Look closely at my writing and you will always find a wild, outspoken woman who takes no shit and makes mincemeat of every waiter and shop assistant she meets. Mum is the crochety, mean old woman in my novel Philip the Dog and the horrendous dominating mother on the phone in Hands-Free. But I don't write about Mum fairly really - she wasn't just an old bat! She was a loving and good woman, who would have done anything for her daughters, her son-in-law and her grandchildren whom she loved deeply.
Mum passed away nearly four years ago and I think of her everyday, but Mother's Day is especially difficult. I want to buy her lunch at Golders Hill Park, to give her a gaudy bunch of flowers and to take her a box of Quality Street and let her eat all the purple ones. And I can't do any of that. But I thought I could write this blog about how much she means to me, and include in it one of my favourite Mum moments which took place in Kew Gardens...
I'd taken her there with my kids and we'd got her wheelchair so we could bomb about with her. We were sitting in the sunshine at one point, snacking on our packed lunch, and my son who was about eight at the time was playing with the wrinkles on Mum's arm (one of his favourite pastimes at that point). And then he stopped playing, looked up at Mum and said, ''You are old Nana, and you will die soon.'
I sat there holding my breath, thinking Mum was about to have a real go at her unsuspecting grandson, but her reply blew me away. 'Yes darling, that's right,' she said brightly. And with that she took another bite of her egg sarnie and asked if there were any smoked salmon ones left. There was no telling off, no insult taken, no awkwardness at all. And I realise that whether or not this brutal comment hurt her feelings, she would never have hurt her grandson's feelings by making him think he had done anything wrong. And through her response, she set both myself and her grandchildren a fine example of love, and a fine attitude to life. It's an example I will try to follow as best I can.
Happy Mother's Day Mum. Love you always.
From your Carol the Barrel (yep, that was the nickname of that fat baby pictured above, with her beautiful and inspirational mother, Anita, right by her side).