Somewhere else

July 31, 2011

For a very Special Lady

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — waltersdaughter @ 1:07 pm

For A Very Special Lady

Originally written on April 3rd 2011

Friends have learned that I like to be referred to by my given name, rather than Walter’s daughter, or someone’s wife or mother. For many years my identity has been defined by my relationship to someone else, so no matter how proud I am to be thus associated, I find it flattering to at last be recognised in my own right – with my own name.

But on this Mothering Sunday, my thoughts turn to my old mum. She was known as Walter’s wife, or the mother of their six children. She was a lovely lady. Was she ever referred to in her own right, with her own name? Did she mind, I wonder?

Quiet, unassuming, self-effacing, hard-working, conscientious, generous, kind, patient and understanding, she spent most of her life putting others first. She devoted many years to looking after my dad and us children. She would be up at five thirty every morning to light the fire, polish our school shoes, tidy up and do a bit of knitting or sewing while peace still reigned in the house. The porridge would go on to gently bubble, and there would be bacon or egg (rarely both!) for when we emerged from our beds.

Mum was always interested in everything we did. We were each given the time we needed, the help, encouragement and praise where it was due. We didn’t have material things in abundance. Indeed, my yearned for piano tuition was out of the question, riding lessons and extended school trips,  but she would do everything possible to give us what she could.

She played with us and read to us. She went to every parents’ evening, attended every concert, packed up lunches for our bicycle rides, played endless games of tennis with us, listened – really listened – to us, swallowed her pride and made “outrageous” clothes for us in whatever was the current trend; “Why ever you’d want to wear a jumper that short is beyond me. You’ll catch your death of cold!”

Mum tolerated lots of “fun” we had as children. I remember one of my brothers building a canoe on the landing, and my other brother erecting a tent over his bed. I accumulated stray animals and unwanted pets but was supported in my search for materials to construct hutches and pens. Mum was a very keen gardener, but put up with my growing menagerie which took over a significant portion of it!

In my teens I did a paper round – the same one my two brothers had done before me – but I was very bad at getting up early, so my dear old mum would often come and meet me as I set out from the newsagents and help me stuff the papers through the letter boxes. On Thursdays and Fridays she would be there even if I was up in good time, as these were the days the heavy local papers and the Radio and TV Times added to the burden -no health and safety regulations then, concerning loads slung across a youngster’s shoulder!

When we were old enough to be left for a couple of hours on our own in the house, Mum took on a part-time job to help make ends meet – I don’t recall her ever treating herself.

When I wanted bookshelves for my bedroom, she suggested I enrol on a woodwork evening class, and make some myself! Did she know just how much self-confidence and pride that would give me? (The shelves are still doing sterling service, incidentally, even if the joints are a bit wobbly these days!)

Every problem we encountered while growing up was met with patience and understanding. Mistakes we made were recognised as such and we were chastised only for intentional wrong-doings. We were always made to feel valued. We were loved, that is clear, though the word was never uttered.

Once married and with children of my own, she continued to be understanding, which I know I took for granted. Mr. Anyould recognised the unerring way in which she never criticised, advised or intefered, unless it was specifically requested.

There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think of both of my parents.

Perhaps it’s ungrateful of me to wish to lose the Walter’s daughter handle – – and today I am happy to be my mother’s daughter, and give credit to a very special lady.


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