Hiding behind the curtain I could hardly contain my excitement. I slipped the metal buckle over the metal button, pulled it up tight and looked in the mirror. Denim overalls. My first pair. Mum had taken me to the Levi’s store after work, what a treat! I stroked my finger over the pocket tracing the outline of the grasshopper that sat proudly on the front of my new overalls. I loved them! I was worried that they were too much, so I set my excitement aside and pulled back the curtain.
Mum knelt down and made a few adjustments to the buckle. She smelled like a perm. Mum always smelled like a perm because she was a hairdresser. Mum put her hands on my shoulders and smiled. Mum seemed to be happy that she could buy the overalls with the money she earned doing people’s hair. Mum could tell I liked the grasshopper and we started to plan how I could tuck the legs into my brown boots and wear my red T Shirt underneath.
Mum stood up and unclipped the little bulbs that pressed against each other to hold her purse together and gave her bankcard to the lady at the counter. We were getting the grasshopper overalls!
I quickly changed back into my old jeans that were getting too small and smiled at how much Mum loved to buy nice things for me. I knew she worked hard and that we didn’t have much money.
Mum, my provider
My brother Martin says it’s called a joystick. Seems like a good name. Mum dragged the cane lounge chair across the slate tiles so it was close to the television and the joystick could be plugged in. Mum sits with her knees up and her feet on the edge of the chair, her toes keep curling under, biting the foam of the chair as she wiggles the joy stick. Mum can’t believe her eyes. When she moves the joy stick the bug on the screen moves around a maze. Mum thinks this is almost unbelievable. How does this stick make something on the screen move? Mum laughs and squeals as the bug in the maze is chased by a second bug. Mum’s laughs make everyone laugh. Mum is good at laughing and doesn’t seem to mind when we are laughing at or with her. Mum fills my days with laughing. I love Mum.
My brother decided he could make Mum really laugh. He spent some time reading his computer manual and then wrote something on the screen I couldn’t understand, then he called Mum and got her to sit on her cane chair in front of the television, my brother's computer plugged in and at the ready.
The screen said
“What’s your name”
Mum typed in “Janet”
As soon as Mum pressed ENTER the computer screen displayed…
Mum dropped the joystick and started to cry! I thought this was weird because we wanted her to laugh, but then Mum started squealing and waving her hands in the air! Mum said “How does it know my name?”
Dad started to laugh and hug Mum’s head. Dad loves the way Mum feels things out loud.
Because Mum is good at laughing my brother and I like to spend time thinking of ways to make Mum laugh, like sticking Mintie wrappers in the back of Mum’s hair when we go for a drive in the car and letting her walk through the shops, or pretending to be a mozzie from the other room so she goes looking for fly spray, or calling on the phone and hanging up just before she picks up.
Mum taught me how to laugh, and when I get a nervous tummy or feel sad I remember to laugh, thanks to Mum.
Mum, My joy
I scraped my brown school shoes along the path and slung my bag up onto my shoulder, careful to only use one strap, because using both straps of your school bag is really not ok. I pulled my plastic bus pass out of my summer uniform pocket and stared down at Michael Jackson. Michael would never carry a bag with both straps, he only wore one glove! I tapped my finger on Michael's face and waited for the bus. It is also not ok to speak to other people at the bus stop, but for some reason some of my fellow travellers were whispering and murmuring with muffled voices. I heard one of them say.. “Look at the Woman over there…. She has PURPLE hair!”
What? Surely not. I turned my gaze to try and catch a glimpse of this woman who had created such a stir, and found she was walking towards me.
“Hi Honey, I thought you would like a lift today”
The kids at the bus stop stood and stared, incredulous.
I turned towards Mum who was looking at me mischievously. I silently put my bus pass back in my pocket and walked with Mum as her purple crowning glory worked its way through the crowd. After a few paces I felt the corner of my mouth creep up into my flushed cheeks as admiration and appreciation for Mum’s zest filled the air. Mum lives life loud, Mum’s flame burns bright.
Mum helps me to burn bright too.
Mum, My light
I don’t like it when Mum cries. Mum is generous and fun and happy but somewhere deep inside Mum she has a sore. Like maybe one time she was pierced with a sword that left a hole. Mum is good at helping me when I have a sore, but for some reason her sore has become part of Mum. Mum has some sores from her Mum. Sores that are hard. Sores that are unfair, and unjust. Sores that live forever. But Mum gave her sores to God and he helps her when her sores hurt.
Mum is good at making a home, not just because she makes yummy dinners (except for that mushroom soup!) and always has a clean house, but because I always feel safe with Mum. Mum loves me. Mum didn’t give me any sores like her Mum, in fact, she gave me a big, full, confident heart.
I Love Mum
Mum, My heart
Today my Mum turns 70. What a glorious ride we have had together so far!
Mum, thank you for being my provider, my joy, my light and my heart. I love you. - Bec