6 Senses of my Mum

person holding white ceramic teapot on white wooden surface

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Taste

There are a thousand tastes, so many years and meals and memories. But if I had to settle on one, I would have to say croissants.  Buttery and flakey and straight out of the oven.  The pastry made the night before, then up at 6am to form it into it’s perfect little crescents, ready to rise then finish baking just before we arrive for morning tea.

“Who makes their own croissants?” My husband asks.  “My Mother.” I answer with a grin.  Mum who plans and kneads and crisps her love into every meal she offers.

Smell

Lady Grey tea.  Not that she drinks it, she prefers the smokiness of Russian Caravan.  It is me who loves the bergamot with a hint of citrus.  But I associate it with her, because whether it is home or on a family holiday, she never forgets to make some for me.

One day she arrived just as I hit my peak state of panic, overwhelmed with one hundred jobs and no clue where was the logical place to start.

“I’ll make you a cuppa.”

“I don’t have time.”

“Sit down.  Have a cup of tea.  It will help.  Trust me.”

And I do.  So we sit, two steaming cups between us, and as we talk the mountain becomes a hill and the impossible is possible once again.

Touch

This is the hardest one to narrow down, but I think it is the brush of a warm scarf around my neck.  Mum aways carries a folded scarf in her bag just in case, and I’ve lost count of the times that she has pulled it out when I have once again mis-diagnosed the Melbourne weather.  Nice to go out in the cold with someone who is always prepared, when your mind is permanently positioned in another realm.

When I was in hospital, ill and trapped and wondering when my tiny twins would enter the world, Mum would visit.  She brought along a half knitted scarf, and as we sat and talked she would work her way along another row.  Now it sits on my shoulders on the coldest days of the year, a happy memory from one of the hardest times of my life.

Hearing

Music.  No one song.  Hundreds of songs.  Ones that played on the CD player while we cleaned the kitchen in-between our dance steps.  Breaking into song half way through a sentence when we recognise a line from a song.  Even my son’s singing, because he is like his beloved Grandma, a sponge absorbing every tune he hears.

Sight

Red.  Bright, exuberant red.  For both of us.  Not just because it suits our identical colouring, but because it is us.  Enthusiastic, optimistic and occasionally a bit too loud.  Like Mother like daughter.

 

But there is a sixth sense.  Not telepathy.  A feeling.  An emotion.  A sense that comes when I see her smile or when I hear her voice on a phone.

Peace.

 

Where you are

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Reflections on a Day at “the Prom”

He is up on his toes, his eyes looking forward at the waves ahead.  His stripy undies sag with the weight of wet sand and water.  “There is another one.  Let’s jump!”  So we do.  My legging are drapped over my shoulders and I’ve stopped worrying about the waves lapping against the hem of my dress.

I’ve stopped worrying about most things.

It didn’t occur to me that the water would be this warm, or that he would want to be in it.  But here we are.  There is no wind, so it doesn’t matter that we are half in and half out.  The sun sits low over the rocks and sends it’s perfect yellow light over the two Oberons.

He is happy and brave.  When the wave knocks him to his seat he stands up and calls out “never-mind”.  As if he is a wave-jumping veteran and not the same boy who barely touched the retracting waves over Summer.

He is getting tired, now he wants to jump up into my arms.  Normally I would say “No, Mummies back will get sore.”  But today I want to hold him as much as he wants to be held.

That night the three guitars come out.  The first few choices are obvious.  “The Boxer”. “Fire and Rain”. I look around the room.  You can spot those with Clarke blood.  Those who married-in might nod and smile and hum the eighties tunes.  But those of us raised by a Clarke brother can’t help singing along.  Seventies and Eighties folk was our childhood bread and butter.

We do Annie’s song.  The words are so simple, and yet always make me a little teary.  Particularly here, where nature is just on the other side of the cabin door.  You fill up my senses, like a late-night wombat hunt.  Like Squeaky beach in autumn.  Like the view from Telegraph Saddle.

We end with Paul Kelly’s “How to make Gravy”.  We can’t go on after that, we are all in tears, thinking about that poor imaginary man stuck in jail as his family celebrates Christmas.

So much of life is looking forward or back.  Waiting until we get to go to this place or experience that adventure.  Voyerising those who are currently where we want to be, or who are doing the things that we long to do.

But not always.  Not this weekend.

Because sometimes where you want to be is exactly where you are.