Photo Essay Friday – Mum’s the Word


The 13th of May – Sunday – will mark the internationally celebrated Mother’s Day. A day, as we see in movies where you finally take time to visit you mum and treat her to a gift basket of pink bathing salts that you bought on sale at the local supermarket or treat her to a sumptuous dinner drowning in carbs, even when you’re supposed to remember that she is diabetic. You then forget all about her as you move on with life, until her birthday.

I know pessimism is not what you expected, especially when you look at the cute picture of the baby and the mummy that introduces this blog post, but what I mentioned above does have it’s true origins. I even know of families where the now, grown-up offspring don’t even remember their mother’s birthday! I see the way she looks at my mum in church, when my brother and I fuss around her. I wish I could give her a little bit of the love she needs, but it will never be the same as getting it from your own kids.

My daddy hates Mother’s Day. And Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

“Bloody commercialized nonsense!” He would scoff, shaking the Sunday morning paper as if he could somehow dislodge the Mother’s Day special brunch offered at the Hilton, Colombo off the page. “Don’t you kids dare give me anything on Father’s Day! Whenever that blasted day is!”

I’ll tell you something about my dad. He hardly ever swears.

I agree with him. I hate what the world has done to holidays. No wonder kids today don’t understand the romance or magic behind Christmas. Commercialism’s a hard hearted bitch.

But I can’t say I don’t think having Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a bad idea. Today, we just don’t have enough time. We continue to invent smarter phones and faster computers but we still find that twenty four hours in a day isn’t enough to get all our work done. Which is probably why people forget their parents in the first place, I mean, they hardly think about themselves!

Having a specific day in which you celebrate your mother may actually help this workaholic society to slow down and pick up a bunch of carnations to plonk down on their mama’s teak dresser, at least once a year, after all, they say that is is the thought that counts.

For Mother’s Day, me and my brother whip up something small and make sure that our mum feels special on that day. The thing is, him still being in school and me being totally jobless, we still have the luxury of making our mum feel special everyday. 

This Mother’s Day, we’re going to do the cooking for once and maybe afterwards she’ll get a restraining order to keep us out of the kitchen but it is worth a try.

Mum and I have a great relationship. We’re like sisters, best friends. Both with foul mouths and bizarre ideals of humour that may leave the men in our family a little hot under the collars. But it wasn’t always this smooth.

I was her first child. She says she was terrified.

So naturally I had all her attention.

She says I was the most well behaved kid ever. I wouldn’t cry so easily and wherever my parents took me, I managed to dazzle the people in the crowd by being sweet, extremely friendly and highly opinionated. (I suspect that this maybe why Daddy’s old friends are still wary of me, as if once false move will have me biting off their heads.)

I think I got used to the princess treatment. My parents spoiled me excessively. Daddy always said that I was his lucky star and when I’m around everything goes his way.

We lived on a farm. I would follow my dad around every morning when he did his rounds and I would scold any employee dumb enough to cross my path. Oh my gosh, I must have been a tyrant!

As a result, I always wanted nothing but the spotlight, especially in kindergarten. I was put firmly in my place once I started Primary School, but that story is for another time.

Everything was awesome. In my own little paradise, I was Queen.

Then, four years of perfect bliss later, this happened…

Oh, be fooled not, dear reader by his  kawaii  demeanor. Under those rosy lips hide razor-sharp incisors capable of cutting his poor older sister’s skinny arm to shreds! Okay, he doesn’t have any teeth in this photo, but he will!

My brother is not so bad really, I’m exaggerating.

He is my best friend. But he was a sickly little baby, and my parents had to always rush him to the doctor. Suddenly, in a classic bout of ‘sibling blues,’ the princess was facing dire neglect.

Mum was looking at him with the doe eyes. She hardly noticed me anymore. I would go and play for hours in the forest behind our house, falling into pits, climbing trees and relatively living the wild life. Sneaking out of the house was easy. Once the sibling began to cry, I felt I was only getting in mum’s way, so I’d skip out.

This continued until he was almost ten years old. His asthma attacks would get worse, he hardly went to school and even then, mum would go and sit in with him. Nobody sat in with me when I was in preschool! I started thinking that my mum was being unfair. She had to look after both of us! Not just this little ball of adorable, attention stealing man-child!

I suppose in my naivety, I didn’t realize that even though my brother was a full time occupation, Mum still made sure I ate my vegetables, she’d notice any new cut, no matter how hard I try to hide it and she’s clean it up. She’d help me with my homework. She’d carry that whining bundle and turn up at the myriad of concerts and athletic meets, cheering me on, pulling me out of one costume into the next…

 There were times when she’d come back to me. Be just my mum, I didn’t have to share her with anyone. We had matching unruly fringes at one time, and I’m particularly proud of this photo. I think we look alike, while most of the time, people say I look like Daddy.

I would treasure those moments she was mine. I would tease my brother about it later and make him cry, and although I felt bad, it did give me a sense of satisfaction. My brother wouldn’t let it go so easily either. He started telling me that I was an adopted child from Romania. There were times I actually believed him!

He’s fine now, if you must know. The asthma disappeared and he filled out fast, going all tall, brooding and handsome and annoyingly so.

Through all my mistakes and stupidity, my mum was right by my side supporting me. Even today, while I don’t compete for her attention anymore, I love the times we spend together, window shopping or me trying to help out in the kitchen. (Disaster!) I feel proud I inherited her crazy sense of humour and I love how she understands me, even when I don’t say a word.

She’s the source of my strength and I am inspired by her everyday. How strong she is, lugging around things that no man could carry, how brave she is, killing pythons with just one well aimed shot, how selfless she is, not eating until we have eaten, not buying anything for herself but always for us, putting up with my Daddy’s eccentricities, my brother’s demands and my downright crazy juice. She’s a true modern day warrior, an Amazon and when I celebrate Mother’s Day this year, I want to show her what she means to me.

I love you Mum. Happy Mother’s Day!

Make your mum feel special this Sunday. Whatever kind of girl, woman or wife she’s been, she is your mother! :)

Aah!! There’s an apostrophe!! But I can’t be bothered to edit that photo again.

“And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m takin’ this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today.”  

The Best Day – Taylor Swift

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