The trouble with Mother’s Day is that I don’t really like it very much.
Today started out amazingly. My two boys – completely of their own accord – snuck downstairs and made me a bowl of homemade muesli (oats, cashews, raisins – they mixed it themselves), and then brought it up for my breakfast. I was half-awake and heard them go down, but I assumed that they were going to secretly eat the cake that we brought home from a party on Saturday. How wrong was I? Steve had helped them with cards and presents, but the breakfast idea was all theirs and I was so happy about it!
Even Francesca, this morning, as the boys came into my room to give me my breakfast, rolled over and said,
No! Mummy’s sleeping!
So the day really did start wonderfully and my little trio were awesome.
Then we went to visit my mum.
When we arrived, we buzzed but Mum didn’t answer for ages. This always means that she has taken sleeping pills and hasn’t woken up yet, and today was no exception. She was in her pyjamas and had clearly only gotten up to let us in. I said happy Mother’s Day and handed her a little flower in a pot I had bought for her. She took it off me and said nothing. She wandered into the kitchen, put it down somewhere out there and then came out and shut the door behind her. No “thank you,” or any other comment.
I gave her the card and she did at least like this. She said thank you and commented on it with approval, so I got that bit right.
I asked if she was sleeping okay and she explained she’d taken some sleeping tablets she’d bought off the internet (don’t ask – I have no control over what she does, honestly). She stumbled around for a bit and then started getting things out that she had bought the children.
Mum is always buying stuff for them – not just a little bit here and there, but two or three things every time they see her. I know she wants to treat them, but she is confusing love with STUFF. And the worst thing of all is she buys them totally unsuitable stuff that she finds in charity shops. She is obsessed with antiques and is always buying them 20 year old toys and models. Last time it was two sets of CB radios from the 80s and two cap gun sets from the 1950s (I looked them up – they were selling for £60 on ebay). Today is was colouring books and crayons (which are actually quite cool), a microscope from the 1970s, model planes, and two fidget spinners.
She buys compulsively all the time. And it drives me crazy. Firstly we live in an 840sq/ft house and we have no space for the inflow of things from her. Secondly, I hate material stuff. Thirdly it teaches the children to be excited about presents rather than about seeing Granny – they always say I wonder what Granny has got for us this time! Fourthly, that money would be SO much better spent on clothing for the three of them. Or to help me out with the weekly food bill. Or to cover school trips, or maybe to save up for a weekend away. She wastes it all on stuff that ends up broken and either in the bin, or in the charity shop bag at our house because there is no room for it. Fifthly, she sometimes buys totally random shit because she doesn’t really look properly at what it is. Example: a few months back she bought Lucas a tin of football boot studs.
I hate her obsession with buying crap.
And then, she sits down and tells me she’s sorted out Eric.
My uncle died last year and she had his ashes stored in the cupboard at her house. We were going to wait until it was a sunny day in the spring and then take them to the pier, where he wanted them to be scattered – as requested in his will.
Unbeknownst to me, Mum was getting antsy about the ashes being in her flat. She didn’t want them there. She apparently asked my brother for help, but he said he wouldn’t be down for a few months, so she took it upon herself to deal with it.
She took them on the bus to the pier and tried to scatter them, but she was approached by a couple who told her she couldn’t scatter them into the sea without permission (if I’d been there I would have told these interfering arseholes where to go for so callously poking their noses into a 68 year old’s grieving time). So she got back on the bus and instead of taking them home and calling me, she just scattered them in the park across the road from her flat.
Now, I was upset about this. I was upset, because my mum runs her life by the motto “it’ll do”. She uses it as an excuse for her behaviour and always has. When she doesn’t want to put the effort into something (which is a lot of the time), she just does a half-arsed job and says “Oh, that’ll do.”
When my uncle died, she turned up at his funeral wearing an ancient old jumper and scruffy trousers. I was upset about it because you make an effort at a funeral. You dress to show respect to the person who passed away, and to show respect to yourself. I told my Dad afterwards that if I die before her he needs to insist that she makes the effort to dress properly when I’m gone.
