Smothering Sunday

Today I’m thankful that I still have a mother, but if we’re going to have a day to celebrate mothers, please don’t ask me to:

Bake a cake for a fundraiser

Select a nanna scarf for me before I’m a grandmother

Volunteer for any initiative to improve the lives of already well-off people

Mend garments or

Clean up after babies

Also please don’t:

Buy me ugly socks

Make me a ceramic thingy that I’ll smash

Give me any more craft

Advise me to take vitamins, colonics, miracle cures or go for a run

Rescue another animal for me

Suggest helpful ways to brighten my floors

Today I don’t want to grow, inspire, achieve, strive or nurture, I’m cranky and I’m having a day off. Please quickly bring me a bottle of gin, tonic, lemons and an obedient bar man, then close the door on your way out. Your best present for Mumma is obedience and a big dose of shush.

Mother and Child Reunion Boney M


Memento infantia

There comes a weekend in every mother’s life when we have to put on bad music, trample on the walk on wardrobe AKA floor-drobe, cough our way through crusty bits of rubbish and throw out the last remaining bits and bobs of our offsprings’ childhood. That weekend has come for me. There will be no more Hello Kitty pencils, no more craft that comes home saying I luv u mummmy and no more genuine joy at seeing me at the school gate.

I am emptying the unfinished projects into the bin and opening old One Direction pencil cases and finding handwritten notes from their friends. These painstakingly produced jottings were all written at the age when my kids were discovering the magic of writing a heartfelt letter to a beautiful new friend:

Dear Senny, I thik youre really specil and I reallly lik your shoos. I had funn wen we went to the pak and i now we wil be freinds forever. lov you

I’ve been a single mum for 10 years, so there are many jobs in my house that are being tackled well past their use by date. Despite our multiple moves, some special stuff was placed in boxes and carted from new address to new address. The perfectly unused birthday present textas from the seven-year old’s best friend in the hole world that were saved in the back of the cupboard for special occasions have been dug out, the lolly wrappers that she didn’t want mummy to see, beside the half-dressed dolls with real nail polish on their hands. I put together a box of nostalgia, thinking that my last teenager would be remotely interested in the lost cuteness and innocence of her childhood. She came home from a day out at the hideous local shopping trauma centre and said,

“That’s my stuff, what are you doing?”

“Cleaning.”

“Don’t.”

“We need to chuck out.”

“No, I’m too busy.”

A few short weeks ago she sobbed because the Easter Bunny hadn’t left her an elaborate trail of eggs in our shared yard on Easter Sunday. But now she’s watching make up tutorials on how to copy the subtle facial contouring of the Kardashians on Youtube. She actually wants to look like a Jenner. I’ve failed as a mother. What the hell will I keep from this phase?


Put it in mothballs

Autumn winds make me extra allergic to the online world of success coaches with glow in the dark teeth, perky personal fitspo gurus with Instagram famous bodies and shiny women with trout pout lips on an endless loop on Youtube. A generation of children are growing up with mothers who’ve had so much Botox put into their faces that these women cannot express the full gamut of human emotion on their dials. These zombie women scare me but I can’t stop staring, wondering when the fillers will stop working.

Then I get scratchy when I hear the words mastery, motivation, personal best, inspire, disrupt. Show me the leaders in lethargy, excellent examples of ennui, successful sloths, wonderful worriers. These are my people. To mangle Kerouac: the only ones for me are the crazies, the Bukowski drunks, the shabby, the borderline criminals, the drop outs, the dribblers, those grungy, suffering, unshaven cats who get thrown out of the best parties, the ones who always yawn out loud, the rambling, boisterous messes who convey every sloppy human emotion on their cracking apart faces. These are the people who make me feel good about myself, as I hide away at home reading, not wanting to face the world or climb any ladders.

Growing up into a cranky old cat lady, I’m pondering the autumn and winter of my life with a countenance that moves. As I slip under the radar with a face that loses its sheen every day, I think I like my mangy self best.


