I know I’ve often insulted her in this blog, and acted like she’s an annoyance, but my mother is a wonderful human being, and without her I wouldn’t have made it this far in life — and I want you guys (and her!) to know how grateful I am for her.
Yeah, okay, there have been times she’s done me wrong — the time in (probably) Spring 1986 she told me to go to school in shorts, only for the temperature outside to be much colder than expected; and the time in 2012 she told my grandmother to forward my latest Student Loans letter to me without warning (leading to it being thrown out by accident, as I’d just moved to this house Finchley and didn’t know to pick it up from beside the front door), but just about everything else she’s done for me has been positive.
For example, in 1998, when I went to Michigan for that university student exchange (leading to the one romance in my entire life, and the roommate’s family I’ve visited many times over the years), she acted as my anchor back here in Britain, keeping in e-mail contact, lending moral support, and ensuring I had enough money to get by on — even though the last meant she had to commute between Worthing and her job every day in late 1998, instead of staying in Surrey during the week (she worked near my alma mater, so she’d drive me home at the weekend if I wanted to visit the rest of the family). It was my grandfather (who we sadly lost a year later) who sorted out the admissions process so I could go in the first place (both universities having blundered), but it was my mother who made sure I was able to go through with it all, and stay the course.
In 1999 she started house-sitting for her friend in Woking, which meant that when I came back from Michigan in May, I could live with her for a few months and work in Surrey instead of Sussex, meaning vaguely decent wages for a change! She also let me play games on her new PC (most notably Duke Nukem 3D and War of the Worlds), and access the Internet from home (even though this was in the dial-up days… ecch!). And together we looked after a friendly black cat, which made up for our dog dying during the summer, and gave us plenty to talk and laugh about. I’m grateful for the time I was able to spend with my mother away from Worthing, even if it was only for a few months!
And even though she’s tired of me playing Gwar and Eminem in the car, I still visit her in Worthing now and then (even if Christmas doesn’t always cheer me up), and sometimes even manage to play games against her (like Wii Sports Resort), though frequently I’m down to set the clocks forward or back, fix her computer, or transfer stuff into the loft — all of which I’m willing to do (despite complaining), as I’m her dutiful son.
Most importantly, she’s pledged to help take care of me later this year: my brain condition has been confirmed to be astrocytoma, which will need surgery to resolve, and while my life apparently isn’t in serious danger, I will need a few weeks of convalescence before I can return to work in London. On that basis, she and my grandmother will be cooking for me and making sure I regain my strength safely, before I start taking care of myself again.
(Yes, I’m grateful for my grandmother as well — but it’s my mother who takes care of her, and ensures she can live on!)
The best news is that my mum has finally convinced my grandmother to let her get a dog, for the first time since 1999 — only a small one, obviously, since they live in a flat above shops, but nonetheless this is a fantastic development. She’s going to wait until my recuperation before taking me to meet rescue dogs, to ensure we both get on with the one we choose — but the prospect is a reason for me to go on living through the ordeal I’m facing in a couple of months… though, of course, she and my grandmother are the most important reasons for me to live on, as I’ve said before. I don’t want to bereave anyone, and I don’t want my folks to outlive me, especially as I’ve not yet become a father!
And there’s always the possibility that, after my health is restored, she and I will be able to go climbing together again, for the first time in four years… but that’d require the climbing centre in Shoreham to reopen!