the title Mother

May 12, 2019

It’s Saturday morning, the day before Mother’s Day, and the conversation title in my mind is:


I’m getting into the car to start the day at about midnight hoping to remember (although I am sure to be reminded) that Dad is on the farm, Mom is alone at home, work will need a lot of focus, the sisters are waiting for arrangement updates, husband needs an answer on the where we will be having breakfast, son’s rugby bus leaves at 07h00, daughter must prepare for something, anything, but at least be half-way ready for the matric exam finals, the Mother-of-all-Mothers-and-Nations-and-Things-that-needs-nurturing-and-adoption/Ouma-of-all-the-rest/Greatest-Grandmother-of-all-the-grandmothers - must be celebrated, and, no-one over 70 yearsof age in our family should be driving their own cars anymore...


Me calling out the door: “Sweetheart, make sure you guys are sorted with your homework on Mother’s Day, Oupa is on the farm, and Ouma will be around, check in
with her, so that you and your brother drive her around pls” (me to myself: for years she drove you around, now it’s your turn, hope she copes with your music!)
Daughter: “I can’t believe I’m 18 years and you still get to tell me what to do!”
Me: “This is The Mother speaking darling... if you were 81 She would still be telling you what to do, and how to do it!” (me to myself: of course that would make me 108 by then...)
Friend on phone as I'm getting into car: “Are you open tomorrow, and are you celebrating Mother’s Day?”
Me: “Will be waiting up for the rugby bus from Hilton on Saturday evening... celebrating with bags and sags my friend! Bags and sags...” (me to myself: the bags and sags badges of honour, well earned and deserved from child bearing and child rearing...)
Sister on phone on the way to the bus: “Wat is die planne vir Moedersdag? Doen ons iets vir ma?”
Me: “Net eers die kids uitsort, by Danie hoor wat sy reëlings is, by die werk klaarmaak... laat my weet van laatoggend dan val ek in”
(me to myself: remember next year, to go away quietly and far to celebrate being a mother, end of February is always a good time!)
Son at school: “Mom, don’t phone, you always phone when I’m with my mates, that’s awkward!”
Me: “Son, The Mother wouldn’t have to phone if you checked in with her, for her to hear that you survived a bus trip and a rugby match! - just let me know that you are alive after the match, and that you got on the bus and you weren’t forgotten!”
(me to myself: and if you didn't use up all your data I can track you on the app, then I
wouldn't have to phone like some stalker!)
My Father on the phone from the farm: “Onthou dis moedersdag môre, ek is op die plaas, maak seker mamma ry nie alleen rond” “en kry vir haar pienk rose, en ietsie mooi”
Me: “Daddy ek dink nie een van julle behoort meer karre te besit! Sal die kinders vra om Ouma rond te ry”
(me to myself: wonder how he got to the Free State - hope he didn't drive, must go and hide all the car keys in the house...)
Daddy: “O ja, en ek het ’n katjie opgetel, mamma sal die ou dingetjie grootmaak - sy was klaar by die veearts, ons noem die kat Sophia
(me to myself: hope its a girl cat..., not sure if it should’ve been named after one of the great grandmothers...)
Me arriving at work meeting mother at the door: “Hi Ma, wil jy vroeg Sondag oorstap vir “scones” “eggs florentine” en “tomato tart”? Jy kan seker Champagne by al you “favourites" ook kry!” (me to myself: quick walk across the estate, kids can drive her back... perhaps hide all the keys!)
My Mother: “Hi Michelle, dit klink lekker! Dan sal ek daarna Johannesburg toe ry om by Shani en Michael te gaan eet. Pa is op die plaas, Johnny ry hom rond, ek dink nie hy moet self meer bestuur nie...” (me to myself: sigh!)
Me: “Ok, ek hoor by die Jo-burgers of hulle nie eerder wil deurkom hiernatoe”
(me to myself: rendezvous with all the sisters, text Dad on the farm...check that cat is
alive...can’t we just lock up everyone in a cage and let them out on some organized
Another sister on Whatsapp: “Wat doen ons vir Moedersdag? Johnny op die plaas, dis net ek en die kinders...



And so the day builds up...


there is the increasing awareness that my mother has physically aged somewhat, and that we must both be getting on in years if my children that she helped raise are now just about adults... these days even I feel the physical toll it has taken on being a mother (of course I forget here and there, until I’m reminded by the teenagers how old the music is I listen too...) but time does not stand still - it seems to just define our titles as the years go by... it’s a blessing you know... the crazy hectic build-up to claim a day of significance, and to share a day of significance, it’s a certain liberation that we hold with ourselves, and the generations before and after us... a title that no matter who you are, how you live, and how you were raised - you can apply to anything you care for... it comes with responsibility, and duty... it can be wearisome, and draining... yet - we continue to shape and influence and encourage and


we are all mothers, every single one of us, and we can all choose to be. It does define us, and we should embrace it proudly, and respect the significance about it in each other... rest assured, it is one of the few titles you can never lose, and it can never be taken away from you. You earn the title Mother, use it proudly
even with bags and sags...!








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