Thursday, 8 November 2012

My mum used to...

Isn't it funny the things we remember from our childhoods? I remember mum making bread, pizza dough and pastry without any scales. I remember her hands smelling of wet rubber from her washing-up gloves.

She'd be in the kitchen at 6am making our egg and basturma (air-dried cured beef) sandwiches before she waved us off at 6.30am onto the hour-long school bus ride across Cairo. I remember rich spinach flans, crisp potatoes in the pan and waffles filled with icing sugar.

I remember her knee getting infected from washing the parquet floors on all fours. I loved how she let us watch Knots Landing late in the evening with her, looking out all the time for Dad to come home so we'd have enough time to run back to our bedrooms and feign sleep. Mum was always on our side.

This afternoon as Kian helped me shred newspaper in the garden, I wondered what things the boys will say about me. Will they remember that I called them little pickles and little saucepots... When they're older and talking to friends, will they say Mum was always buying bags of crap from the side of the road and you should have seen how ridiculous she was whenever she saw a cockroach... and the way she chased flies around the house with that green swat (didn't we call it a splat?). 

Or will they look back fondly and say Mum let us stir and chop in the kitchen, and she always gave us the cake spoon to lick. She said 'goodness gracious me' an awful lot and sometimes she'd yell 'ssshhhhhhh' and say 'sugar'. 

There are images I hope will always stay with them. Images of stories read over and over and songs sung over and over at bedtime. Our sushi and a show ritual and squares of dark chocolate in the top cupboard.

Except maybe what will stick is this one thought: Mummy always had better things to do than clean.

What will yours say about you? What are your lovely childhood snippets? 


  1. I always remember my Mum's ritual of putting her makeup on. I used to watch her, marvelling at all of the beautiful colours in the little pots. The other day I saw my 17 month old daughter pick up one of my makeup brushes and swirl it over her face, so I guess history is repeating itself!

  2. ugh. i just finished a bathroom cleaning session. "mum was always on our side" was mine, and that's pretty much all i hope to be. such a beautiful collection of words vanessa! :)sarah

  3. I agree...if my girls just remember that I was on their side I will be so happy - but I suspect it will be something to do with sliced carrot!

  4. Ah, sweet, I hope mine remember me running around saying: 'Hells bells and buckets of blood.' When I do it makes me laugh as I remember my mum saying that. I remember my mum gardening so much and feeding us well from the garden... starting here now too.

  5. You are a real credit to your Mum, Vanessa! Have you made the boys her scrummy rhubarb preserve? I have fond memories of that! x

  6. This is such a beautiful post, Vanessa.
    I think my boys will remember: "Mum always made us pack away our toys..."
    Ronnie xoxo


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