Sunday, May 9, 2010
Remembering my Mom today. She died 22 years ago - seems hardly possible; the time has gone so fast. Its good to be able to see her now as a woman not just as 'my mom'. Facing life as best she could with what she knew and what she had. Which, actually, was a lot. She was very intelligent, very good looking, very accomplished. She was good at all the domestic goddess stuff (yes, I know. I don't know what happened to me: none of that stuff rubbed off here!) sewing, knitting, baking, cooking, gardening. . . the whole nine yards. She made jam, bottled fruit, made pickles (onion and fish), helped to finish school projects her procrastinating kids had left too late; polished floors by hand; grew her own veggies; kept chickens (in Fish Hoek mind you!). She made all her clothes, even evening wear. And she made our clothes. I HATED wearing the homemade stuff! I wanted shop bought stuff like my friends. Ungrateful little cow that I was! She was a very hard worker, doing all of the above, plus raising 3 kids while trying to deal with financial difficulties, hectic anaemia and an alcoholic husband. She was strict; not letting our obvious dislike of her discipline sway her from her path. How I admire that now! Its so easy to weaken because you don't want your kids to be mad with you, isn't it? She was matter of fact, had no time for what she called 'sloppy' by which she meant sentimental or emotional outpourings. Had no time for hand-wringing either - life, in her book, had tough times: Get over it and get on with it. Not always what I wanted - but I know now, she gave me what she had. The best she knew. She loved a party. Even during the difficult days of her marriage, there were parties with about 10 neighbourhood couples every single weekend! Each week a different cople would host them. We used to come home form our 'bop sessions' and find our parents partay-ing harder than we did! After she and my Dad split up, she had many many spontaneous ones 'evolve' in her small flat. Anything or nothing was reason to throw one But not your normal one, with planning in advance, invitations, and stuff. No, hers were organic. Someone would drop in for a drink; others would be phoned, or just rock up and the next thing, the music would go on, people would be dancing; snacks would magically appear and the game was on. Again. A warm and vibrant personality - she remarried a man who made her his princess but kept her in his dark castle, where she was only allowed to play with his friends. She kept smiling, working hard at all her clever and productive stuff - but life long friends gradually stopped coming around. And she never said a word about it Or against it. She just entertained his friends. Loyal to a fault, she behaved as if that was just what she wanted Maybe it was. We will never really know Many years down the line, I am only now realising fully the qualtities that this brave, talented and special woman had. Now that I see her as that, not just as "my Mom"