Monday, 10 June 2013

And that's why I still need my Mom

And that's why I still need my Mom
10 June 2013

Moms are irreplaceable.  They really are.  They are magical beings, full of wisdom and knowledge.  Equally balanced by soothing powers of forgiveness.  And overflowing with love.

How can they contain it all, without bursting their dams?

Well, they don’t.  They share.  Their love flows right through them and makes you feel whole.  It bathes you in the warmth of acceptance.  They build you up high and praise your achievements.  The encourage you to reach for the stars and fulfil your potential.  They convince you that not even the sky is the limit, and that everything is possible.  Moreover, their greatest asset, is their unquestioning belief in their offspring.  That they are invincible and that anything they set their mind to is do-able.  Anything.

My mom means the world to me.  My very best friend.  We speak on the phone a few times a day, and I so value her presence in my life.  No one else has the same sense of belief and pride in my achievements that she has.  My greatest supporter.  My champion.  My fighter.  My cheerleader from the sides.  She’s my rock and keeps me grounded.  And in very much the same manner that the moon and the earth are irrevocably linked and are pulled towards each other by gravitational forces, so too, is my umbilical pull to my mom.  That link has simply never been broken.  And as the moon is lured into orbital motion around the earth, so too am I lured in a similar pattern to my mom.  Always circling and orbiting her presence too.  Seeking her company, her wisdom, her knowledge, and her love.

But, apart from all of the airy-fairy fluffy type needs I have of her, like love and acceptance and the drive to push my further.  I also need her for far more prosaic type things.  Things that I had mistakenly imagined that I would not need, as a forty year old adult myself.  Still, whenever in doubt, I turn to her and ask:

“So if I want to glaze a gammon, how do I do it again?”  - Hey, I cook but one gammon a year, at Christmas.  And every single time, I phone her just before I do, to ensure that I get it right.

“I can’t remember where to put the apostrophe when I write its.  Is it it’s or its?”  - She simply always knows.  The major benefit of being an English teacher.

“I just want to double check, for Sunday’s get together, what must I bring?  What time must we be there?” – Everyone in the family always asks her.  She is all knowing.

“We’ve been invited to this dress-up ABBA party, do you have anything that I can wear?” – Ironically she did.  She has a humongous big dress-up room that we tap into at will.  This dress-up room also suffices for parties requiring Western gear, Indian garb, Hollywood style, etc., etc., etc.

“Do you any idea how best to remove chewing gum from Amber’s hair” – She told me peanut butter or scissors.  Remarkably both options did the trick (not simultaneously).

“I’ve forgotten which is the right road to take when I come off the off ramp to…..” – She is both an excellent navigator on road trips and can easily pass that knowledge on, even when not in the car.  Her road navigating skills are also always accompanied by interesting little titbits of info, eg. “You turn right there opposite Annie’s house.  You remember Annie from Ouma-Leen’s book, with the broekie lace front at the house.  Now you’ll remember her father was…..”

“Do you remember that time we went up to Grahamstown, exactly what was the name of…..” – She has incredible recall.  This recall ability is usually also accompanied by interesting little titbits of info (refer above), eg. “Well you see it was called …..  And that’s because…..”.

“Mommy, I know you’ve shown me like a million times, but I’ve completely forgotten AGAIN, how to do blanket stitch.  Do you mind explaining to me again over the phone?” – And amazingly she is able to do just that.  Remarkable actually, cause somehow even I am able to understand, and reproduce exactly just such a stitch.  Until the next time I need to do it and I have to phone her all over again.

“I’m writing a blog about something and I need a photo of me with permed hair.  Remember that holiday we went to Joburg and I permed my hair just before?  Please have you got a pic for me?” – My mom is then quite capable of going through a whole pile of pics, to find the exact one I need.  Scan and then e-mail to me too.  Amazing, right!

“What was the name again of that duet we used to play on the piano?” – My mom and I used to have ridiculous amounts of fun playing duets on the piano.  Now just to clarify, these were not complicated classical duets.  They were more your beginner-piano-player duets.  Still we loved them terribly and used to sing along badly to these too.  By the way – we thought we were brilliantly talented.  Nay, gifted!

“If I want to highlight a bunch of text in an Excel document, and scroll down without losing my heading at the top, which buttons must I push again?” – My mom has highly evolved computer skills.  She did a stint teaching computer skills at a school.  Apart from that, she continually teaches me too.

“So, if I’m trying to add a link to a piece of text, do you have any idea how to do it?” – Well, the thing is, that even if she doesn’t know off by heart, she’ll find out and let me know.  She digs Google big time.

“Okay, the kids have got these bloody awful raffle tickets we have to sell for school, pretty please will you buy some?” – My mom always says yes.  And, not only does she buy tickets, but she also ensures that her Daya, my stepsister Katarina, as well as their dog Otto and their cat Lucy buys tickets too.  Sooo accommodating.

“Do you have any awesome ideas of an inspiring thing Amber can make with her French Knitting project for school?” – The sweetest little pencil box.  Too cute!  Funny enough, both boys also did variations on the stationary theme with their French Knitting too.

“Mommy, please can you do Cole’s homework with him?  He’d love it, especially if you get to sign his homework book.” – It is always more exciting doing anything with grannies.  Even homework becomes bearable.

“It’s Amber’s dancing concert coming up, would you help to bulk up the family support a bit?” – My mom does an awesome heavy.  Within a very short while, she is able to drum up a few extra tickets sales to support my Berry – all within the family circle of course.

