But what happens if you lose your mum before you become one? What manual do you have then? There’s no instruction book on how to raise a child. And even children who are related will still be raised differently.
My mum made me who I am. Together with my dad, she shaped me. I have the attitude, personality, drive, determination and love because they gave it to me. That probably means that I have everything I need to be a mum. But it’s not enough.
On days like today, four years since she passed away, I miss my mum more than anything in the world. I miss the wisdom. I miss the answers. I miss the wit and the laugh and the hugs and the kisses. I miss the coffee dates and the aimless television dates.
About a month ago, I said something to one my mum’s very good friends. It was a random statement that I can’t even recall – obviously not something too important. She turned around and in her words, said to me, “gosh you sounded just like your mum when you said that”.
It makes me incredibly happy to know that I sound like her. Sometimes when I’m saying things I can actually hear her voice in my head saying it in exactly the same way. But it also makes me incredibly sad. What I wouldn’t give to hear her saying it instead.
It’s funny the things you miss. I never thought I’d miss her voice. Yet, every time I sing Baby Mine or You Are My Sunshine to my son, I can hear her singing off key in my ear. And I wish more than anything that my son could hear it too.
I never thought I’d miss her nagging. But yep, I miss that too.
There were times when I was growing up that I definitely did not appreciate the dozen or so phone calls that would come through during the day. If I could only go back in time and relish the conversations. I’d take 1000 calls from her every day if I could.
Probably what I miss most though is nights when after dinner, my dad would head to his study to get a couple more hours’ worth of work in and my mum would head to her bedroom to watch TV. I’d crawl into the big bed with her and we’d watch. While we’d watch, we’d chat. She would ask me how my day was and what was in the works for the following day. Occasionally she’d reach out for my hand, just because she could. Despite having another television in the house where I could watch whatever the hell I wanted (not her Sci-Fi crap), I’d still head to her room. Just so I could hang out. Eventually, my dad would come to bed and kick me out but those couple of hours, even though we weren’t doing anything exceptional, were the most special hours of my day.
Life doesn’t come with a manual. And sometimes, it doesn’t come with a mum. I’m raising my son without my mum. And it’s tough. Sometimes, even four years later, I find myself randomly starting to cry. Not for any particular reason, just because I want to ask her something. Or because I’m having a really tough day, and despite the fact that I have a multitude of people around me who support me and love me unconditionally, she’s the only one who I want.
My son walks up to pictures of my mum and very proudly proclaims ‘Nana’. He doesn’t know what Nana means just yet, and he doesn’t know or understand why she’s not here. But the fact that he knows who Nana is, that’s pretty special. I know he’ll grow up with her around him, purely because he has me for a mum. And I’ll make damn sure he hears all the stories – funny, happy and sad. I’ll make sure she’s part of his life. Because even without her here, she’s making her mark and I’m pretty sure she’ll continue to do so.