Saturday, 5 August 2017

Love Ya, Mum

Happy 59th Birthday, Mum!

Did you know, you've been a mum for more than half your life? 

While you celebrated your recent birthday in Port Douglas, I was in Airlie Beach contemplating all the special things you've done to put a smile on my face over the past 28 years. Hopefully this birthday surprise puts one on yours. 

Here are 10 little reasons you're brilliant and I love you.  



1. Eggcellent Easter 




It's hard to say whether Christmas or Easter was more fun in our household. The day before Easter, we made nests for the Easter Bunny using Mum's lawn clippings. Come Easter morning, we'd wake up to find colourful hard-boiled eggs coated in decorative stickers. Even when we reached high school, Mum had us running around the house hunting for Easter eggs based on a series of riddles. One clue I still remember was "mini wave." We'd been searching for ages before one of us thought to check the microwave. Mum thought it was so clever she couldn't stop giggling.  


2. Midnight Rescue 



When I recall insistences of being sick as a child, smell becomes my dominant sense. I can still smell the eucalyptus rub Mum used to put on my chest whenever I had a stuffy nose. Unfortunately, I can also conjure up smells of chuck wafting from the laundry bucket she would bring to my bedside. I used to scream "Muuummmmmm" whenever it needed emptying, or my face towel got too warm or dry. If I'm honest, I used to shout out for everything, like if she'd forgot to bring me my warm milk, or left the light on in the hallway. 


3. Class Party Favourites



I loved bringing the notice home about our end of year class party. Mum would always ask what I wanted her to make. Most mums just bought whatever pack of chips were on sale at the supermarket the day before, but not my mum. She was a big believer in "everything in moderation," so she wasn't opposed to junk food. I always requested Chocolate Crackles, Honey Joys or Traffic Light Jelly. I loved watching Mum cut through the tri-coloured layers. When she finished, she'd hand me a slice and I'd marvel at it's translucency before taking a bite.   


4. Weird But Wonderful Pets




My brother and I were the "lucky kids" at primary school (some might use the term spoilt). We had the best marble collections, the rarest trading cards and the latest upgrades of Gameboy and Nintendo. I can't recall a time during primary school when we didn't have pets. We've had rabbits, budgies, blue tongue lizards, tortoises, a dog and a cat. Having animals taught us lots of things, like how to pretend you didn't see the cat spew.


5. Crafty Weekends 



One of my favourite things growing up was my Derwent pencil set. Mum bought me a corner desk for my bedroom, where I'd sit and copy cartoons from drawing books for hours. On weekends and during school holidays, she'd do special craft projects with me. I remember standing in the laundry watching her iron my plastic bead creations until they stuck together to make 3D pictures. She'd help me rip up old newspapers for paper mache and let me put empty chip packets in the oven so they'd shrunk to make keyrings.


6. Free-range Kid



Mum encouraged innovative thinking from a young age. I was forever dreaming up ways to earn money from our neighbours. After school I'd scoot over to a house where three girls lived; we were all close in age and similarly savvy. We knocked on all doors within about a kilometre radius of my house, asking home owners if they had any odd jobs. We made dog sitting pamphlets, set up lemonade stands and even transformed my old cubby house into a "casino." Mum was far from today's description of a "helicopter parent." As long as we were home before sun down, we were free to bother the neighbours as we pleased.  


7. Mum's Taxi 



For Year 11 and 12 I went to school in Brighton, which was an eighty minute commute from home. Both morning and evening, Mum would drop me at Frankston Station so I didn't have to catch the bus which wound all over Lakewood. Each day, I'd wait for Mum in the carpark at the "back of the station;" It was where all the drugies hung out. If she was more than a few minutes late, I'd call her and demand to know where she was. If it was cold or there were sketchy looking people around, I'd tell her to "hurry up." On Saturdays I worked as a receptionist in Mornington, a 40-minute drive in the opposite direction to school. After dropping me off, she'd go back home, make brunch, clean the house and prepare dinner so she could get cooking as soon as she got back from collecting me. 

8. Mum's Pet Boarding




When our family dog Buddy died, Mum said no to getting a replacement puppy. When I begged, she'd say, "you can buy a dog the day you move out". So I did. I bought a chihuahua around my 18th birthday. Two years later, I enrolled at uni and asked Mum if I could move back home to save on rent. She begrudgingly agreed, knowing as if it were fate, she'd become feeder, groomer and poo picker-upper in a few short weeks.


9. 1300 MUM-ON-CALL 




Whenever I'm feeling anxious and need assurance, I call Mum. When I was 23, I went on a 6-week trip around Europe. I arrived in Barcelona with nothing more than a backpack and two nights' accomodation booked. Less than 12 hours into my independent journey, I became completely overwhelmed. I remember sobbing in the hostel's WIFI lounge while waiting for Mum to answer my call. She sternly told me to get out of the hostel and go exploring in the fresh air. Hours later I met a gorgeous local who showed me the sights and revitalised my mindset. 


10. Home, Sweet Home




Without fail, each time I return to Melbourne, Mum invites me around for dinner within the first few days and makes my favourite meal. Most of the time I request a roast lamb with golden veggies and tinned peas. I've given up trying to make my potatoes crispy like hers. 

Mum and I at our favourite restaurant in New York ;)


Love ya, Mum. 

Happy Birthday!