I warn you now, there are no light-hearted quips, semi-naked men or double-entendres in this blog piece. Its a bit heavy, but its heart-felt and it has a happy ending. If you are still curious then read on………..
Sadly, my mum and I have never had that special mum and daughter relationship I envy when i hear girls talk about sharing clothes, exchanging intimate secrets, having girlie nights out together with their mothers. I have to confess, and I’m sure my mum won’t argue with this, and say that our relationship has at times been distant,difficult and even resentful.
I don’t know why, and I hope my own wonderful mother won’t be offended by these ramblings. This blog for me is an apology, a cathartic clearing of the soul and an awakening to a new chapter. I hope.
I remember myself as a difficult teenager. not in the unruly – drink, drugs, truancy type of way. I was an exemplary student, didn’t do drugs and didn’t start dating until I was late 15/early 16. I was difficult in that I put up a barrier resulting in a dis-harmonising stand-off between myself and my mum. constantly rowing, driving her to tears, hating myself. Who knows the real reason why. We could blame a long difficult puberty. Possibly didn’t help. But my mum didn’t deserve the disrespect I showed her.
I didn’t find growing up easy. i remember at junior school being the odd one out as the only child who needed glasses, I felt ugly and geeky and remember pretending not to have them at first and getting into trouble when parents and school communicated on the subject (yes schools did that then!). And then I always had problems with my skin, initially eczema but then all sorts of mysterious problems which I now after years of research, counseling and talk therapy, can put down to anxiety,stress, OCD coping behaviours. I still have these problems, largely now as a result of habit and anxiety. However back then they served to make me the odd one out at school. Always taking time off to visit specialists, taking medication, coating myself in creams, being prodded and poked and used as a guinea pig for medical students. Sunbed therapy (what I’d give for that now!!! – But at the time i didn’t want to be the only kid with a tan); thick VEIL makeup.
Coupled with moving schools mid years for dads work I grew up being bullied, having nightmares and feeling outcast . i guess I took it out on my mum. She was easy bait. She was always there, for one. I could drive her to tears. She always forgave me.
Anyway, all of that may be a shock. A bit of baring my soul, laying the ghosts to rest. A bit raw and honest maybe. i’ve discovered however, that it takes years and experiences in ones own life to realise the truths in ones past and lay rest the tormented moments in ones heart and mind.
For me, raising my own son, building and sustaining a loving relationship, overcoming my fears and facing my demons has enabled me, finally, to appreciate my great parents.
Parenthood doesn’t come with a manual. There’s no right way . And it comes hand in hand with a lifetime of guilt and worry. Its all a learning curve. Its about making every decision with the best intentions. Even if they turn out to be the wrong ones. If you can look back and know you did that, then you are a good parent.
My parents are great parents. They’ve survived everything life has thrown them and stayed together, and are still happy. They dealt with poverty, religious divides, their own childhood ghosts, moving homes for work, deaths of pets, sick kids, ill health. They got us through everything. We both grew up with loving parents , in a stable home, had a good education, learned good moral values, how to communicate, how to be independent, when to ask for help, how to love. What more can you ask of a parent.
And finally, this year, many many decades too late, I finally realised and was able to express how much my mum means to me. Last weekend we had our first girlie weekend away together. We booked 2 nights, twin room in a nice hotel in Cardiff. We talked a bit, ate in nice restaurants, had foot spas, shopped. We had a good time. It was really really great. I think we will do it again, hopefully soon.
Mum, to the world, you need to know I love you.