We don’t always get along. Sometimes I am very rude to you. Like yesterday, when I walked in from work, exhausted and thirsty, and you said ‘where have you been, missy!’ and I got irritated and said, ‘Where do you think I’ve been?! You know I go to work. See, you always ask me this because you never remember because you don’t care about me.’
That was cruel of me. I know you care about me. I know you are tired and overworked, and nobody helps you at home. Ellie stays in her room all the time, and moans about doing a pile of dishes. She never cleans anything, and you go to work and come home and cook and clean after four kids aged between 21 and 10. And not one of them lifts a finger for you, except maybe sometimes. Very rarely, though. And you call them until your voice is hoarse and that is so wrong. If i had the time, Mama, I would help you. I would clean up for you and cook dinners for you and make sure the boys behave.
I know I should make time, but it’s so hard. There is not a moment where I am not teaching or studying for the imminent exam. But when it is over, I will help you. I will take you places so you can relax.
I want you to know that I am sorry. I am sorry for all the pain I have ever caused you, and I know I have caused you a lot of it, and much of it you haven’t forgiven. I don’t want to bring it up again with you because you will make me relive it again and again. You have this habit, you see, of going into all the grainy details. Details which are painful for me. And it was all five years ago. And I am so sorry but I can’t say it without feeling so awful and painful and scared. So I just try to silently show you by doing the best I can for you.
I say, jokingly, that your mother was a mumsy mother, unlike you. But you don’t have to be ‘mumsy’ to be a good mother. It’s not the hugs and the cuddles we want. We see your love in the way you make our breakfasts before school, and the way you listen to all our woes, even though you have plenty of your own to worry about, and which you never speak of. We see it in the encouragement you give us, in the way you push us to be better people. In the way you have sacrificed everything, even your sight, for us. You were so unhappy for so many years and it was all for us.
Us ungrateful, wretched children, most of whom do nothing to help and don’t appreciate anything. But they will. Oh, they will, when you aren’t around them anymore. I hope they do and I hope they feel pain because you don’t deserve to be treated the way they treat you. You are their mother and you deserve to be respected highly, for all you have done and continue to do for those lazy, selfish louts.
I don’t always agree with the things you do, but you made me who I am today. You helped me become more confident in myself, and love myself for who I am. You told me I was beautiful when my bald patch shone bright like a star on top of my head. You made me read from the age of three, and if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have found my true calling.
You are not soppy at all, and saying these things to you would result in a ‘Ohh, shurrup’ in that no nonsense way of yours. We aren’t a touchy feely family at all. Mostly because you aren’t, but that is okay. It is just the way it is. I just want you to know you are appreciated, and you are a great mother, just like your mother before you, who you never stop remembering to us.
And I wish nothing but the best for you, Mama. I will take care of you, even if you bat me away and tell me to stop mothering you. Who will take care of you, if not your own children?