She loved the way the bathroom smelt, the freshness of the soap mixed in with the selection of creams her mother applied everyday. The humid air lingered from the hot shower, and the mirror was always foggy. She would perch on the chair and watch her mother apply these mysterious lotions to her face and body. She truly idolised her mum. Nothing gave her more joy than when her mum let her use her special soap to wash her own little face. Her mum would lather up the special Clinique soap and cover her little girls face before rinsing it off in a sink full of warm water. As a little child she believed spending time observing her mummy was the best thing in the world.
You have probably figured out I am talking about myself and my mother. My mum didn’t have much growing up, lots of siblings, a father who returned from the war, who loved her dearly, but was full of hurt and lost in many ways, a mother who was so overwhelmed she couldn’t always care for her children in a way that gave them security, or comfort. Meals didn’t alway appear, sometimes they had nothing at all.
It is easy to fault my Grandmother, to say she lacked a mothers touch would be an understatement, despite how much my mum needed her own mother, she just couldn’t be there for my mum. I don’t know exactly why, maybe I will never know. Like I said it would be easy to judge, we are all good at doing that until we walk in another shoes. No one taught my mum how to love her children, she just did, no one ever told her she mattered, or that she was strong, smart, beautiful, funny, resilient, or that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up.
Somehow though my mum survived, through poverty, through hunger, through cruelty, through being told that she was no good, or not smart enough, through living in a tent, and orphanage, through finding snakes in her bed, through being told she didn’t matter. She survived and she gave her own four children what mattered most in the world, a soft place to fall and hands to raise us up.
My mum turned 70 the other day. She had never had a birthday party, never! As a child there was no way she could have one, and for most of her adult life she didn’t really feel she was entitled to one. She has always doubted her worth, questioned what she deserved, she has always put everyone ahead of herself. This was her time to finally shine. This party wasn’t really about celebrating 70 years, it was about believing she deserved to celebrate her life for the very first time.
I know she still doubts her worthiness, but she is worthy, she is amazing, one of the strongest women that I know, actually she is the strongest women I know. I haven’t even began to capture here what she has been through and what she has overcome. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days when the mirror was all foggy so I could wipe it clear and get her to really see herself the way I saw her.
I wish I could tell her to stop worrying about the stretch marks, stop worrying about if a few lines were beginning to appear beside her eyes, to stop feeling like she is not smart, or not deserving, I wish I could look up at her and say ‘mummy you are the most amazing woman I know’. I wish I could take away her self doubt, I wish I could tell her that the future would be amazing, and that she need not worry.
I can not go back in time. What I can do is tell her all this now, and I can also tell my own reflection that the wrinkles I get mean I am alive, I am present, and that my future will be bright. I can lead by example to my own children, and I can tell my mum today that I am immensely proud to be her daughter. Because I am.
Welcome to this weeks #mg link up party!
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