Mother’s Day is stealthily approaching us and for the Kiwi living in London it poses a dilemma. If you are any kind of antipodean living in the UK you miss your mother. It’s a given. When UK Mother’s Day approaches, you find yourself surrounded by advertising, hoopla and eventually frivolity while other families frolic around you with their roasts and their love and their sickening happy faces. Many a time I have been driven to include myself in a British family’s Mother’s Day celebrations, such is my FOMO, but it’s not quite the same. It’s the kind of day where you end up realising how far away your family actually is. What’s more, there’s actually no outlet for our expat sadness. New Zealand Mother’s Day isn’t until May, so it would be weird for her if I tried to celebrate Mother’s Day with her now and by the time Kiwi Mother’s Day arrives there isn’t any advertising or hoopla in the UK, so I forget about it like the brat child I am.
Ergo, I decided to write a list and get some of my expat frustration out. So, here are my top ten things I miss about my mother and am thankful for (and in turn, probably the top ten things that I didn’t realise I love so much about her until I left). Hopefully she’ll read this and it’ll make up for many years of brattiness. It may even help to convince her to shift her backside back over here for a holiday!
Otherwise, unless someone actually gets around to inventing the hug-able hologram, this will have to do.
1. She’s honest
She’s always honest. If you want someone to tell you lies (maybe you’re a member of Fleetwood Mac) Diane Andrews is not the lady you want to visit. One time I sent her what I thought was a nice photo of my husband and myself at the theatre. She replied with, “why is your tooth yellow? Go to the dentist.” Probably good advice.
2. Her fashion sense
I always loved to go shopping with her in New Zealand, but in England I tend to just buy stuff online. It’s less hassle. When I wasn’t shopping with her I was stealing all her old clothes, her jewellery and what not. I even managed to stealthily move a good portion of her excellent stuff to the other side of the world, leading to phone conversations like, “why are you wearing my waist coat in that photo?!” She still sends me half the clothes I wear, and they’re usually the ones I get complimented on.
3. Her cynicism
You thought I was the Queen of the Cynics? Well, let me explain to you where I got that adorable little trait. Do you remember when you started your blog and when things started going well a PR or someone invited you to an event? You got to eat for free! You were so excited. I know I was. I rang my mother and told her. She didn’t really understand the blogging concept, so I had to explain it.
“I get to eat for free, but I’m expected to write about it on my blog”
“So you’re like a food reviewer”
“Yes, I’m a food reviewer”
“But what happens when they find out you’re not?”
Gee, I don’t know mum. I guess I hot foot it to Brazil with a trail of angry restauranteurs behind me. If you’re reading this and you’ve given me free food before, I’m sorry. My mum thinks you could have chosen better. She’s very much of the “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” brigade!
4. Her criticism techniques
It’s hard as a parent to criticise a teenager. So my mother figured out an excellent criticism technique that she still uses to this day. She realised that the stuff that drove her mental about me was probably also driving my boyfriend mental too. So she gangs up with my significant other and they ambush me. This has happened for years. It’s some kind of power in numbers criticism field day for them. You tend to listen when all the people you love the most stage a ‘prat intervention’. As a result, I’m only half as annoying as I used to be.
5. She’s incredibly nice
The last few points probably haven’t showcased this character trait very well, so number 5 is all about how kind she is. My mother is a lovely person. She’ll do things for people and not expect stuff in return. A lot of people think they do nice things for people, but they always expect stuff in return. Just think about it. She’ll use her lunch hours picking up little old ladies she vaguely knows and dropping them off at rest homes to visit their husbands. She’ll make sure the cat is fed even though the cat hates her for no good reason. She’ll look after your noisy kid in order to give you the afternoon off. She’ll make you cake or dinner or sandwiches and keep hounding you until she’s decided you’re sufficiently full.
6. Care packages
I’m almost 30, but my mother sends me New Zealand chocolate, noodles and weird little things she finds in shops that she thinks I’ll like. She sends my husband New Zealand sweets that she knows he likes. She does this at immense cost to herself, just so we can feel at home away from home.
7. She can cook on demand
When I was a teenager and fell in love with Thai food, my mother responded by learning how to cook Thai food. She experimented with Green Curry, Red Curry, and then expanded further into Asia by cooking Laksa, Teriyaki chicken and a variety of Indian curries. When I subsequently fell in love with Mexican she began making delicious nachos, enchiladas, margaritas and burritos. No one taught her how, she figured it out by herself. She just did it without word of complaint and I didn’t realise for years and years and years that not everyone has a mother that acts like a personal chef.
8. She’s a meringue wizard
My mother makes the best meringues in the entire world. No exaggeration. Better than any professional chef’s meringues I’ve ever sampled. I have a line up of people ready to back me up on this. They’ll take oaths, sign on the line, whatever you need them to do. I’ve seen little old ladies lose all sense of decency when it comes to claiming their share of Mum’s meringues. I’ve seen diabetics abandon their strict diets at the sight of at stack. I’ve seen my own mother emerge from tea parties meringue-less because everyone else just scoffed them all before she had finished pouring the tea. No one knows how she does it, we just hope she never stops.
9. Her chocoholism
This one really hits home now that I live with someone in a perpetual state of chocolate apathy. She’s so mad for chocolate that she brings a stash of snacks to bed with her every night. I though midnight snacks happened only in movies. Nope, they happen in my mother’s bedroom. Every year we’d celebrate the lead up to Easter with many communal Easter eggs. Meaning, we’d buy heaps of large, hollow eggs and every night we’d crack one in the living room and put it in a bowl for the family to scoff together. Then we’d have marshmallow eggs for dessert. Really missing those evenings right now!
10. She swears like a sailor while driving
If you met her, you’d think she was a nice, little old lady with greying hair and magical meringues. Spend enough time in the car with her and it gets hilarious. If you cut her off in traffic, be prepared to be called a “F**k A**”. Or a “Prick”. Or, if it’s a really serious infraction, a “F**k A** Prick”. (Censored, because my mother’s a lady, in spite of her road rage).
BONUS FACT: She’s obsessed with video games, and she’ll kick your butt at Super Mario World. See why I miss her so much? She’s so much fun!
This whole blog explains a few things about me, doesn’t it?
Thank you for everything Mum, I love you and miss you.