Other things I’ve learned.
I’m definitely Turning Into My Mother.
Today I was pondering the items to add to my shopping list and considering that I probably should just by twice as much of the things that won’t go off – toothpaste, shampoo, maple syrup.
“What’s wrong with that?” you may ask. On the face of it, not much, but it’s another signpost on the road to Turning Into Your Mother.
When I was little I have vivid memories of Mum talking about how Granny had at least two of anything. She wasn’t moaning, just sort of indulgently amused. Latterly Granny’s doubling up led, I believe, to wearing duplicates at the same time – corsets, pants.
Recently, at Mum’s house during hunts for toilet roll, soap, headache pills and ketchup, I’ve feared double vision. Two – or more – lots of everything. It’s great though, she never runs out of anything and there’s always a spare plus just the thing for any eventuality.
Are there other signs? Well there’s the catering. Granny cooked. Her ingredients were local and good and fresh. I remember childhood days in her kitchen garden when she taught me the pleasures of plucking fruit and popping it lush into your mouth, of rubbing soil off a tender tuber with your thumb and crunching it. She showed me the gloriously tactile sensation of breaking the creamy fat of lambs’ kidneys and how soft it made your skin. I was too young to know if she enjoyed feeding people, but I do know she was good at it – her guests were always satisfied and happy.
Mum’s the same. Her kitchen is at its best full of smells of food and appetite. More hunger than meal would be a failing: a failing I don’t ever remember happening. I don’t really recall learning to cook, but I must have inhaled it there. So I also recognise that slight anxiety while I calculate how much to put in the pot, knowing there must be leftovers.
Then there’re reference books. Whatever the question or dilemma: Mum’s got just the very volume. She can generally lay her hand on just that poem, recipe or suggestion to cure the rash. When something new walks into our lives, of course, I’ll research, Google or whatever. The Panther will say: “You’ve looked it up, haven’t you? You’re Turning Into Your Mother.”
He said that too the other day at the park. For a moment no one was whining, Boys were playing nicely and he and I were holding hands. It was fleeting, but lovely. “Isn’t our family fantastic?” I said.
During gatherings when no one whines and there’s food and laughter, Mum will always pause and say: “It’s so lovely to see you all.” She’s right, of course, and now I know what she means.
So I’m on the lookout for new Signs. Granny liked to burn things she’d finished with – toothpaste tubes, undergarments. Only she put them on the hearth in the sitting room.
Mum’s not done this, but, recently, she told me about how her office clearout had led to a satisfying session of fire feeding at the bottom of the garden. I wonder where that garden brazier thing got to…
Super Sister and I occasionally point out that the other is Turning Into Mother. It’s not a bad thing – it ties we three together and there’s comfort in knowing what at least some of the future will bring.
But I must point out that as far as the doubling up thing is concerned – I’m doing trendy layering, not wearing two of the same thing.