Monday, November 15, 2010


I wonder what it's like to have children.

One of the sweetest things my Mum has ever said to me happened when I felt a pang of guilt for the fact me and my brother have failed (and will continue to fail for years to come, probably) to bestow any grandchildren upon her. She had just returned home from a neighbour's house that positively groans with the patter of many tiny feet spawned from all three of their kids.

Perhaps spawned is not the right word. Sprung forth from their loins? Whatever, it either sounds needlessly grotesque or absurdly acrobatic in those terms.

My Mum defended her own babies valiantly, in the only real way that counts, by slagging off the breeders.

"Well, you two aren't boring like they are.'

I have never loved you more, Mum. And no one will ever love me more than you do, which is the crux of the desperation most children have in light of their parents' affection. Love for us will never come easier to anyone than our mothers, which is why there is such ambivalence connected to their approval; is so yearned for and at the same time dismissed as something we don't need because we are each our own person. We don't want it to mean as much to us as it does. There's too much at risk. Your mother wants to love you. Even if she can't, even if she fails, she wants to be able to.

So if someone who is predisposed to think well of you doesn't, it is so much worse than what anyone else thinks.

This is why your mother will always be able to make you cry. No matter how old you get.

My mother has not made me cry in a long, long time, but I am thinking about this because it occurs to me how strange it must be, and how difficult, to have a child that grows up and turns into someone you don't recognise.

I have my mother's face. Since I was tiny we have probably been stopped in the street about 300 times to be told how much we look alike. There isn't anyone that knows us both who hasn't commented on our similarity.

But that's mostly where the similarity ends. (Aside from sharing mannerisms and a knack for making each other laugh.) How weird it must be, to grow someone up with a face just like yours, and then hear them say things and feel things that you would never say or feel. It is like I am a reflection of my mother and yet it's a lie, I don't reflect her at all.

I hope it's exciting and she likes it. Because that's all I've got to give. At least until I spawn another one of us.

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