Tuesday, 11 March 2008

My Mum

My mum is the most inspirational person I know.

I feel I should blog this in late homage to the fact that quite recently it was Mothering Sunday, and the day went by marked solely by the delivery of a 'Happy Birthday Mum!' card (Tesco really should mark their card sections more clearly) and a £2 scratchcard on my part.

In my defence, it would have been a bloomin' good move if the day ended £250,000 richer than which it began- although I am acutely aware that the prosecution is ready to pounce and point out that the pickings were indeed quite slim i.e. very unlikely. Still, there was hope for the short while that it took her to gently rub away the metallic silver mask hiding those potentially life-altering symbols, and what greater gift is there than hope?

Mama was born with Cerebral Palsy. I readily and openly confess to being incredibly ignorant of the condition, but I reckon this is more to mum's credit rather than to my detriment- growing up it was quite simply never, ever an issue.

She is the younger twin to The Lovely Auntie, whom is entirely able-bodied. Out popped The Lovely Auntie in the delivery room, but t'was a while before Mama followed. And thus her tiny body starved of oxygen whilst she waited quite patiently for the out of Nanna's homely womb. This inaction altered both her limbs and the course of her life forever.

Not once have I ever heard her wonder, though, 'why me?'. Every second of every day her body is riddled with pain. As a child- and to be honest, sometimes even now- when I have needed to rest my weary head on her bosom I have never just been able to listen to the beat of her heart. You can feel her muscles constantly flexing and then flexing some more. The tension in every part of her body. She can be self-conscious about the barely-there awkwardness to her walk, and the shaking of her hands when it comes to picking up a drink in the pub. But I'll be damned if her physical disability hasn't made for a more empathetic, caring, strong-willed, unaffected and downright funny woman than all of the other females, males, mothers, fathers, friends, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends and foes out there. She is one heck of a woman.

I offer this information for the change it has brought to the way I face the world each day. I have been instilled with the notion that absolutely nobody worth knowing will ever put me down, and for those that do? I just pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. Don't let the Bastards get you down, she tells me.

When she, and then we, found out about The Affair, we took mama's lead. After all, it was her marriage that was lying in tatters, and that came secondary to any pain Baby Brother and I felt about the betrayal to us as their children (although, I will begrudgingly admit, it is hard even as a 'mature' adult in her twenties not to make it all about 'me, me, me'. They are my parents!). She called the shots, and we followed her lead.

When she asked for half of everything, and was told that actually half of nothing was... well, nothing, she put her marriage before the opinions of everybody around her and said 'Do you know what? This is MY husband, and OUR problem. This will be sorted MY way'. I was so proud.

It takes one dedicated, strong woman to go back to a cheating husband, when that is only the beginning of the problems and everybody around you is telling you just to get out. She learned that they were in debt, serious we-have-to-declare-bankruptcy-debt. But she faced every issue head on. It has been The Worst Year Ever for the whole family, especially as I moved back home not so long ago in a pay-rent-or-give-it-a-go-as-a-writer-with-no-overheads initiative. Hence, following them to our New Life in the Peak District.

But with a mother like I have got, and the example she sets to me with her every move, I wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

Except maybe the Maldives.

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