Mother’s Mayhem… or… The Dog And Door

32687056_241679086577506_5934327510832513024_nI may not have mentioned this, but my mother is quite… um… short. About 5’4” to be exact. My sons are both over 6 foot and I am a respectable 5’7”… (and ¾ but what’s in a quarter of an inch..hehehe… )

I sometimes tease her bout her lack of stature, although she can be quite fierce. Possibly a Lily, if she was a cat, deceptively small but also quite murderous. Today’s story took place while we were at the hospital, otherwise I would have been straight round to help, laugh a bit and probably even take some photos.

Mother’s day began well enough, and she thought she would do a little gardening, in the front garden. The dogs accompanied her – they do most places, the kitchen… the toilet… the bathroom… sometimes even in the bath to her annoyance. Erin sat like a lady, watching Mum as she weeded. Rocky watched for a little while, then decided that the life of Monty Don was not for him and legged it. He cleared the three foot high hedge like a steeplechaser and galloped off down the street.

What did my mother do? Well, what would any self-respecting 70 something lady do… she hurdled the hedge like a professional and galloped off down the road after Rocky, screaming:

Come back you little $%&*@!!”

Knee problems forgotten – indeed, fallen by the wayside – my mother retrieved the runaway Rocky and marched back up the road. All this time, Erin had been waiting patiently in the garden – “Have a good run did you, Mum? Perhaps we could go in now, I’d quite like a drink of water and a biscuit…”

However, because the back door was open, the connecting door between the hallway and the front room had slammed irrevocably shut. No amount of kicking, swearing, jumping up and down and gibbering in rage (my mother) or furious barking and scratching (the dogs) could open the door.

Mum decided that the best course of action would be to shut the dogs in her bedroom so they couldn’t run off, and go down the alleyway around the side of the next door house to gain access to her kitchen via the back door. My mother bravely battled six foot tall brambles, creeping underneath them where necessary – whilst only wearing a thin t-shirt and trousers – and finally made it to the kitchen.

She tried the connecting door from that side. She couldn’t shift it, but worked out that the force of the door slamming had snapped the barrel of the inside mechanism cleanly in two and jamming the door firmly shut. Having access to tools from the kitchen she thought she might have better luck back on the other side, so, quite quickly, as she could hear the dogs thundering about upstairs and didn’t know what they were doing, she seized a hammer and a screwdriver and ran back outside to fight her way back through the thicket of thorns like some feminist Princess Charming bent on rescuing her incarcerated canines.

My mother burst out of the alleyway, leaves in her hair, scratches all up and down her arms, a wild look in her eyes brandishing the large hammer and screwdriver –

All right love?” said her neighbour from over the road, eyeing her somewhat dubiously.

No I’m $%^&* not!!”

Her neighbour is a lovely young man of about twenty five or so with a wife and two kids, but he at once summoned the help of his friend, a strapping bloke, and his well-equipped tool box. It took them over an hour to get it open. The dogs were delighted to be reunited with the rest of the house…

When I came round later that day after I’d been to the hospital, the dogs were sleeping peacefully in their beds and Mum was sitting innocently on the sofa. I noticed at once she had a bruise on her face from where her hands had slipped and smacked herself on the nose while trying to wrestle open the door.

The whole sorry tale came out – and her concluding words were:

But look! I made bread!”

Really. She never ceases to amaze me, one way or another. I did tell her to make sure she carries her phone at all times though… just in case she gets trapped in a teacup. Or something. No telling what next…

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Butter wouldn’t melt… 

Kindness

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I don’t do unkindness. Not now. Not anymore. There was too much of it in my earlier life and I reached a point where I felt ill with it… like eating too many greasy chips. I thought I would hate to make anyone else feel as I did and had a quick prod of the old emotions – as you do – to see what I could do to feel better.

Kindness. I am not speaking about dancing around scattering glitter and flowers, and letting people liberties with you. Just little things. Like the opening of a door for someone; a pleasant smile and a ‘thank you’ can make all the difference to a day and make you feel that it is all worthwhile.

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Un-kindness is unnecessary and very rarely justified. I saw something that made me so sad the other day as I was dusting in my son’s bedroom. I had the window open, and we overlook a park. A little boy, only about three, was walking with his mother who was on her phone and pushing a pushchair. He had some sweets, but dropped them and started to cry. Instead of comforting him, or saying:

Never mind, we’ll get you some more,” the woman cuffed him across the top of his head and shouted:

Now look what you’ve done, you little tw**! Well that’s it, you’re not getting any more!”

What was the point of that? How cruel and unkind a response to an unfortunate accident. The little boy wanted his sweets, he didn’t throw them away in temper, he wasn’t misbehaving. As I watched from the bedroom window, the mother seized the little boy and dragged him away, still sobbing miserably.

What did the child learn from that? That his earliest disappointments in life will come from his mother? Not a lesson I would ever want my sons to learn. That it’s all right to hit out in temper at someone who’s already upset? Or hey, life’s a bitch and inevitably something worse will happen when you’re already hurting?

Really, it wouldn’t have taken much just to comfort the little boy, or even say:

“Well, we can’t go back to the shop now, let’s go home and watch television and you can have some more sweets tomorrow.”

