cocktail, but alas, I was preggers) and tell her, when I was seven months along, that I missed her and wanted to share this time with her, I wanted her to experience her baby having a baby.
When Tricky arrived we finally had a common ground – the shared experience of motherhood! I cannot describe how helpful having her close by during those first few weeks was. She understood exactly how I was feeling, and could empathize with the sleepless nights and painful boobs. Plus she was the only other person who could soothe Tricky (and me) when he was upset – a mother’s touch perhaps?
But the thing that has brought us so close together has been Tricky’s craniosynostosis because she knows exactly how it feels to have a child needing surgery; the constant back and forth to the specialist appointments, the different medications (that you can rattle off the names and dosages of without even looking) and the intense emotions that come with it all. She even knows how bloody uncomfortable the chairs to sleep in at the hospital are!
She has made my life easier by coming over and washing the dishes, bringing me lunch, folding the laundry, playing with Tricky while I have a bath or a nap, and by sharing hopes and fears with me. Where she got her amazing strength and how the hell she managed to keep her sanity all those years ago, with three children under three, one who was dying plus a sick husband to boot, I have no idea.
Where did this woman come from? Why didn’t I know about her earlier? Why hadn’t she shown this side of herself to me before? She could have helped with all sorts of things; been that shoulder to lean on, the sympathetic ear, the giver of sage advice. In a manner similar to a Punch and Judy audience shouting “Behind you! Behind you!” I can hear you all chanting, “She did! She did! You just weren’t paying attention to it!” And you’d be right. She was there all along, I just didn’t know it.
So even though Map Guy is a very supportive husband and father, if you ask me to name the one thing that has made my life easier, that I wish I knew about earlier, there could only be one answer. My Mum. I might have known about her, but I didn’t know her and just how amazing she really is… can someone please pass me a tissue?
So what about you? Do you have a new found respect for or appreciation of your parents since becoming one yourself?