When I was a little girl, my parents were gods. They could do everything, they knew everything, they made everything better, they could fix just about everything, and they also had the ability to upset me more than anyone else in the world - being sent to my room, being smacked (because it was the 80s and it was okay to smack back then. Hec, it was even okay for other parents to smack other people's kids if they were being rotten!), being told no, being made to eat all my veggies.
Then when I was a teenager, there was nobody more dorky than my parents. My dad didn't help himself through this period because he wore safari suits to work every day. I kid you not! I squirmed when I was trapped in the car with my mum because she'd take the opportunity of my inability to escape to talk to me about the birds and the bees, and periods and boobs, boys and bras and all things that this 12-year-old hated talking to her mother about! That was what Dolly magazine and best friends were for! Many-a-time I hoped the car seat would open up and swallow me to make the awkwardness end! My parents didn't understand me, they had no idea what I was going through and I just wanted them to stop talking to me!
Then, in my early 20s, I started to appreciate my parents - my mum, especially. I started to realise just how hard my mum worked raising me, my two sisters and brother. I remembered with new appreciation of the times mum stayed up late baking patty cakes for some random school event the next day. Or how hard it must have been for her to get out of bed every morning, probably exhausted and wishing for two hours more sleep, to come and wake us up, always smiling and happy to see us. The regular phone calls, endless love and hugs. And she did it just about single-handedly while my dad worked every second he could. In my 20s, and coming into my later 20s, I realised how blessed I was to have my mum as my mum.
Now, as a mum of my own, I'm seeing my mum in another new light. She's human. She made mistakes because she was making motherhood up as she went along, as we all do! As I am now. She lost her temper; she put her foot in it and said things she probably instantly regretted; she got upset; she got frustrated; she didn't have all the answers. But she absolutely did the best she could. She's amazing! I love spending time with my mum, unlike my teenage self. I love talking to her and just "hanging out" together. I know my time is precious with her.
And I also realise that my daughter probably won't realise these things about me until she's a mum herself. She'll think I'm wonderful and amazing while she's little. As a teenager she'll probably go through a phase of not wanting me to meet her at the school gate and wait for her at a respectable distance. I'll be dorky and totally unfashionable in her eyes. Then she'll probably mellow out and like me again in her early 20s and get to know me a bit better. But when she's a mum, I hope she will realise, as I did about my mum, that I'm human, I love her more than my own life, and that I'm doing the very best I can, every day - even when I get frustrated, am over-tired, put my foot in it, get angry or frustrated. Because I'm only human.