Okay, so I’ve skipped a few days but I thought I would join in today. I’m suppose to post an old picture of myself. Don’t you think ageing is a funny thing? We all do it, but we are unaware that it is happening to us. I remember, as a small child, asking my grandmother about being old. The funny thing is then I asked her, she was probably younger than I am today. She said, that she didn’t feel any different. I have to agree with her, I don’t feel any different inside. I’m only really aware that I am aging when I look in the mirror, or at photographs of my younger self.
I guess we all reach a point in our lives when the balance of time tips the other way. It is at this point we stop looking forwards and start looking backwards, remembering how things use to be. Places no longer look the same, progress has overtaken us and things are done in a different way. I’ve always tried to be positive about ageing. All ages give you something while taking something else away. We all accept growing up and becoming independent from our parents, going to work, getting married and starting our own family. To do such thing we had to leave our parents, school, toys behind as we move forward into the future.
Our acceptance of the ageing process stops us from becoming a bitter person. It is too easy to envy others for their youth as we grow older. Our time on earth is short and we can waste it all too easily. I’m a glass half full girl. When I was born my mother was still mourning for a loss of a child. Her second son, Paul. In those days when a child dies a mother was told to have another one as soon as possible. My mother had wanted two boys, so I wasn’t the ideal replacement. She went on to have two more children both girls, and then twins who were still born. Mother never achieved her dream of having two boys. Her disappointment was tangible. One day while sitting in a cafe she told my sister and I if she’d had her two boys she would never have had us girls. The tone in her voice as she said those words cut through us. We knew she’d never fulfilled her only ambition in life.
I laughed it off. What else could you say knowing you were a disappointment to your mother. It wasn’t as though she could’ve sent us back. Growing up, I had always felt closer to my father aware of my mother’s distancing from me. Mother called me, Daddy’s girl, in a dismissive tone. My father told me when I arrived into this world Mother didn’t want anything to do with me, so he had to change and feed me.
In the late 1950’s the attitude towards mothers, like mine who were young enough, were told to have another baby, as though a replacement would repair their broken heart. Unfortunately no baby but a baby boy would’ve repaired my mother’s heart.
In my collection of short stories Day Pass like a Shadow, the story Burning the Midnight Oil tells the tale about the coldness of a mother towards her son. Also the story covers the theme of the death of a parent too. Even though I wasn’t the son my mother longed for I remained at her side until she drew her last breath on the day she died. She may not have wanted me, but I’m forever grateful that I was born. Mum had learning difficulties and she wasn’t one for sharing her feelings. One day when my husband and I took her out of her nursing home for the afternoon in a wheelchair we shared a memorable moment together. My husband went to pay at the counter. I was standing at the back of the wheelchair, leaned over and wrapped my arms around my mother’s neck. She patted my hands and said, “I love you, Paula.” My heart broke, and I sobbed. I had waited a lifetime to hear those words.
Sometimes during those last few months before Mother left us, she would remember that I was busy writing a book. I never tried to explain that I was actually working on my third unpublished novel. On this particular day, my husband was pushing her in the wheelchair. We had tired to included her in our conversation, but she wasn’t very chatty. As my husband and I paused in our conversation, Mother piped up, “How’s that novel of yours coming along,” before falling silent again.
Remember as a writer none of life’s experiences goes to waste.
Have a great day, and thank you for reading my blog.