I had a call this morning from Alex to wish me a happy mother’s day. It was lovely to hear from him (he phones me at least once a week for recipes and other life skills which I obviously neglected to teach him when he lived at home). I don’t think that if he were on his own he would know that it was mother’s day, just like he doesn’t know when my birthday is, but fortunately for me he lives with other boys whose mothers are more demanding and so he is forced, through circumstance, to acknowledge this day.
It’s funny how I can go for ages without missing the blighters, but come a day like mother’s day and suddenly I’m reminded that my children are not here. Not, as I’ve mentioned before, that I’ve ever really spent mother’s day with them or that we’ve made an issue of it, but that’s not the point. The fact of the matter is that they are very far away.
I decided to cook lunch for my mum today. She loves gammon, so I boiled a gammon in Appletiser, made boulangère potatoes and winter veggies au gratin, plus a lemon pudding. Not bad, I thought. I asked her if she wanted to come down to us, but she said she would prefer for us to bring the meal to her. When we traipsed up the steps to the wee house with all the grub, I was amazed to find the dining table so beautifully set. And we had such a lovely lunch together. She recalled her mother always insisting on eating at a perfectly laid table, even if the offerings were not terribly plentiful. I love my mum and am so blessed to have this opportunity to spend time with her. I know that it can’t be for that much longer (she’s 89 year’s old) but every time I take time out to spend with her, I learn something new. It’s a snippet here and a snippet there and sometimes it helps me to understand exactly where I’m coming from.
A friend of mine, Chris, talks in his blog about the generation gap in relation to music between us and our parents and the shrinking of it now between us and those younger than us. I, for as long as I can remember, have loved music in all shapes and sizes (except, I have to confess, rap and Whitney Houston-type warbling). My father used to rile me up with his negative comments about “my music” and we would have the most awful fights about it. So much so that I vowed that I would never, if I had children, criticise their music. So I lived through the Spice Girls (with Kiera) and Jack Parrow (with Alex) and a lot of brilliant stuff in between. And then I discovered that I knew all the words to every Frank Sinatra song ever sung. My mum told me that when I was a baby and wouldn’t go to sleep, my dad would put on a Frankie record and walk around the lounge with me, with Jomo (the cat) pacing up and down the back of the sofa with us, until I drifted off.
I miss Alex sitting at his computer in his bedroom in Morningside Road listening to music, calling out to me to come and listen. “Hey mom, do you know this song?” And often it would be “my music”; the Stones, or Led Zeppelin, or even Bob Dylan. But it would also be new stuff and I would lie on his bed just enjoying the moment. How sorry I am for my parents that they couldn’t transcend that divide. And how I miss that exposure now.