I want to share how brilliant my Mum is. I’m doing what I’m doing today and living the life I chose to live because my Mum has helped shaped me into who I am.
Mum brought up me and my two brothers, mainly as a single parent, from when I was about 5 to 15 when she remarried.
As a child my Mum did everything. When she had a car she drove us, she worked full-time in order that we could have things other kids had so we didn’t feel so different from the others at school. She also made sure that she took us on holiday and used to drive, with 3 usually arguing children, to Barry Island, Weymouth or Polperro. She would leave very early in the morning so that there wouldn’t be too much traffic and we were generally there by 9am. When we lived in the country she had to kill the spiders and the mice and tell us not to be afraid of the dark. To see her now when she sees a spider you’d think that she had never had to tackle one. As she says, now she doesn’t have to.
Money was tight despite her working full time and I used to think that one our cars, a Hillman Imp, was very unreliable as it was always ‘breaking down’. I learnt in later years it was just because it would run out of petrol. I remember one journey back from Polperro. Mum had £1.10 in her purse, all the money she had which was £1 for petrol and 10p in case she had to ring for rescue. The £1 was used on the way back to top up the fuel. We got back to my Nan’s house in Leamington and then Mum and my brother went off to the garage, Nan had loaned Mum some money. They got half way down my Nans street and then the petrol ran out. A very close thing. I used to be mortified when the car “broke down” but looking back now, my Mum used her all to ensure that she could give us as much as she could.
It amazes me now that Mum doesn’t like to drive distances or to places that she doesn’t know when she drove us to these places as children. Again, as she says, she had to then there was no other choice if we wanted to go places and knowing that she was giving us a treat gave her the confidence to do things on her own.
I do still pull her leg and remind her, as does my friend Maria, of the time when I was left at Brownie camp. Mum (and Dad at the time) forgot to come to the parents afternoon and to collect me. I was gutted. I had been the leader for the weekend and had organised the catering for the parents afternoon and won a prize for my organising skills (a nod to my future career). I recall waiting outside the then locked gate with the Brown Owl until they arrive a few hours late. Naturally this was a time well before mobile phones and they were out anyway. I think this is why I get stressed in a supermarket if I can’t find her after a couple of sweeps of the aisles. I have abandonment issues!
When I got married my Mum gave me away and gave the perfect ‘mother of the bride’ speech which had everyone filling up. I remember she was so nervous that she was ill in the morning. I was so proud of my Mum that day. It caused a rift between my Dad, or I should say with my step-mum, that my Mum was giving me away. However, it was Mum who had brought us up had been there 24/7 and given us the best childhood she could. My Mum knew me better than anyone and certainly more than my Dad so it was only right that she be the one to hand me over to my new life.
I had moved to Wales to be with my then husband but when it wasn’t working out Mum, and just as importantly, my stepdad Bryon rang me up and told me to come home, to be back with family and friends and I could stay with them whilst I sorted myself out. As it was I got a job straight away but then lived back at home for another 4 years. This was my second time back home since I had first moved out at 17.
My room is still there for me. I know as Mum said only the other day when I was complaining about the damp and mould that I could come home if I wanted. Although it is not quite as I left it. I have reclaimed half the wardrobe back for me to store some of my stuff but Mum now uses it as her sitting room with a sofa bed and coffee table. However, knowing that I can go home and be welcomed is heart warming and comforting.
Growing up with Mum working my elder brother and I had to share the household chores and looking after my younger brother. This meant that we couldn’t go out to ‘play’ straight from school but had to wait until Mum was back from work, we had tea and had cleared away. However, this certainly gave my elder brother and I independence and a great deal of common sense plus we can cook (me better than my brother)!
We had rows, we had disagreements. I could be a vile teenager and I’m an inpatient teacher now when it comes to technology (Mum loves new technology) but we are family and I know that I’m loved unconditionally. We never dwell on disagreements or disputes and have never “not been speaking” as I see in too many other families.
We also come from a close extended family of aunts and reams of cousins, 2nd and 3rd cousins who we are in contact with. Although despite the many more methods of communication now we are probably less in touch on a day to day basis but see each other at family parties and events. However, if needed we all know that we are all there to do our bit.
My Mum gave me independence, the confidence to believe in myself and a strong work ethic. She has also given me a home, love and treats as well as 5 or 6 phone calls a week and the knowledge that I have a home wherever I may be in the world.
Here’s to my Mum. Veronica Ormerod. I love you.