Genevieve’s MotherJul 29
Posted on Facebook by Genevieve White
Republished here with Genevieve’s permission
July 28, 2012
I feel like having a little blather about my lovely little mother. As time has gone on, I have seen so many different kinds of mums, and I have realized more and more just how lucky I was to have had her as my mum.
Mum has always had the idea that she is not very smart or capable or whatever. She only went to Grade 12, and has no formal “qualifications”. Yet my mum has read thousands of books in her life. I remember looking at Time/Life books as a little child about the seas, forests and mountains. I remember browsing through Art books and I got familiar with all the Old Masters and the famous paintings of the world, not to mention becoming a voracious reader myself. Poor Mum has glaucoma and has big blank areas in her vision, but she still reads newspapers, National Geographic, Time, and books. I used to love going to good movies with her, but she won’t go now because she is too deaf and too frail.
She always played Classical music on our old record player when she put my brother and I to bed. Once I was humming some Chopin or something at Teacher’s College and this guy who was in the NZ National Youth Orchestra was amazed that I knew it. I was amazed at his reaction!!! It was just in my memory from those bedtimes.
She took swimming lessons in her 40’s along with little kids, so she could improve, and she went for jogs when it first started in the late 60’s, even though Dad told her off and said she looked foolish. She just wanted to be healthy and fit.
She sewed and painted rooms and grew a garden and baked and scrubbed and cleaned all day long. She never EVER yelled and screamed at me, even when she was exhausted, and to be honest, she had to deal with my dad’s moods.
She didn’t have a trace of any kind of prejudice. She was interested in all religions, and joined the Theosophical Society when we came to NZ. She talked with me about important things like God, and being a good person, or sex questions. I would always ask my mum, then report back to my friends, hahahaha.
She was into healthy food decades before it was fashionable. Even now, when she has no sense of taste, she still eats a balanced diet, and goes for a walk every day.
If I saw an adult doing something I didn’t like, she’d say, “Just make sure you don’t do it when you’re grown up”. She never complains, even when she should.
She is really quite shy, very quiet and gentle, so incredibly patient. She always tries to be open-minded and really carefully considers questions or issues on their own merits.
Sometimes she would tell me little stories and they’ve stayed with me all my life. She spoke of ironing my Dad’s shirts as carefully as she could. We kind of laugh and sneer at things like that these days, and think of Stepford Wives, etc, but it was a way she could be loving and selfless and strive for doing something to the best of her ability, and those are amazing lessons….
There has been a fair bit of sorrow in my Mum’s life, but she never talks about it, but now that she is so old, sometimes she says how she thinks a lot about her life, and she gets tears in her eyes.
My Mum will be 94 on November 13th. She was born on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, just as World War One ended. She even went to school with her siblings in a horse-drawn cart, and did her homework by lantern light.
She’s told me about being so poor during the Depression years, and of how they would save the brown paper bags from a shop to use as drawing paper. They always used baking soda to brush their teeth, and the rare time they got a tube of toothpaste she said it was such a treat and had such a wonderful taste. These stories have made me very aware of all that we take for granted, and have made me conscious not to waste things.
I could go on and on, but I just want to say that a mother is incredibly important to how a person ends up being, and I am so blessed to have had this humble little lady as my dear Mum. She’s nearing the end of her life, and it rips me to shreds, but I know I am so very, very lucky, and the best thing I can do is to be a good person to others, as she was to me.