And because Eric’s clothes were cleared out of his flat long before his body was released for cremation, Mum got him a charity top t-shirt and a pair of HER old jeans and knickers to dress him in. I spoke to the funeral director and then managed to convince her that he could go in just the funeral gown, which they provided. Can you imagine if he was alive, what he would have thought about going to the crematorium in his sister’s jeans and knickers???
My mum once left Eric waiting for her in the middle of town as they wanted to look in separate shops, but on the way back she decided to go and get her hair cut. After nearly an hour Eric thought she was lost, so he went to security and they put a message out over the shopping centre tannoy. She honestly couldn’t see what she’d done wrong.
There are billions of example throughout my lifetime I can use, but I’ll be writing all night if I carry on. I was upset about the ashes because Eric requested they be scattered over the sea. It was a denial of his last wish, because it was too much effort to take them home and wait for me to accompany her so we could do what he asked. Because she needed them gone, and the park would do. She told me not to get upset, and that they spent a lot of time over there, and she can walk past him all the time, which I admit is true, but I was upset anyway. I was upset that she had to face two dickheads telling her she couldn’t put ashes in the sea because I wasn’t with her. I was upset she hadn’t said to me that she wanted to get rid of the ashes sooner rather than later – that she’d even asked my brother, rather than come to me.
She told me I was so busy, and my life is so full, but that isn’t a problem when she gets my brother to ring me at 5pm, in the middle of cooking dinner for the three children, so he can ask me to drive over to the psychiatric hospital and pick her and take her home because she’s been released and she’s waiting out the front for me.
My Mum loves me, I’m sure, but her way of loving is not like other mothers. She never had a decent mother figure to learn from (hers was an abusive woman who beat all four of her kids and hated them for tying her down), so I know she has done the best she knew how to do.
But I have to admit that sometimes I just wish she was more of a mother to me than I’ve had.
And today, as every year, I have to avoid facebook. I posted early this morning and then stayed away. Away from the countless status updates tagging mothers and talking about how they are the best mum in the world.
Sigh. I love Mother’s Day for my kids, but for my own mum it always feels like a forced affection, and that makes me so sad.
And then this evening I ended up taking F to A&E. She was poorly yesterday, but today she has been complaining of head pain. Obviously headaches immediately make you think meningitis, and she has been particularly distressed. By 4pm she was crying so much and holding her head that I took her to the hospital -she’d already had calpol and I was so scared something wasn’t right. I am so afraid of losing her or the boys. My miscarriages have left a scar that bleeds whenever any of them are sick and it leaves me panicked and unable to think clearly.
A&E was heaving. Adults were puking in the main waiting area and there were loads of screaming kids in the children’s area. Pretty quickly a nurse looked F over, did the usual O2 sat/resp rate/temp thing and then gave her a big dose of ibuprofen to make her more comfortable.
Thirty minutes later, F was a different child. The ibuprofen had kicked in (I’m sure they give them a bigger dose at the hospital because my oldest son had one once and he was happy as Larry for about 5 hours afterwards), and she was wandering around, playing with all the toys, chatting away, just like normal.
We waited for two hours with no sign of a doctor, so I asked the nurse if I could take her home. She said that was fine. I was so tired and pissed off and hungry so we went home and F went to bed and went to sleep.
Now I am super paranoid that she really is sick, but the painkiller masked the problem. It just doesn’t seem normal for a 2 year old to have severe head pain to me. The nurse tried to say that a lot of toddlers point to their head when they mean their throat, but she hasn’t met F. F is articulate and smart and knows damn well it’s her head that’s hurting, and she’s had no trouble swallowing. The pain is worse when she’s upright, and it just seems meningococcal to me. I’ve had viral meningitis before and the head pain is no joke. She has no other symptoms – no vomiting, only a low grade fever, no rash, no stiffness, no sensitivity to light.
All I can do is wait until she either gets better, or gets worse enough that someone at the hospital will see her over and above all the other vomiting, sick kids in A&E.
I’ve had a crappy day really, and I’m feeling pretty low and down in the dumps anyway (I’m still coming off sugar I guess – 11 days into the braces and I remember from when I’ve done this before than my mood doesn’t really stabilise until about 2 weeks in).
The best part of my day was my happy morning with my beautiful kids, so I’m just going to focus on that and go to bed and check on F and hope that the morning brings us some peace and wellness.