As I ‘grow up’ I’m increasingly aware of the complexity and depth of layers of a mother’s relationship with her child. For mine, when I was a little girl my mom was just… my mom. It was just my reality, so I didn’t realise (my luck) at the time that her attitude, her quirk, her self confidence, her joie de vivre was something so unique & exceptional. How do I explain.. It’s like… if it was captured, back in the 80s & 90s, her style in parenting would have been the viral sensation or reality show hit of its time. She was rolling completely in her own parenting style, and it was awesome.
She allowed us total freedom of self expression, self confidence – not ‘taught’ but rather facilitated by living this example herself. So she photographed us instead of reprimanding us when we built our ‘talcum powder land’, covering ourselves head to toe in the middle of the house… and she built journals and scrapbooks documenting such adventures. She even status-captioned them for us (she invented the original FACEBOOKS!)
She fostered creativity in a way that had us believing we were the great artists and expressionists of our time. When I wanted to make my sister an edible doll ‘barbie cake’ for her birthday party, mom bought the whipped cream & edible glitter I requested and nodded approvingly to my imagined plan that would see a paper-base skirt-structure support a whipped cream dress on a barbie doll who’s feet were jammed into a sponge cake so she’d stand upright. Sounds plausible to me still. It was a mammoth failure with the cream ‘falling’ within minutes, but for five minutes… I was the most successful cake designer in the world. I’d had a plan, I executed it and created a momentary masterpiece. I still remember the look on my little sister’s faces as they walked in and glared at the puddle of cream and exposed-naked Barbie doll.
She gifted us a sense that the world was a candy-store that we could choose any pick-and-mix outcome we wanted and we could have it (not in a spoiled sense but a sense of complete and absolute opportunity in the life that lay ahead of us). She never once questioned my childhood response when adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I responded, “a truck driver”… she just glowed with pleasure that I was so certain and comfortable in my decision.
Through my twenties we loved but we fought, we grated each others nerves, we pushed each others buttons… and that isn’t really happening much, if at all, these days, so in hindsight it’s the result of a dynamic when a strong-willed independent woman has created a strong-willed independent woman.
I didn’t realise that she would come to impact & define my own Self as a woman – so inherently, so organically. As I grow up I’m coming to appreciate that the things that made (and make) my mom an incredible mother aren’t the routines she had us in since birth, aren’t the parenting books she read or the extra curricular activities she had un undertake… It wasn’t anything she necessarily tried to do or learned to implement – she was an incredible mother who created three happy adults purely by being herself & by being absolutely sure of herself (regardless of successful or failing outcomes). In doing so she showed us an approach to life – an attitude, a quirk, a confidence and a joie de vivre that lives in us today.
Thank You & Happy Mother’s Day mom. I’m sure you’ll have some grammar corrections you’ll tell me about in this post… looking forward to it as always 😉
Love Julie Anne, your ‘Julesbabe’ x