I'm joining in the Finish the Sentence Friday today, where the sentence to finish is "Dear Mom ..." I'm going to have to take some poetic licence on that one though because if I wrote 'Mom' my mother would fear I had up and fled to the US of A overnight. So being Aussie, I'm going to have to make it 'Mum' :)
This Mothers' Day, I want to thank you for all the advice you have given me over the years. We both know that most of it went in one ear and out the other, but I suppose we can both live in hope that it's all there rattling around in my subconscious and one day I will actually start putting it all to good use.
You set such an amazing example of work ethic, organisation, thrift, routine and all-round domestic order. You always got up at the crack of dawn, ironed everything including underwear, without fail wrote down every cent you spent in a little book, never burnt the dinner or forgot an important date, never made lumpy mashed potato and never sunk into any of the domestic disasters that I did, like running out of toilet paper when there were guests in the house. Despite being a perfectionist, you always had a wonderful sense of humour and sometimes, even when you were being serious, you ended up being funny. You know I love you dearly, but if you need a reminder, please go and read this post again. Today, my Mothers' Day message is not quite as sentimental, but just as special to me: it contains the five most memorable pieces of advice that you imparted to me. Now I did warn you that one day I would have to write these down and that they may even end up on the blog. I hope that reading them makes you smile as much as I did writing and remembering them ...
The Five Most Memorable Piece of Advice You Ever Gave Me
1. Always do the grocery shopping first thing in the morning as soon as the supermarket opens to avoid any hold-ups by bumping into anyone you know (but don't really like) and having to waste time chatting to said people. This is very good advice indeed - except, of course, if all the people you want to avoid bumping into have the same idea!
2. Wind up the hills hoist (a height-adjustable Australian version of the clothesline) as high as you can so that you have to stretch up to hang out the clothes - this will ensure you are regularly giving your abdominal muscles a workout. Now if that isn't the ultimate in incidental exercise, then I don't know what is, but your abdominals were always quite impressive and I never saw you do a single sit-up, so you proved that it pays off!
3. Keep a whistle by the phone to ward off prank callers. In the days before caller ID, we received many a prank call and I have several fond memories of giggling with a mixture of shock and glee when my well- mannered, even-tempered Mother blew that whistle with all her might down the phone at the pranker before hanging up.
4. Always put talcum powder into your bathing cap before going swimming - this stops the cap from ripping, stops bacteria from festering inside it and makes it easier to take it off your head afterwards, thus protecting your hair. These were all very good reasons indeed to put talcum powder in my bathing cap before school swimming lessons. I think, however, that you may have over compensated a bit with the powder because I'm not so sure that you're supposed to put so much in that it leaves your hair ghostly white for the rest of the day. This would have been okay, I suppose, if we'd been allowed to shower after swimming lessons (which we weren't) or if all the other mothers insisted on putting talc in their child's caps too (which they didn't). I therefore spent a rather large proportion of my primary school days looking like a geriatric. Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having white hair. I love your white hairs and I know that I'm responsible for most of them. But it's just hard to be cool at school when you're sporting that look.
And now for the cream of the crop ...
5. Never scream when there is a cake in the oven as this will cause the cake to sink in the middle. If I remember correctly, you explained that this had something to do with physics and you had me utterly convinced of this phenomenon for about twenty-five years, right up until I told a group of adult friends once to keep their voices down so the cake we were baking together wouldn't sink in the middle. When I told them how I knew this, they rolled around laughing. "You're mum just wanted some peace and quiet for half an hour!" they told me. "Oh", I replied, taking a while to process this. "Do you think that might be why she used to bake so often?!"
So Happy Mothers' Day, my funny, clever mum. I promise to make you a cake on Sunday ... as long as you can convince the grandkids to stay quiet while it bakes!
P.S I love you!