40 sparkling years

Here’s to the magnificent 78’ers, those brave souls who stood up for their rights and tonight celebrate 40 years of Sydney Mardi Gras. These civil rights champions were brutally bashed, arrested, taunted and harassed and still they marched for their friends, for the freedom to be their magnificent selves, for equality, for  ‘the love that dare not speak its name.’ Thank you to the warriors who fought for the freedom to love freely and to be equal citizens. Rainbow beauties I salute your courage. Your selfless actions made Sydney a more fun, more colourful and more inclusive place. I can’t imagine dancing on Oxford Street in 1983 without you.

As I hope for glitter not blood on the streets tonight, I’m shedding a few tears for the beautiful loved ones we lost when AIDS ripped through our lives in the 80s and 90s. I know tonight they will be there in spirit. I’m also thinking of the people who work so hard for Bobby Goldsmith and ACON and my friends decorating floats. Party on beauties. I feel nothing but love and pride when I see you shining.

Divine – You Think You’re A Man

 

 


Dogstagram

This week a friend who is not a fan of social media asked me: Why do cute pooches and pussy cats have more social media followers than most humans?

Why? Because we love them. Pooches believe in unconditional love. Aspirational humans do not. Cats have attitude and don’t give a shit. I love dogs of Instagram because dogs are pretty. Dogs on insta don’t have bad plastic surgery, fake boobs and plastic nails. They’re not going to take cheesy selfies with trout pouts at monasteries and mosques. Dogs don’t take photos of themselves doing cartwheels at sacred sites. Dogs don’t pretend to be social media experts, they’re not trying to improve our lives, help us reach unattainable goals, sell us products or help their owners train to be ultra fit marathon runners and brag about it. Dogs just are. I love dogs.

Cats aren’t trying to mary football players, flog baby clothes or inspire us to upgrade to a better lifestyle. Cats hiss and bite when they’re pissed off. Cats are cool.

But I do wish dog owners would post more photos of mutts with fleas, mange and weeping eyes. Cat owners could oblige by sharing their scratch and sniff cat pee in the corner of the living room snaps more often too.

I’ll keep this rant short, I must dash, my cat needs to meet up with her personal trainer.


Wrinkles where smiles have been

Dementia is:

Adding water to plastic flowers in a vase
Putting the TV remote in your handbag
Storing cutlery under the pillow
Folding undies and carefully placing them in the fridge

Dementia is my mum’s gift to me. She can’t remember what my children are doing this week, but I’m hearing loads of stories of her long ago boyfriends before my dad.

Dementia is my mum in tears when she can’t remember how to listen to phone messages

Dementia is 4am phone calls when she can’t remember if it’s my sister’s birthday or her wedding anniversary today

Dementia is finding pleasure in patting a kitten for hours at a time

Dementia is not knowing about Facebook or Snapchat or being contactable 24/7

Dementia is driving to the favourite places of my mum’s childhood

Dementia is sitting quietly doing puzzles that aren’t challenging

Dementia is telling all the staff in her nursing home that she is Polish, when her grandmothers were Irish and Welsh and her parents were born in Australia

Dementia is keeping her here long enough to value and appreciate and say thank you and goodbye

Linda Ronstadt – When I Grow Too Old to Dream

 

We have been gay
Going our way
Life has been beautiful
We have been young
After you’ve gone
Life will go on
Like an old song we have sung

When I grow too old to dream
I’ll have you to remember
When I grow too old to dream
Your love will live in my heart

So kiss me my sweet
And so let us part
And when I grow too old to dream
That kiss will live in my heart

 

 

 


Zombies on YouTube

Lazy school holiday afternoon. Single mother folding washing, fruit rotting in the bowl, flies buzzing around the child’s cooking/slime experiment, cat eating the last of the bread, children glued to their screens.

“Zen, what are you watching?”

“Some highlights from the IT movie.”

“I don’t want you watching that movie, you’re too young, it will give you nightmares.”

“The boy in it is a Virgo.”

“No.”

“He’s a Virgo like you mum.”

“NO, you are not watching it.”

“Worth a try, mum.”