Mother of Spinny

So mum’s three-week visit has come to an end.

She’s a complex character. Not always easy. In fact, words used to describe her in the last couple of weeks alone  by friends who have met her include ‘difficult, ‘awkward’, ‘condescending’ and ‘negative’.

Others have called her ‘lovely’, ‘fun’ and ‘fabulous’.

She has her issues. Even at 72. Not health issues but ghosts that have haunted her all her life.

A war baby, she was virtually ignored by her father when he returned from his duty as an ambulance driver in France, and it seems she’s spent her whole life trying to get the attention she missed back then, blaming men/the time she was born in for not living a fulfilling life, or unable to settle.

Growing up, she told me and my younger brother often, that she never wanted children. She married at 21 in 1960 because she had to and hated it. She was never far from a tantrum and her marriage to my dad, which ended in divorce when I was a teenager, was unhappy. Think War of the Roses and you’re halfway there.

She was always very anti-men – and drummed into me from an early age that I shouldn’t rely on a man, barely bother with men and be independent. But I looked at the mess my parents made of their marriage and as a young girl was determined to marry well and bring up a happy family. Funny, but that never happened for me.

When I remarked to her a few nights ago that I seem to have ended up with the life she always wanted, she admitted that she was envious, although hated how hard I struggled alone.

I wonder if her constant subliminal and sometimes blatant anti-men diatribes have lead me to where I am today? Because I tell you, it’s about as far from the life I thought I’d have as is humanly possible.

She told me that finally at 72, living alone and now the absolute mistress of her destiny, she is the happiest she’s ever been. That’s quite something at her age and almost impossible to believe given her nature. She does like to moan.

I still see that ignored child in her; when she doesn’t get her way or isn’t the focus of attention, and I doubt that will ever change. But we both choked back tears, looking tiny as she stood on the escalators riding up to the security checkpoint at LAX, I could see that girlish twinkle in her eye. She’s certainly something that woman. But a mother, well, not really. Only recently has she really got any good at that.

She’s back in the UK now, en route to home, and we spoke this morning. She sounds happy.

Good for her. She got there in the end.


2 Comments on “Mother of Spinny”

  1. When my mother visits I am ecstatic/completely miserable and utterly desolate/sublimely happy when she’s gone again.


  2. It’s the craziest thing, isn’t it? It’s wonderful and irritating, then freeing and devastating. I still feel slightly traumatized that she’s gone but at the same time delighted that I’ve managed to get so much done today!

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