I love my mum. I inherited my particular brand of crazy from her.
When I was a scruffy teen with piercings, a shaved head and tattoos, she would often whisper lovingly to me as we walked down the streets, (in a way that only a devoted mother could) “can you walk behind me? I don’t want anyone to know we’re related.”
From the age of 11 when my migraines were just beginning, she would pour some Alcolado (a mentholated lotion) onto a handkerchief and then place it gently upon my forehead.
The cooling sensation would soothe away my migraine as I cried myself to sleep and the pain abated. One night however, she got a bit too ‘splash happy’ with the old Alcolado and the damned thing near burned a hole in my forehead. To this day, she still maintains that it was an accident, but you know, hello! You almost burnt a crater into my skull!
She doesn’t have access to the world wide web, not after she asked what chemical she needed in order to completely dissolve a human body, (Hydrofluoric acid) the quantity needed and if it could be purchase from the internet. This conversation came came about after she had complained that my step-father had become boring after more than 30 years of togetherness.
You can always tell, when presented with a newborn, (not for any sacrificial practices, you understand) whether my mum thinks a child is cute or not, because she will pour unadulterated praise on everything but the babe itself. For example, “Ooh, what a cute little…pram you have there.”
If she’s polite and pleasant after you’ve introduced her to your current partner, it’s a “no” from her. If however she threatens to gut them like a fish and wear their entrails as a necklace if they ever break your heart, then it generally means “I like you. Welcome to the family.”
As a a child, I still remember the loving advice she gave to my sisters and I about what to do if we were ever being bullied.
“If anyone bullies you, then what you do is look around (here’s where we thought she would say look round and ask for help, but oh no!) and find a bottle. Smash the bottle against a wall and then use the jagged edges to go for the jugular.”
Such a gentle and docile woman my mum was back then.
She certainly is a unique and formidable woman, my mother. She raised four kids single-handedly and when my step-father came alone, she raised six kids single-handedly. (men!)
She worked hard cleaning offices in the early hours of the morning so that she would always be there when we arrived home from school. And when I suffered from the dreaded swine flu that put me where I am now, she looked after the womb-fruit whilst I recovered.
She has been there through all our ups and downs and dotes on her 13 grand-kids and one great grandchild.
She also has liver failure and is soon to go on dialysis after refusing her own children’s offers to become transplant donors. Her reason for refusing mine? “What? With all your illnesses?! I’d be dead before they sew me back up!” She always did have a way with words.
She was devastated that I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis before she was. But now the two of us can hardly walk straight as we laugh about being two ‘old biddies’ hobbling down the road together. (woman doesn’t know that she has to practically carry my arse tomorrow when we go food shopping)
She rules with a ‘tough love’ but laughs like a deranged lunatic. And she will never read this tribute to her, or know just how much I love and appreciate her…you know, on account of the fact that she’s not allowed near a computer, remember?