CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS FOR MY MUM

Cuckoo (Common Formerly European) Onekind

Cuckoo (Common Formerly European) Onekind

Day  9 post 1st stage reconstructive surgery. Mum flew in from the UK two nights ago on flight SQ281 to stay for a month. I pride myself on keeping the house not too shabbily, but she hadn’t been here 12 hours and she was already getting stuck in, half way down a toilet, giving it ‘a really good clean’. She turns 81 in 5 and a half weeks and is darting round my house cleaning, fetching, carrying, while I sit like a Cuckoo in her nest, squawking for service.

Fact: Cuckoos stroke of genius is that they lay their eggs in other bird’s nests. ‘Studies were made of 90 Great Reed Warbler nests in central Hungary. Of the nests targeted by cuckoos, 64% contained one cuckoo egg, 23% had two, 10% had three and 3% had four Common Cuckoo eggs. 66% accepted the egg(s); 12% ejected them; 20% abandoned the nests entirely; 2% buried the eggs. 28% of the cuckoo eggs were described as “almost perfect” in their mimesis of the host eggs, and the warblers rejected “poorly mimetic” cuckoo eggs more often.’ Thanks Wikepedia.

I am a terrible patient. I don’t like being dependent, which is a combination of control freakery and genuine concern for my carer and I hate following instructions which involve telling me I can’t do things. I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than a full mug or drive and this renders me helpless, useless and stir crazy! My bigger half is having to cope with a woman rapidly declining into the thing she’s not supposed to become for another 30 years – and his M-I-L is here. For a month.

It’s not until you can’t exercise your ways that you realise how much set in them you have become. As a child I remember watching mum bake, iron and sew. I can remember her operating an ancient washing machine that had an accompanying wringer. She once lost the tiny diamond from her engagement ring into the swirling vortex of water and clothes, only to find it sitting on one of the 2cm slats of the drain at the bottom after it was emptied.  She would come home from shift work as a midwife, change into short shorts and gumboots and gallop off on her fabulous legs to the kitchen garden behind the stone wall. I learnt to bake by inhaling the studied concentration on her face while she measured, sieved, mixed or, kneaded – whether what was in the bowl became coffee and walnut cake or wholemeal bread, I got the techniques down pat. I know that many of my ways about the kitchen have the flavour of my mum about them.

And not just the kitchen. Sometimes I catch myself having a ‘Diana moment’ and, depending on the nature of the moment and whether it has been witnessed by the other one who knows, I will shriek or laugh. But over the next 3 and a half weeks I will have many Diana moments – firsthand, no mirror. She hasn’t been to stay for 8 years since I had 2 boy babies at the same time. She woke 3 time a night with me for 21 nights to help with feeding. She made 210 cups of tea and buttered 240 pieces of toast. She has spent 1000’s of dollars on me. We live 18325.35kms apart and let’s be honest, it’s possible that you can count the days we will spend in each others company on the toes and fingers of my 5 sons. That is a difficult thought to entertain. So I will stuff back the graceless teenager trying to take over my behaviour and be grateful for my mum. I will let her do her thing and accept the benefit which I would be so foolish to squander.

Thank you, mum for your crazy decision, made within 18 hours after talking to me when I came out of hospital. Thank you for spending 926 of your precious British Pensioner Pounds on Flight SQ281 and defying gravity to be here.

You have never ejected or abandoned me and you haven’t had to bury me yet.  I know I am not a bad egg and that you are 1 impressive old bird.

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