“Mommy, I thought I’d try knitting again, but I can remember how to cast on?  Please help!” – I can only ever knit if I’m with my Mom.  I am terrible at it.  Though what I lack for in skills, I make up for in enthusiasm.  I am a pro at losing or gaining stitches and I can never catch them again once I’ve lost them.  Knitting is a skill normally reserved for family holidays, when my mom is close on hand to help.

“Luke has to do a Science project about some or other plant something or other.  You know I’m not good with green things, please can you help?  By the way – must be indigenous and if you have some in your garden, even better.  Way more authentic.” – She is really way cool with school projects.  She won’t do them of course, but she is willing to give just enough info, to enable any of my kids, to set off.  Or me for that matter.  And for this project, she got the name of an awesome plant (that grew in her garden), and even took some pics for Luke which he could print and use for his project.

“Cole is super excited and chuffed with himself.  He’s learnt this funny joke and he wants to tell everyone.  Won’t you please phone him and ask him to tell you his joke (sorry, Mommy – you’ll have to pretend to laugh – it’s not all that funny).” – She delights in my children like you will never believe.  Nothing is ever too much trouble for her.  She phones to wish them well before each new school term.  She phones before piano exams, dancing exams, karate gradings, etc.  She knows exactly what is happening in their lives.  She knows who their friends are, and even knows the families of their friends.  And they all adore her too.  What’s not to love?

“Mommy, please say you can help me.  Cole’s teacher said that for his school birthday treat, I must please bring thirty cupcakes, looking like owls.  The kids have to decorate them themselves.  Any ideas?” – She is overwhelmingly practical.  On this occasion, she did a lot of searching and googling to help me come up with an idea.  In the end, her ingenuous idea was inspired.  And so along to school we sent thirty chocolate cupcakes, as well as a box of smarties, jellytots and jellybeans.  We thought that it would be much better if each child simply decorated a chocolate cupcake with five sweeties in honour of Cole’s fifth birthday, rather than go with the whole owl theme.  Cole’s teacher never said a word, and apparently the treats were a huge big success.  Go figure!

“Hi, Mommy, would you mind if Amber practices her Afrikaans oral with you over the phone?  She’s dying for someone other than me to hear it.  She’s so chuffed with herself.” – Over the years my mom has listened to many orals and poems over the phone.

“Mommy, you know how we are going with all of our friends to Sutherland for the weekend?  Well, it seems sinful to not pop in at Muisnes on our way back.  Would you mind?” – To which my mom replied, “It would be lovely.  How many of you?”.  To which I replied, “Oh about thirty or so, including kids.”  Naturally Maggie said, “I can’t wait.  Bring it on!”.  And when we got there, she had prepared soup for lunch for all of us.  All very sort of impromptu.  Not entirely sure she ever told Daya before the time.  He kind of waltzed out of his office, to find thirty extra people on his property, and loved every minute!

“Mommy, you won’t believe it!!!  We’ve been given this amazing opportunity to go to China for two weeks.  Would you mind helping out with the kids?  They could stay at Muisnes with you for a bit, and then perhaps you could stay at our house for a few days so they don’t miss too much school.” – Without giving it a single thought, my mom replied, “Hell, yes!!!!  How exciting! (still not entirely sure if she was referring to our holiday, or her time with the kids)”.  This happened a few years ago, and my Mom and Daya took the kids off with them to Muisnes and then came and stayed at our house for a stint too.  I will never forget saying long tearful goodbyes to the kids when my Mom came to fetch them at our house.  I tried my very best to be brave and not cling too much, but my heart was sore.  Cole was just two and a half, and it was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity, but still my heart ached.  And just as they were about to drive off into the sunset, with all of the kids dangling out of the car windows, waving and shouting, “we love you!”, my mom stuck her head out and said loudly, “Now don’t come back with any made-in-China-babies, y’hear!”  Absolutely delighted with her parting shot.  And as they were driving off, I could already hear the kids asking her what it meant.  You have but nooo idea how often I’ve had to explain that statement to them.

These are but just a few small examples of the everyday stuff my mom does for me.  There are hundreds more examples.  Infinity in fact.

So you see, my Mom knows everything.  And I’ve given it some thought, and have finally figured it out.  In her spare time, my mom works for Google.  No, seriously!  She’s their go-to girl and answers a lot of their questions.  She’s their hands-on expert in many a diverse field.

And so, if you don’t have a Mom (or one as awesome as mine), then Google away.  I understand you have the need.  My mom might even be the one to answer your question, on Google’s behest. 

As for me?

Well, I don’t need to, you see.  I have Magoogle (short for a combo of Mom, Maggie and Google).

Please click and like From the birds and the bees, to family trees on Facebook

Brave Mom let Cole practice putting make-up on (even more alarming is the fact that she is quite willing to go into town like this - and has done so in the past)

Magoogle and I
Maya and Daya when they renewed their vows


  1. Helene, many a true word is spoken in your blog!! All I know is that I am the luckiest fish in the world to have Maggie as my sister, as well as my very own very wise Mom! Both are my go-to girls for all sorts - from recipes to advice on hard emotional decisions !!! They are both always encouraging and supportive, practical and endlessly patient! And no one can make me belly laugh like they do! Such remarkable women! Did I mention what a lucky fish I am??

  2. I think you are all very lucky fishes , what a truly special bond you girlies have long may it last xxx
    Helene what a lovely tribute to your Mom, she truly is Fabulous