26&Counting: The One When You Start Thinking About What Your Mum Had Achieved At Your Age

The One When You Start Thinking About What Your Mum Had Achieved At Your Age


by Zoe Beaty |
Published on

This weekend I turn 27.

On Mothering Sunday, I will congratulate Mum on giving birth to me, and she will congratulate me on being born. Win, win.

Mum was 30 when I was born, and now I’m creeping up on that age I’ve started to compare our different paths in life more neurotically. She was married, a staff nurse, a home-owner, a committed magazine subscriber and formidable kitchen dancer. She was organised enough to organise me, another human being.

Meanwhile I (soberly) left my handbag in an art gallery last week, missed the last tube twice, forgot to pay my phone bill and had to wash the same lot of clothes four times as I left them sweating in the drum every morning. I don’t have a five year plan.

Though I’m almost the same age as mum was when I was born, I spend my time worrying about where I’m going in life and having wine-fuelled breakdowns over Cucumber, whilst at the same time in her life she was helping ill people - and me, later - stay alive.

Already she was the spirited, brilliant woman who worked two jobs to make ends meet when my dad left home, who helped me write stories when I couldn’t sleep and shouted ‘QUICK, MUM’S COMING!’ to trick me, before laughing uncontrollably, when we played sliding down the bannister at home.

I’m not even thinking about having kids for at least another five (ten?) years - three years into a relationship I'm still in denial and a committed commitment-phobe. Our very different generations, as with any parental relationship, mean that she's only just found the joy of emojis when I've been on Facebook for ten years.

She moved thirty miles away from her home, I moved two hundred, to Newcastle, then 300, to London. In short, our paths couldn't have been more different. I'm sure she forgot fewer things along the way, too.

But what I'm grateful for is that she gave zero f**** about which path I took, as long as I was happy. And had plenty to eat. And enough dishcloths.

I've repaid her for this brilliant gesture by leaving her Mother's Day gift on my desk. I'll tell her on Sunday, when our paths cross again - and, like every other child across the country, I'll say sorry, mum, for everything, and thank you, for everything else. Happy Mother's Day.

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