Wednesday, 16 May 2012

On being a mummy's girl

A rare photo of mum and I when I was little - child no.4 didn't have many taken! 

I would never ever think to describe myself as a mummy's girl. I'm just NOT one of those people. I do not think of mum as my 'best friend'. I do not tell her everything ... well ok, I do, but not because she is my best friend but because she just somehow brings that out in me. I simply feel much much better after I have spoken to mum, particularly if I am feeling a little upset or overwhelmed. My mum is very funny you see. She is very no nonsensey and very to the point, sometimes abrupt (that's the nurse in her). My mum thinks I am really funny. Apart from my hubby, I'm not sure that anyone thinks this is the case. I can guarantee however, that each time I have a conversation with mum she will say at least once 'Oh Kate, you are funny!' Sometimes she'll add 'you've such a wicked sense of humour' and when she says either I swell with pride, I love and enjoy the compliment. I am however NOT a mummy's girl, I couldn't be one, I don't have the credentials.

When I was a young girl living in Ghana, there came a time when all three of my older siblings moved away to their boarding schools and I was home alone with my mum and dad. I remember those times when I both longed for my siblings whom I missed terribly and at the same time treasured that time alone with my parents. As one of four siblings I was used to sharing my parents and despite my siblings 'always' begrudgingly telling me how I was spoilt by my father as I was his 'baby', I still relished this one-to-one time with my parents. When I was about eight perhaps a little older my father began to fall ill, being a doctor it never occurred to me that he would not know how to cure his own symptoms, yet alone admit to them. This phase was the beginning of me spending precious time with my mother, time that would ordinarily have been spent exclusively with my father, for I was a daddy's girl. Between the ages of eight when my father became ill and age ten when he passed away something extraordinary happened between my mother and I, something that I don't believe I will ever really be able to put into words. This period was of course at times undeniably sad, tense and fraught and yet when I think back to this time sadness is not what clouds it. It was a time of getting to know my mother, the real her. She revealed many of the layers beneath the surface that had up until that point been covered by dusty and general labels like dressmaker, cook, food shopper, daughter, dog owner, busy bee, head shaker, tutter, secret smoker, ex-pat, wife of a doctor.

Over the years, the peak of her faults have been a) never grounding me b) telling me she trusted me and knew that I'd make the right decisions c) supporting me financially through my education d) supporting my husband and young family and being an incredible example to my children e) listening for hours and I mean hours about anything and everything that will flow from my head to my mouth!!! Today I must salute this humble warrior mother of mine, who shows such strength, such dignity, such support, for which I am very grateful and for that I will buckle and admit that perhaps, on occasion, I just might be ... a mummy's girl. 

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