The children wandered down the street, past my open front door. Neighbours’ kids, walking home from school. Their happy chatter carried in to my lounge room. Then as they rounded the corner there was an excited shriek – ‘Mummy’s home!’ And off they ran to see Mummy. As I watched them go I couldn’t help but smile. And it got me thinking.
Mothers. What would we do without them? For the first few years of our lives they are the focus of our existence. We are fed, changed, carried, and loved by our mothers. As we grow, something changes. We still love them, but now we want to feed ourselves. We want to walk, to run, to explore. Our mothers still hold our hands as we learn and grow. At some point we discover that we don’t always agree with mother and we start to fight for our own identity. We start to make our own choices, to become more independent. Over the years sometimes we argue and wound our mothers, but somehow they are still always there. We feel smothered and get angry, we threaten to leave home. And one day, we do leave and enter the big wide world of adulthood all on our own. And then we discover that leaving home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Two months ago my husband and I packed up and moved about 10 hours away from my mother, 9 hours from his. The first week wasn’t so bad, mostly because my mum came to help us unpack. Then I dropped her off at the train station and sobbed. After I was done crying, I went home to an empty house. And it was only then that I realised that home without Mummy doesn’t feel like home at all. It actually feels rather lonely.
I can’t run to the house excited because Mummy is home anymore. (As a matter of fact, most of the time when I get home there is no one here!) I can’t ask her to get the stain out of this, to help me do that. I can’t ask her what is missing when the guacamole doesn’t taste quite right, or steal her recipe books on the sly. My cheer squad isn’t here when I play the piano or viola – I miss hearing her complaints when I stopped. (And sometimes when I started!)
I guess as time goes by I will get used to it and the ‘mummy-sickness’ will ease. But there will always be a spot in my heart that only Mummy can fill.