I ain’t dead yet

family storiesMother’s Day cometh. My eldest son just turned 12. My millennium baby has managed to suck up 12 years of my life without me hardly noticing the time pass. Was there even a life before Motherhood?

I imagine my own parents felt the same way about me when I turned 12, or 21, then 40…..

As a 12 year old child, my interest in my parents was minimal, to put it politely. (Here is the slightly less polite version). I continued to take a nonchalant disinterest in their lives and stories throughout my childhood years and on into my teens. I saw them as historic. Ancient. Irrelevant.

This (at best) apathy, (at worst) mild contempt went on until I became a parent to the aforementioned Millennium Boy at the age of 32. At this point, I developed a sense of my own responsibility and awareness of my mortality which gave me the ability to recognise that my parents were real people, with real lives who had dutifully nurtured me for so many years.

The defining earthquake, however, arrived as an earth-shattering TEN on the Richter Scale in April 2006 when my mother went and died.

Heart-achingly ironic.

family stories

I finally wanted to know everything there was to hear about her life as a young woman, how she met my dad, her days at school, her childhood in World War II Britain, her boyfriends, the fashions, her mistakes and her triumphs. But it was simply too late.

Stupid, stupid me.

I had spent countless hours reseaching our family tree’s dead ‘uns, without a moment’s thought about the most precious people of all – those who were standing right beside me. And now another Mother’s Day approaches. This is the day when I would like to leap on her in bed and shower her with butterfly kisses, but I can’t. I can’t buy a card for anyone. I have no-one to whom I can send flowers. I can’t call her and ramble, or take her out to lunch. Whilst I may BE a Mother, I do not HAVE a Mother. This is a realisation not to be underestimated.

So, what of it?

Well, I ain’t dead yet. 

My disinterested, contemptuous, apathetic children WILL have my stories preserved as a legacy for their future. I WILL capture each and every moment of their growth in a set of embarrassing photographs, whether they like it or not. I WILL spill my guts about the highs and lows of my existence in my narrative for them. I WILL leave them with the gift of memories.

I will take the made-in-haste hand-crafted Mother’s Day card which they will bring home from school and I will scan them and preserve them. When the day comes that they fell their TEN on the Richter scale, they will have baskets full of memories waiting to cushion the blow. It’s my duty.

So, assuming you ain’t dead yet either (and not reading this from the Other Side), do yourself a favour and start saving your family stories so that they won’t have to.

My thanks to Penny at The Alexander Residence, whose Lost Mother’s Club reminded me to resurrect this old post for Mother’s Day.

R.I.P Jeannie. Love you always.

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7 responses to “I ain’t dead yet

  1. Beautifully written post, and I love the photo of your Mum! This is the second mother’s day since loosing mine: it’s not getting as easier as I’d hoped but posts like this remind you that you’re not on your own x

  2. What a great post, so heartfelt but strong and passionate too. I was just enjoying my new found bond with my parents after the birth of my kids, but I find her legacies everywhere and in everything I do with my kids. Lots of love this mother’s day and thanks for our fab exchange about MD rituals on twitter, made me smile!

    • Cheers to you and yours, Penny, and thanks a million for popping in!!!! Hope we can chat again soon since we’re now officially members of the Lost Mothers Club!! H

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