IMG_6447 (2).JPGA pink rose, traditionally associated with kindness, love and gentleness

The ‘un’ kindness of the whole incident struck me as sad and unnecessary. However, I’m not judging the mother, perhaps she had a bad day… but there is always room for kindness, and a grateful smile from her little boy could have been her reward if the whole scenario had played out differently.

So. As I said previously, there’s no need to be unrealistic about the kindness you bring to the world, just think about what you do. You’ll feel better in yourself and you will have a better response from the people you meet. And, here’s a thought, be kind to yourself too. Give yourself a break.

(Thank you to Iman Refaat of Perceptions for inspiring this post and making me think about kindness. She’s a lovely person, check out her blog for inspiration, positivity and encouragement.) 

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All featured crystals are examples of Rose Quartz, my favourite crystal. It is linked to the heart chakra and helps to promote love, compassion and empathy.

Moss Agate and Motherhood

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There’s some inexplicable comfort in knowing your Mum will do something, like ironing or cooking, for you. Just because she’s your Mum.”

These lovely words were left as part of a comment on one of my earlier posts, and they set me to thinking about the nature of motherhood. I, myself, am mother to two boys-nearly men at 16 and 21-and four feline daughters. Not quite sure what the budgie regards me as – housekeeper perhaps? In a way, my job is nearly done as far as my sons are concerned. I have raised them as best I know how to be decent human beings, fit to be inhabitants of this world in the 21st century. They are both capable nearly-men and yet I know they will remain bound to me by the ties of mother-love, not just the dutiful ‘phone call or email, but by the memories of things past…

Teaching them how to tie their shoelaces and getting frustrated because I couldn’t do it…Laughing uncontrollably as my older son fell in a puddle when he was about 2, and it turned out to be deeper than he thought; marvelling at my younger son’s manipulation of the English language to make it express what he wanted, “cutting nose” for “beak” – isn’t that great?! My mother sneered as I carefully sliced my older son’s tomato and cut my younger’s into quarters the way they prefer – yet she made sure I didn’t have too many chips and that the peas didn’t touch the tomato sauce.

Motherhood is a continuous process of give and take. I delight in learning something I didn’t know from my children and I appreciate it when they pass me things from shelves I can’t reach; the same way my older son appreciates my re-stocking of his toiletries, unasked, or my younger, the carefully prepared vegetarian packed lunch he takes to college every day.

Likewise with animals. The love between an animal and its owner is like that between a parent and child. My cats are my little girls and as such I make sure they have everything they need since they depend on me and I am responsible for every aspect of their well-being. This obviously ranges from fresh food and water to trips to the vet for boosters and worming tablets. In return, my cats love me. At least I think they do…

I draw love and comfort from them and reassurance. Yet they are all individuals, requiring different aspects of love from me. When Charlie is scared, it’s me she wants, not Daddy. When she’s tired, it’s my knee she wants to sit on so she can knead my jumper, purring herself a lullaby. They’re all Mummy’s girls really.

Moss 6Charlie having Mummy cuddles

Trying to go out shopping is difficult as I am generally accompanied by two or three cats running along beside me:

Hey wait! We can help! We checked price comparison websites for you!”

So I have to go back, make sure they understand cats really can’t go shopping and as I round the corner of the road I can hear Ting’s siren wails:

Naaaoooohhh! Don’t goooooo! Pleeeaase!”

Moss 7Ting doing a spot of creative gardening…

I ring my partner when I get off the bus to come home and generally two or three of the girls will come running to meet me:

You’re back! I thought you were never coming home!”

One day, all four came running to meet me and a little boy riding past on his scooter said wonderingly:

Look at all those cats!”

Another time, I counted three black cats, a Siamese and a tabby running towards me…an extra stray black cat caught up in the joy of the moment!

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Moss 5Just the two black cats, Lily and Tooty…

As I write, I have Moss Agate in my pocket: not unsurprisingly, this stone is strongly connected to Mother Nature, and is said to be useful to midwives, decreasing pain and ensuring a good delivery. A typical interpretation of this stone is that it can refresh the soul and help you see the beauty in everything, reducing sensitivity to the weather and environmental pollutants. It is another stone of abundance and can help people access and channel intuitive energy. Moss Agate can help with self esteem issues and strengthen beneficial personality traits. It’s a happy stone promoting new beginnings and as such is useful for those who work both in agriculture and midwifery, linking back to Mother Nature and her endless cycle of death and rebirth.

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I have two pieces, a pale greenish grey one with patches of white. When my son gave me this piece, the Bering Sea entered my mind, the cold grey waves topped with crests of white, another example of Nature’s inexorability. My other piece is greener, with threads of white and dark green running through it like vines. Amazon rainforest, lungs of the Earth. I generally use these pieces as I write as Moss Agate is a creative stone, promoting self-expression and communication, another little conduit to Mother Nature and the Earth.

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I draw inspiration from my cats, another reward of being their mother. My younger son, when he was little, once referred to me as “she” without explaining who he meant. The person to whom he was speaking delivered this statement, meant as a rebuke:

She? She’s the cat’s mother!”

To which I proudly replied:

Yes. Yes I am…”