26 May 2011
Writing Prompt #2: "Not your mother's daughter...how do you parent differently than your mother did? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?" for Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writers Workshop
I do things differently from my Mother.
At least I'm pretty sure I do.
I mean, I have never sent my kids off to school with sandwiches looking like they're filled with slices of cheese - but which were actually slices of butter. No, I have never done that. I use Olivani. Lite.
And I go swimming. Mum never went swimming. I don't even know if she can swim?
She may have been shy of togs. Something about baby-weight? But me, I swim.
At least now I do. I used to be shy of togs too. (Togs are what we call a swimsuit)
But then one day I realised that my kids were missing out on having fun with me because I was worried about my cottage cheese thighs. The kids don't care about the cellulite. The passersby don't matter.
So now I swim.
I'm trying to think if I have ever remarked on my daughter's "low-slung bum" or her poor use of hairclips: "Scragging back your fringe like that makes you look so plain..."
No, I don't think I ever have. In fact, I'm sure of it.
I'm sure I tell my girlie all the time how pretty she is; OK sometimes I send her back into her room to change something about an outfit, but mostly I applaud her fashion sense, her hairdo's.
Funny how I can remember every negative remark my mum ever made.
Now me and my sisters tease her about it.
"Mum, remember when you wrote in your Family Heirloom book that my skin is pale?"
Oh I didn't! Did I?
"Yeah and remember when you drew that picture of the Grace Nose like a hook... and then said I have that nose?"
Stop it! I never meant it like that! Oh you girls are wicked!
Yeah we tease her about it now. We laugh about it. These days she is far more complimentary.
And I am careful. Careful not to make remarks that might be remembered forever.
Still, I'll bet sometime when I'm 60 my girl will say, "Mum remember that time you said my striped leggings looked ridiculous with my polka dot top...???"
Mum read me books all day long. So much so, that I had every one memorised and the neighbour kids were convinced I could read at the age of two. I wish I had her patience.
I get tired after a couple of rounds of Stick Man.
Mum endlessly drew "girls" for me, sketching them to my specifications.
I remember that; I can picture them now.
Sometimes Miss Fab asks for "girls" too. I draw Princesses for her in honour of my mother.
My mother took what she had and made it stretch.
She sewed gonks out of t-shirts; golliwogs out of bike shorts. I remember her home-made toys.
She was not a sewer. But she did it anyway.
Money was tight, but mum made sure birthdays were a celebration. We were Queen for the Day.
A $5 doll from the supermarket turned into a Princess Bride by mum's handiwork; she'd been up all night stitching the lacy gown. I will never forget it.
Birthday cakes, she made from scratch. A carousel cake, spinning on the record player I remember.
And her triple-chocolate gateaux? I still use her recipe.
Mum taught me to celebrate. Paved the way for my love of parties.
Made every Christmas a magical mystical thing.
Our one strand of un-blinking lights on an artificial tinsel-tree; made beautiful with collected and homemade treasures. I would sit and gaze at it for hours.
This blog, my parties, our celebrations were seeded by my mum's creativity.
She says to me as she looks at my cake photos, "Wow. You have taken what I used to do to a whole new level..."
Yes but she laid the foundation. She taught me the way.
So there are things I do different. Other things I will always do the same.
And through it all I honour my mum.
Because now that I am a mother myself, I know what a blinkin' hard job mothering is.
And I think that overall she did a great job. I mean, just look how nicely I turned out, right?