I have a confession to make – I never truly appreciated my mother. I have a distinct memory of her scolding me after I mouthed off about something during the dreaded teenage years. “One day, you will understand,” she said. “One day, possibly after I die, you’ll appreciate me and all the things I’ve done for you.” At the time, I rolled my eyes and walked away, convinced that whatever I mouthed off about was warranted.
But her words have haunted me ever since. And it wasn’t until my first sleepless night with a sick infant that I started to see my mother as a person, someone who gave up everything to feed me, nurture me and take me to endless hours of skating lessons. She, too, must have sat up all night with me while I coughed incessantly and rubbed my back as I vomited. Wasn’t that her who helped me edit my essays until one in the morning the night before they were due? And didn’t she save the day by calling the prostitute speaker for my OAC law project (worth 100% of my mark) and convincing her that even though her cat died, she should still come in to give the talk?
How did I let all of this go unnoticed at the time, focusing only on what I thought of as the negatives? How did it take me having two children and giving up my own career to finally see my mother for who she is, and to finally realize just how much she gave up for my siblings and I?
Now, every time my kids roll their eyes at my dance moves, turn their noses up at my home-cooked meals or scream about the unfairness of my rules, I think of my mother and hope that the grief I gave her wasn’t too horrible. And I pray, rather selfishly, that the grief my kids will continue to give me will be as minimal and harmless as it is today.
Luckily, Marley and Pierce are young enough to cuddle and tell me they love me without inhibition. So I’m going to enjoy every second of these moments while I can. And after they’ve been tucked in cosily to their beds, I’ll call my own mom and thank her for putting up with me.
A talk about age with Meema
Pierce: Meema, you’re 100,000 years old.
Meema: I’m older than dirt. What do you think is a good age to be?
Pierce: I want to be 100,000.
Marley: I want to be 15.
In line at Santa’s Grotto in Harrods
Jack Frost [to Marley and her friend Michael who are hugging]: When’s the wedding?
Marley: There isn’t going to be a wedding. I want to marry him but he doesn’t want to marry me.
A discussion about Santa’s powers
Mom: Pierce, you should ask Mrs. O’Neil what she wants for Christmas so you can tell Santa for her when we meet him tonight.
Pierce: What do you want for Christmas Mrs. O’Neil?
Mrs. O’Neil: I wish for all the children in the world to be happy and healthy.
Pierce [in a very serious tone]: I don’t think Santa can do that. He only brings toys and jewellery.
Pierce on marriage
Mom: Pierce, who are you going to marry now?
Mom: I thought you were going to marry Tatum or Skye.
Pierce: It’s tough to decide.
Marley: Well, you know what Pierce, when you are
Pierce: In year one?
Marley: No. When you are
Pierce: In year two?
Marley: No. In university, you will find your girlfriend or boyfriend there.
Pierce: Girlfriend, not boyfriend.
Marley: Mom, whatever university Cosimo [a boy Marley isn’t fond of] goes to, don’t send me there.
Pierce on marriage – one week later
Mom: Pierce, don’t chew with your mouth open. It’s rude.
Pierce: Rose eats with her mouth open all the time.
Marley: That means she has bad manners. Why do you want to marry someone who has bad manners?
Pierce: I’m not going to marry Rose, now I’m stuck on Tatum.
Marley: What does that mean?
Pierce: That means I’m going to marry Tatum. I’m stuck with her. I’m stuck on her.
Marley: Well, how are you going to marry her?
Pierce: I’m going to say “Tatum, want to marry me? I’m the best boy in the universe.”
Pierce: Mom, a boy at school keeps hurting me.
Mom: Who’s hurting you?
Pierce: A big fat guy, not Zac.
Marley: Pierce told me it was a big fat guy who could run very fast.
Pierce: No. I’m the one who can run very fast.
Marley: Thanks for the dress mom, I love it.
Pierce: Why do I never ever get dresses?
Marley: Because you’re a boy.
Pierce: I knew that. I actually knew that.
Star of the day
Pierce: Why don’t I ever get star of the day?
Marley: I know, be really nice for the whole entire day and then you’ll get lots of little stars and a big star. Don’t share the big one though, okay?
Pierce: Why not?
Marley: Just because.
Pierce: What if I be nice for all of the whole day and all of the whole school and Miss Watson still doesn’t give me star of the day?
Marley: Then the whole school will give you stars. I promise.