Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I miss my Mama

My mother. My Mama. We used to build 1000 piece puzzles together on the dining room table, chatting about anything and everything. I would lie on my parent’s bed and brush her hair whilst she dosed off. She would hug me a thousand times during the day and kiss my neck. I miss her.

My mother was a little nuts! We had chickens in our garden, they wondered around freely and laid their eggs under the bougainvillea plant where nobody could reach in and collect them. That plant had big thorns and beautiful purple flowers. When the chicks hatched they would follow their mummy chicken around our garden and try to stay alive- the owls and cats were always out to get them. The chickens would wake early and stand under my mum’s bedroom window, clucking like chickens do, waking my mother. I would laugh as she described how she would fly out of bed and into the garden, chasing the chickens in only her little cotton nighty. And naturally one of the neighbours would drive past seeing my dishevelled mother in her nighty chasing the chickens!

She adored my brother, sister and I! The night before my matric dance (end of school prom) my boyfriend dumped me. My mother was spitting mad at him for making me cry and made sure he knew just how mad. She came to collect my friends and I from school to take us to the hairdresser before the prom and she spotted him across a field. She hit the brakes on the people carrier hard, nearly giving us all whiplash and jumped out of the car. She yelled his name loudly across the field, making every teenage head within a few hundred meters turn. When he looked up to see why he was being yelled at by a tiny little lady, she looked him straight in the eye and yelled: F..k You! The she jumped back into the car and did a wheel spin up the hill, leaving a cloud of dust behind her. Like a scene from a mafia movie! My friends howled with laughter as we drove off and I died with shame!

I am so happy she stuck up for me like that! I am so blessed she loved me so much. My mother suffered from depression. She was often deeply unhappy, she even had to be hospitalised a few times. Her childhood was not filled with love and laughter but rather with abuse and anger. But despite of all that she loved me with such an intensity that it burned away all of the mess that came with her mental health and past.

The thing that always amazes me about this life we have been given, is how painful death is. It makes so little sense that death should hurt so much! There are only 2 things that are certain to happen to every one of us- birth and death. The birth of a baby is joyful but that is not the case when we say goodbye. When we have to let go, often a part of us leaves too. There are times in the darkness after a funeral when the pain overwhelms you. It physically hurts, as if someone is sitting on your chest, forcing the air out of your lungs. Even after all these years, there are days when my heart aches for my mother. My body craves her hugs. I wish she was here to tell me that everything is going to be ok because she will fight the battles with me. If she were still here, she would be fighting my corner like crazed, chicken chasing human!

But now it is my turn to be the mummy… now it is my turn to fight for my girls. And I had a great role model- broken like me but strong enough to love past all the mess. And I have my Father in heaven, the maker of heaven and earth on my side! What a blessing!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Thing 1 and Thing 2

I totally agree with those people who say that the moment you find out you are having a baby (method not important i.e. step child, adoption or birth) you also receive a disproportionate amount of guilt. As parents we spend too much time mulling over what we have done wrong or could have done better. I gave birth to 2 girls so I have double the guilt. We should all learn to focus more on what we have done right! So I shall get the ball rolling! I shall focus on something my husband I appear to have done well.

It seems that one of the thing we have taught our girls is to be exactly who they are, with no compromises! They are independent, strong willed girls who are not afraid to be a little different. This makes our girls a bit like marmite. There are people in the world who ‘get’ them and who love them. There are also people in the world who don’t. Helping them understand that we cannot be friends with everyone but can be kind, loving and understanding is a challenge, not least as it is a lesson all of us are learning!

My eldest is 13. She has just started at a new school very close to us. Having been there for only 2 months, one would expect she would try to blend in but that is not her way. Today was World Book Day and the school asked the high school pupils to come in dressed as a book character or wear mufti. She and her friend spent hours making their ‘Thing1 and Thing2’ costumes from Dr Zeus’s The Cat in Hat. They looked amazing! And when I dropped them at school this morning, I looked around in horror as I noticed that I could see no other teenagers that had dressed up. I saw a few in onesies and I am sure there were more in school but we saw none. What was her reaction? She loved it. Embracing her crazy side, not taking herself too seriously, being proud of what she is.

My girls are still working out who they are, what they stand for, where they get their value from. I can model to them what I believe, my own faith but ultimately they will make their own choices and walk their own path. But I believe that their gift of not wanting to conform is exactly what they will need one day if they continue on their faith walk. Being a follower of Jesus often means that we are not like everyone else, that we are obviously a little crazy. When we truly walk with Jesus we will get push back from the world. The world does not feel comfortable with what we believe, what we stand for. And that is ok because it is not our job to force people to see the freedom that they could have but rather to live in it ourselves. Sometimes that means we get to look like my daughter did, like someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and knows how to seek out the joy in life.

What do you stand for?