It’s been creeping up on me for a while now. Recognising certain mannerisms in myself which are all too familiar, especially as I go through the motions of everyday tasks. A strange sensation, almost like Déjà vu – that you are acting out something which has already happened before.
I’m not even talking about significant moments or events – this butterfly effect feels present in the most mundane of actions. In my thoughts, my words, my movements; in the very being of my core, I feel like I’m slowly turning into my Mother. Which for the record, is no bad thing, because she is a pretty special lady.
I think we all project our own childhood experiences onto our parenting style in a way. Maybe we are all, slowly turning into a tweaked version of our Mothers. So, from really early on I was already adopting some of those key life skills that my incredibly maternal role model passed on to me, and continues to every single day.
She’s a total pro in comparison to me, having raised four children, worked in children’s homes, as a childminder, in an Autism unit and with vulnerable children in a primary school. She’s experienced tragedy beyond my comprehension and yet always lends her matriarchal strength to anyone in need of it.
She’s not perfect. Who is? But in my eyes she’s pretty damn close. She is the one person you would want in any crisis, yet for all her strengths she is so human – a listener as well as a talker, our Mum, our friend, our rock. She’s pretty direct, another characteristic I may or may not have inherited from my maternal line.
This past Christmas I cooked my first ever Christmas dinner for my own family. It was like I had come of age, the day oozing with family traditions of Christmas past and as I shook the tray of spuds wearing my new Christmas frock, sipping on a vodka and pink russian it hit me like a tonne of bricks. This is a rite of passage. She has become a part of me. And, as I looked down to my two girls watching on, asking if dinner is ready, I realised this moment will one day dawn on those bright eyes too.
My own Nanny passed away when I was very young, so sadly I have no memories of her. I have always loved hearing the stories of her through others, and I’ve always felt a sense of duty to learn those recipes her recipes that my Mum is legendary for. I’m a bit sentimental like that.
And so, with the necessary signature dishes under my belt, I’m ready to pass the baton. My girls will know how to make a roux based cheese sauce, and a [family name] chocolate cake to be served at every birthday. They will make the gravy our way, and add two oxos and a dash of Lea and Perrins to every savoury dish. Their yorkshires will be tall, and their trifles will be deep (and contain no sherry thank you very much).
But will they answer the phone in a broad Yorkshire accent, even though they are 4th generation residing in the south east?
Will they holiday in Broadstairs, like their Mum, and her Mum before them? Will they adore it for its quaintness and feel a part of something special, like being home?
I can’t see the future. But I can feel the here and now…I can see her folding laundry, chatting to me as I mirror her movements; day in, day out.
And I can drink tea. Together, we can drink a shed load of tea. Before we pop out. When we get back. While we are there. I’m thinking about my next cup of tea whilst I’m drinking a cup of tea. I believe I have foetal tea addiction, inherited from you know who.
Of late, we have shared another common trait. I truly believe that if she had a hope in hells chance of navigating the technical side, she would make an incredible blogger. She is quite the lyrical gangster; in a writing comedy lyrics to well known songs for school plays kind of way. Her complaint letters, her bereavement cards, her poems are something to behold. Her ability to translate her warmth, her emotion and her tone into a written form – I love to believe that’s another Mumism growing strong within me. She even won a prize for a poem she knocked up in 10 minutes just before Christmas. Total legend.
On the morning of my wedding day, the letter she gave me, to let me know how much I meant to her (before it’s too late to tell me – yeah we are both pretty morbid at times) will always be one of my most precious Mother-Daughter moments. It was deep and emotional, but we love deep and emotional. In fact we could talk for hours, and often do.
So Mum, here it is, my reply. You know, before it’s too late.
I am so proud of you, and everything you do for everyone else. For everything you have done for me. Guiding me through so many times I’d have been lost without you. (Even when I called from the fast lane of the motorway, broken down). Know that I will always be your cheese sauce making, tea drinking, posh dress on Christmas day wearing, Turkey dripping on toast eating, epic complaint letter writing, Broadstairs loving, matriarchal successor. But you’re going to be holding the reigns for a long time yet, because I still have so much to learn from you.
And we have two more apprentices, coming up through the ranks…