We have this great rule in our family. If you can’t find a decent card you don’t have to send/give one. I even tried looking around for a good e-card but they all really sucked. I felt bad that I didn’t do more than just call my Mum today to wish her a happy birthday (although I do have something for her but I am waiting until she returns to give it to her, nurse and no, advice it isn’t a grandchild – well, not just a grandchild) and then I thought – well, at least I can write.
I think one of the reasons I am so excited to become a Mum is because I have such a great one. There are many funny stories floating around about how Mum was terribly upset when she found out she was pregnant again when she thought she was finished have children. Apparently the doctor suggested that they could “do something about it” which further horrified her. I was jokingly called “their little abortion” (obviously I didn’t find this out until I was an adult) and Mum lived in fear that I would be the child from hell since she spent the first couple months of her pregnancy so miserable. Despite Mum’s hatred of being pregnant (not of children she likes to assure me) I never once felt unloved by either her or my Father – which is probably why I came out a very happy baby and why I find all of the stories funny.
My sister and I joke that we have very different parents. Her parents were young and inexperienced. My parents were much more sure of themselves (seemingly) which is what two children and 10 years will do to you. My Mum went back to school when I was little and got a Phys-Ed degree, she coached swimming (I swam), she put wheatgerm on our cereal and made her own yogurt for a time. She had a career she loved that didn’t make me feel any less loved as a child – in fact she often involved me in it. When I was in high school we would workout together before school/work, we travelled to Spain together and learned we don’t do well with champagne as we got tipsy on Sangria Con Cava and had a hard time finding our way back to the hotel room in Tarragona. She has always been my biggest supporter.
Most of all, she is a giver of unsolicited, and often unintentional, good advice that has always stuck with me:
- Remember Melanie, people are stupid. (She doesn’t remember saying this but it has always helped me remember that most people are stupid, that you can’t do anything about that and to just move on).
- You can’t be friends with everyone. (Advice to me as a young child in Catholic school who kept being told she HAD to be friends with everyone which caused her endless amounts of stress).
- Sex isn’t the most important part of a relationship so you might as well start doing it. (The context of this is that it was really advice for a friend who thought it wise to wait until marriage to have sex but I think I was probably the only recipient).
- You don’t have to tell your Mother everything – there are some things I just don’t need to know. ‘Nuff said.
One of the few pictures of just the two of us that I have. This was taken in 2000 when my parents were living in Scotland and we were heading out to a Ceilidh. I wish I had more pictures of us.
So, Happy Birthday Mum. I am definitely your daughter – right down to the wheatgerm (well, flax these days) and homemade yogurt. I can’t wait for my little one to get to know you.