Today my mother turns 65.
I think I have already given her the best gift in the world in a bright and beautiful granddaughter…
…and she tells me that she doesn’t want more STUFF taking up space, so I thought instead I’d talk a little bit about her.
She was a single mother from the time I was three – and really probably before then, knowing my dad. Now that I have a daughter and I have had to do it alone when Joe goes away for work, I don’t know how I would do it 24/7. It’s exhausting and there are no breaks.
And I certainly did not make it easy for her. I was a destructive child – writing in books, taking things apart to see how they worked, hurting myself, sneaking food, getting very angry when things didn’t go my way.
I can’t say she didn’t have any help, we were all very lucky to have my grandparents around a lot of the time. They took care of my sister and me when Mom needed help.
My Mom worked very hard. She got a job in the civil service when I was maybe 5 years old. People who don’t have parents who worked in the public service would tell me that public servants were lazy, didn’t do any real work, had easy jobs with great benefits and salaries they didn’t earn.
Those people are idiots.
My mother worked hard, she went to work early so she could be home for dinners and to see us, she lived through the cuts in the 90s and worried constantly about what she would do with us if she lost her job. It was stressful.
My mother made sure we always had what we needed and more. I’ll never forget when she took us to Toronto, just the three of us. I think it was our first trip without Tutu and Gramps. We took the train to Toronto, stayed at a beautiful hotel, went shopping on Yonge St. and went to see The Phantom of the Opera, sitting in the third row. It was amazing. (And that trip started my love affair with musicals that continues to this day).
The older I got, the more I realized how hard it was, but when I was little I had no idea, and that is a tribute to her, I think. We never wanted for anything. We were always okay, we had a lovely little house, a great home life, we lived in a great neighbourhood surrounded by kids our age.
We had the freedom to go off on adventures, riding our bikes, playing in the park or in the dead end street just around the corner, and home was always a safe place.
When I sit here, on my computer, watching my little girl sing along to Wheels on the bus, I know now the love my mother has for me and my sister. It’s amazing and overwhelming. I love watching her with her granddaughter, she loves her so much, and it fills my heart. My little girl is very lucky on the grandparent front – she even has three living great-grandparents – and I’m glad that it’s a gift I could give my Mom.
Also, growing up to be a pretty good person. I think that’s a success for her too.