“On the day that you were born the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true, so they sprinkled moon dust in your hair and golden starlight in your eyes of blue.” ~ Song, “Close to You”, lyrics by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
When I was a child I positively adored my mother.
It wasn’t that I stopped adoring her as I grew older, although I did begin to see her in a totally different light. The angel who had been placed upon this earth to guide me through my life could do no wrong in my eyes, then at some stage she transformed herself into a real human being, one who wasn’t perfect, made mistakes and was very, very vulnerable.
Perhaps I should re-word that last sentence. My mother didn’t transform herself, it was my perception of her that changed.
As a child, I wanted to be just like her. I would barely utter a word without first checking that she approved of the words I wished to say. She was everything to me and in my childish ignorance I believed that the only way in which I could ever be a worthy human being on this earth (yes, I was the human; mum was the angel) was to be the absolute image of my mother.
I can’t actually pin-point the time in my life when I finally matured, opened my eyes, realised that my mother was really just as human as the rest of us and hence, began to see her failings. I noticed a few earthly qualities in her at around the age of thirteen, although I think it may have been when I was sixteen and she disapproved of my choice of colour combination in one of my favourite outfits. Isn’t it incredible, the meagre moments that can open your eyes?
The pale blue skirt and pastel patterned green top that I bought, all alone, without mum’s approval, “felt” right to me. It gave me confidence. I thought I looked good in the outfit and cared little to not at all of what anyone else thought. But my mum didn’t like that outfit, and boy-oh-boy, did she ever let me know about it! She even banned me from leaving home whilst wearing it!
It wasn’t the actual outfit she disapproved of, it was simply the colour combination. I was outraged! My mother had chosen the colours of green and red for our bathroom, her bedroom was purple and gold, she liked my bright orange bedroom (don’t be shocked, it was the ’70′s!) so I failed to see the problem with my outfit. The skirt was mid-calf length and looked (and felt) fantastic when worn with my white platform shoes.
The reality of the matter took a long time to finally dawn on me. I wasn’t anything like my mother at all and I had to stop allowing her to have complete control over me! For all of the years that I had wanted to portray myself as a junior version of her image and being, in every single way, during my teenage years reality finally hit me. We didn’t look alike, think alike, act alike, we chose different colours, different furnishing, different everything.
And when I finally lifted that self-imposed burden from my own shoulders I began to get to know my mother, my real mother, not the angel that I had always believed her to be, but the human being that she actually was.
Progressively, our relationship changed. And over a period of time, my mum actually began to realise that she wasn’t loosing her daughter by her daughter developing a mind of her own, with differing opinions than those she wanted me to have, she was actually forming a friendship with me.
And that is what we became, close, non-judgemental, real friends.
We argued a lot back then, and the arguments always ending with mum saying, “Oh you’ll never see any sense. I’ll make us a cup of tea”. A cup of tea fixes everything, don’t you know?
My three older sisters were stunned when they heard about some of mum’s and my arguments. They would never have said some of the things to mum that I did to her and they never quite understood how we could be so close, yet argue so much.
When I became a mother myself, I finally understood the depth of feeling that my mother had always felt for me, and I told her so. Time brought us even closer together. We appreciated the differences in each other. Our relationship was based on trust and honesty. And most of all, love.
The day I lost my mother was the day I felt grief and pain like no other day I had been on this earth. I was the last one to see my mother alive, she became a real angel just after I left her alone in her hospital room. After I had told her I loved her. After I had said goodbye.
Yesterday was the day my mother was born, the day the angels got together and created an angel on earth, complete with human failings.
My mother was Annie, the angel, the human being, the strong one, the insecure one, the one with the wisdom of the gods and the vulnerability of a person.
May you always dwell in your rainbow of colours, my dearest Mum. xxxxxx