Saturday, 11 May 2013

For My Mum

Tomorrow is a special day on the Australian calendar for it marks the celebration we know as Mother's Day. I get to take part in this special opportunity to be thankful for my Mum by being on the receiving end as well as the giving end. As my mother is currently not in the same state of Australia as I am, I won't be able to have her over for a luncheon and shower her with cups of tea,  home-made cakes and nostalgic anecdotes of gratitude. A blog post will have to suffice this time around, sorry Mum.

I have long been thankful to my Mum for being there for me. Now that I am a mature (cough) adult and I have a daughter of my own, I have grown to really appreciate what she went through in life. She really was a trooper and she did it tough for many years as a single mother, especially when we were living in England. What a blessing it was that she took the plunge and decided all those years ago to emigrate to Australia - the land of opportunity for many. She got stuck in almost immediately and wasn't afraid to grab the bull by the horns. She got a job within weeks of landing in Perth, and quickly found herself a place to live. She got her driver's licence and bought herself a white Ford Escort. Remember Betsy, Mum? Or was it "The Little White Chicken"? :-)

However, my appreciation for my mother really hit home this past week. Over the past five weeks the SBS television network aired the five-part BBC series "Turn Back Time: The Family". This series charts the evolution of the family, as one of Britain's most important institutions. Blending living history with genealogy, "Turn Back Time" explores what it means to be a mother, father and child in British society today and historically. Three modern day families (The Meadows; The Taylors; The Goldings) return to the 1900s and through five pivotal eras of family life:
Episode One : The Edwardian Era
Episode Two: The Inter-War Years
Episode Three: The 1940s
Episode Four: The 1960s
Episode Five: The 1970s

Turn Back Time : The Family

What made the last episode most special to me personally was that I was a child of the 1970s and my mother was the parent. She was a single mother who had to work two jobs just to keep us afloat. She made most of our clothes (on her trusty Singer sewing machine) because she couldn't afford new, and our jumpers were usually made by my grandmother Lilian. I was babysat a lot as a child (thank you, Brenda G xxx), while my mother was out earning, and I resented this for many years solely because I missed her so much. When we did spend time together though, it was precious. We danced and sang to all the latest chart toppers, we watched The Liver Birds, T.O.T.P, Whodunnit, Opportunity Knocks, Are You Being Served? and Crossroads together. We made cassette tapes (usually from comedies scripts like The Two Ronnies) for loved ones and family in Australia. I used to love sitting behind her on the sofa so that I could brush her hair. Those were my favourite times. But "Turn Back Time" made me see the 1970s from a different perspective - my mother's.

1970s Britain was a time of political upheaval with strikes, power cuts, water shortages, the introduction of the three-day week, and women's liberation. I didn't fully realise the impact all this would have had on my family, I was too busy worrying about my scooter and if we'd had a decent amount of snowfall to run around in. "Turn Back Time" illustrates the upheavals faced in the 1970s perfectly, showing scenes where families were plunged into darkness, having to fill their kettles and pans with water from the street tap, and constant worrying about the weekly wage. The Rhodes family joined the "T.B.T" families in this last episode: Lisa (single mother) and her two young sons, Harrison and Daniel. My heart went out to Lisa Rhodes as she symbolised everything about my own mother, doing it tough in the 1970s, and she had two children to clothe and feed! They were housed in one of the upstairs bed-sits where Lisa's kitchenette was sparse in every capacity. She had a temperamental immersion heater, a tiny sink, draining board, worktop and a two-burner, camping-style stove. At least my Mum and I had a decent sized kitchen with a proper stove! And we had seperate bedrooms, whereas the Rhodes family were cramped together in one room.

I used to complain a lot when I was growing up, wondering why we had so little when others had so much. I was jealous of my sisters (sorry lovelies xxx) and jealous of my school friends, and I did give my Mum a hard time, asking her for things she just couldn't afford to give me. I'm sorry for being so selfish Mum, I know you did your utmost best for both of us, and you did it almost single-handedly (you were a stubborn little buggger at times!). I didn't mean to take you for granted and I didn't mean to continually harp on at you about what I wanted differently.
Happy Mother's Day Mumsy. Thank you. I love you very much xxx xxx xxx xxx

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