Storyworth #1

What was your Mum like when you were a child?

My mother was not an easy person to love. The following story is merely a snippet of who she was as a mother and does not change the fact that I loved her. I have always, and will always.

–⋅ o ♥ o ⋅–

I find it difficult to speak about what my mother was like when I was a child. I knew she loved me in the same way every child knows in their heart that their mother (or father) loves them.

They are, after all, their parent and therefore they must love them. Right?

My mother was harsh, strict, and not one given to displays or words of affection. Hearing those three little words – I love you – coming from my mother’s mouth was not something I can recall. Sitting here now and thinking about it, I can only remember my mother telling me “Of course I love you!” – once – when I asked. I was a grown adult and married with children of my own at the time.

I remember getting into trouble a lot when I was a child and even more so when I was a teenager and a young adult. There were so many (often little) things I didn’t do ‘right’, and I always felt like nothing was ever good enough.

–⋅ o ♥ o ⋅–

There was this one time when my mother went on a holiday on her own with my baby sister. Therese must have been under 18 months old, so I must have been 12 or so.

I thought I’d surprise my mother by cleaning the house before she came home. That she’d be happy everything was nice and clean. It must have been the school holidays because I know I spent days doing what I did.

I emptied the kitchen cupboards of their contents and cleaned and wiped out drawers and shelves before I put everything back in. I took everything out of the linen cupboard before doing the same. I removed the curtains and put them in the washing machine and cleaned the windows. I vacuumed and mopped the floors, changed all the beds and washed all the sheets (yeah, I did all the other washing too), but I also cleaned the walls and skirting boards.

Our house was never clean and tidy and I was so delighted with everything I’d done and thought my mother would be so happy to come home to a lovely clean house.

Unfortunately, when I put everything back in the kitchen cupboards, I didn’t put them back where they’d come from. Nor had I put the linen back exactly as it had been, but, worst of all, when I’d washed the curtains, the backing had fallen apart in the washing machine.

What I have to add is that these curtains cost a lot of money, and were double layered with a beautiful flowery fabric on the front side and a plain cotton lining on the back. Both layers of fabric were sewn together at the top where hooks were placed to attach the curtains to the curtain rail. It was only the backing that disintegrated in the washing machine. As I type this I’m reminded of what Space X said about their rocket launch – that their Starship experienced “a rapid unscheduled disassembly”.

That’s exactly what those curtain backings accomplished while being tossed around in the washing machine. The lining fabric was already compromised and rotting due to the curtains being exposed to the harsh north Queensland sunlight – the windows faced west after all. 

I felt sick when I removed them from the washing machine. I knew this was a BIG thing that would result in, well, my mother being unhappy, to say the least. Even though I did my best to remedy the situation with a set of scissors and a sewing machine AND the approval and knowledge of my father, no amount of words could assuage my mother’s anger.

But to say she was angry was a gross understatement. She was livid, ropable even, and I spent the next, I don’t know how long, avoiding her, walking on eggshells, and trying my best to breathe correctly. 

My little heart was so broken even the memory of this event still causes pain in my chest and tears in my eyes.

–⋅ o ♥ o ⋅–

I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and that’s far from a weak-minded response to the overwhelming complexity of the universe. (Thank you, Dr Nicholas Rush, Stargate Universe). I believe that even if we don’t know the why of what happens at the time, sooner or later we do become aware of the rationality behind the challenges and difficulties life throws our way. 

My childhood taught me the importance of allowing my children to have their childhood – allowing them to have sleepovers and to go on sleepovers, letting them have birthday parties, Sunday afternoons at the local park, hot chips dipped in soft-serve ice cream, and not have their time taken up with chores around the house. 

My childhood taught me to let my children make mistakes and that it was ok to do so, but to learn from those mistakes. That is ok to break things and even if the loss of a trinket may be a sad thing, when all is said and done, it’s just stuff.

Most importantly, my childhood taught me the importance of ensuring my children know that I love them and that I tell them without reservation. I’ve no doubt they know this and also know their father loves them and tells them as freely as I do.

I know both of us have been successful in this endeavour.

Author: Clare

Ever-expanding one star at a time, my cosmos is a galaxy of thoughts and creativity where you can find poetry, short stories, photography and so much more.

8 thoughts

    1. It’s not the nicest of feelings, but I agree with that saying about things that make you stronger. I knew I was strong-willed from a very early age and I guess this has helped me in my determination to not inflict my childhood on my own children. I am sorry you also know the feeling 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a club we are both in. I’ve been wanting to write more about parent relationships, but my blog is not the place to do it. But I have a lot to say as I am sure you do too.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh Clare, my heart broke as I read about your Mom when she (and you) were younger. I imagined you as a little girl – doing your best to make the house clean and tidy and your angst as you awaited your fate for the curtains. You did your best and I’m sorry your Mom didn’t hug you and make a big deal of how hard you’d worked and how lovely and clean everything was – sans curtains.

    The lessons you’ve learnt and how you love your children is so beautiful and the family photo at the end was the icing on the beautiful ‘cake’ you made on your blog. You all look SO HAPPY together 🙂 Loved today’s blog. Keep ’em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your beautiful, and kind words, Janet 💜 When Shelley read my reply, it ‘tore her guts out’ as she put it, and I knew it would. But all things aside, this was all the proof she needed that gifting me the Storyworth subscription was a perfect thing to do.

      Liked by 1 person

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