I have never wanted to be like my mother. I have come to think of her as a sad person who never took an interest in anyone but herself; someone who traded her family for a party life; someone who traded her kids for a life that fed her ego. I have many judgements about my mother. But, recently, my son was teasing me in a nice way. He said: “You have been displaying traits of Mal frequently lately Mom”.
Mal is the nickname for our mother and what he meant is that I have been fun lately; silly, goofy, and outrageous. My kids (who are 21 an 17) like it when I get silly and I love feeling that way; uninhibited, light and joyous. It surprised me that this quality, this childish side of me that my kids like, reminds them of my mother. I have forgotten that side of her.
I found myself thinking about that today as I walked up Yonge Street in down town Toronto at 8:30 in the morning. I found myself thinking that, in my hurt and anger with my mother for not “seeing” me, for not taking an interest in my family, for abandoning me and my sisters, I have thrown away all of the nice things about her. So, here are things that I used to like about my mother; the characteristics I would like to remember about her; the qualities that I might like to claim in myself.
- My mother has a great sense of adventure. She was always taking us kids on trips in cars, boats, and planes; to the cottage, Buffalo, Florida, Mexico and Barbados.
- She loved breaking rules. She would book a hotel room for two and sneak 3 kids in with sleeping bags. She would pay for 4 kids at the Drive-In Theatre and smuggle two in in the trunk of the car.
- She had, and still does have, a great kid in her. Christmas morning, Easter morning, Valentine’s Day were all excuses for her to decorate the house, make special meals, and go wild with gifts. She had fun doing it and made it fun for us as kids.
- She was incredibly creative. My mother never followed recipes and was a great cook. She broke all the house-decorating rules; her house was colourful, eclectic and wild.
- She was fearless. She once drove across Georgian Bay with my sisters and I in a small boat with my grandmother lying on the nose of the boat directing her through a mine-field of rocks. She once swam up to a 10 HP boat that was circling at high speed in tight circles in an attempt to rescue my sister who got thrown out of the boat. She moved to Barbados to start a brand new life when she was in her fourties.
Today, I will hold my mother and all of her wild and wonderful ways in my heart. I could do with a little more fun and adventure in my life!!