Like most mums in the 1970’s, my mum was pretty mean to us as we grew up. She made us walk to and from school every day! We were shooed outside to play outdoors from sun up to sun down; we rode bikes with no helmets, climbed trees, and roamed the neighbourhood unsupervised. We stole fruit from the neighbour’s mandarin tree, well actually I didn’t I was far too chicken for that. My sister and her friend did all the stealing and I just shared the spoils!
And there was never any food in the house only fruit and vegetables and stuff that required me putting in some effort, and when brown bread hit the supermarket shelves in the 70’s we were the first family in the street to start eating ‘Nu-Soy’ bread. I swear that bread was just white bread dyed brown, my mum however assured us it was much better for us than white. She was so mean.
My parents were so mean that as kids we never had an overseas trip. Family holidays involved camping all over NZ instead, every year a new destination, a new beach, or river to camp by for several weeks. We actually had to pitch the tents before we could go, explore, and make new friends, I don’t know how I survived! Oh and did I mention that we had chores to do every Saturday before we left the house, mowing lawns, hoeing gardens, cleaning the bathroom, man my mum was mean! In my mum’s defence though, I did get pocket money; a cent for every year of my age plus 10 cents. That meant a 1 cent pay rise annually.
I have no doubt however that this ‘deprived’ childhood has contributed to my current good health and wellbeing, my ability to follow my beliefs and practice (and preach) what I believe in. My mum has unwittingly taught us about eating well and moving lots, and has raised four children into adulthood who are all diverse in their beliefs and resilient in their own way.
Sadly my mum lost one of her very best friends this week to cancer; a friend whose children shared our childhood, our holidays, our meals, and our lives. As friends they supported each other through marriage, grandchildren, divorce, and death. There was a lot of laughter and sherry and good food and bad. That friendship endured around 45 years and I cannot remember a time that this family was not a part of ours.
So this week it’s not about what is right and what is wrong, it’s about family and friends and good times and bad times. It’s about enjoying a life, which is both long and healthy.
I’m really lucky I have my Mum this Mothers Day. I am also lucky to have 2 great kids and that they have had grandmothers in their lives to guide and love them.
But Mum, as my kids grew up and I was really mean to them, made them do housework (not enough actually) eat wholesome food and do their homework, you were there with a biscuit or chocolate, a kind word and a hug. Not so mean after all!