My wonderfully caring and clever Mum, Vasoulla, often visits us in Windsor. More often than I thought she would when we first moved down the M1 and far away, hours from Yorkshire, to be honest, and I’m so glad and grateful that she makes the treck here, because we miss her madly and it’s tough for us to be apart.
She’s just left after 4 days together enjoying the last of the holidays where we talked into the early hours, power-walked around Cliveden and laughed until we cried, together.
Packing her off to the train station earlier, I was struck by the fact life appears to have come full circle. Chastising her on the weight of her suitcase, she quipped that it’s me who fills it up and always weighs her down. I remember saying the exact same thing to her whenever I’d leave home for university after the holidays, laden with gifts and bags of pasta and pulses bulging from my bags.
Now it’s me who packs her case to bursting with lotions and potions brands have kindly sent me an excess of, books I’ve read or bought for her, I knew she’d love (I’ve never known anyone to read as much as my Mum who is a former English and Sociology Lecturer) as well as parcels for the family, and snacks for the train journey too. As long as Mum has a book and a bag of walnuts on her, she’s happy…
Most importantly, every time Mum visits, I’m reminded of the many lessons she’s taught me over the years, some are so ingrained, I often forget the source (sorry Mum): her insistence to do the right thing, to always be kind and compassionate, to forgive and take the moral high-ground. She also taught me the valuable lesson of how to make great Greek Cypriot Olive Oil Chips, and has left me with enough for at least one meal (!) with my greedy lot.
Speaking of those adorable boys, I love re-witnessing my Mum’s unbreakable bond with them, and the unconditional love they have for one another. Her love equals my own. I equally relish in the mutual adoration and respect we both have for my husband, Peter (‘He’s the healthiest man I know’…’He’s so supportive and loving’) and the values we both share on how people should behave and treat one another (which makes sense of course, as she raised me).
This time, she mentioned in passing that my grandfather Solomon despised ungrateful people, something that tops my own list of pet-peeves. Chatting to my mother is like tracing the branches of my family tree and learning a little more about myself with every word.
….I too, am teaching her.
A recent Instagram convert, I gave her a quick Insta-lesson, advising that he should upload photos herself more rather than just commenting on others’ pics. I sent her reams of photos she personally chose as her favourites from my FB page, which she published with ease and wrote her own captions for. She didn’t realise you could create your own handle name either, promptly asking I change her name to Honest Grandma, even announcing she might start a blog. I think she should.
Oh, and this will make you laugh. I mentioned a possible work trip away she might be able to join me on, and the first thing she said was, ‘That will be great for Instagram’. I’ve created a monster!
The lessons don’t stop there either.
During her jaunt, I introduced her to Subway (!) (I love their vegan Avo Subs) and together we laughed at how funny it was she’d never eaten a Sub. ‘At least there’s a lot of salad, which is healthy, Vicki’ she said on first bite of her Tuna 6 inch.
In turn, she introduced my son, Oliver, almost 9, and Alexander, 6, to Coronation Street. The soaps were the backbone of my childhood. Along with The Prince of Bel Air and Saved by the Bell the soaps were must-sees most nights. My late Grandma Annetta, my mother’s mum, never missed an episode and life would literally stop when the shows’ theme tunes started up, with tea in the ad break and in-depth discussions post-watch.
I’m sad I got out of the routine of watching them. I even directed and became friends with some soap opera greats in my job as a director.
During Mum’s stay, for the first time in many, MANY years, we all sat together and watched the latest episode of Coronation Street as Oliver and Xander asked questions about the characters and plot, soon catching up, engrossed in the multi-strand storyline. So much so, running through the door tonight, Oliver asked what time ‘Corrie’ was on!
Alexander continues to surprise me with his innate understanding of character and motivation. He’s pretty adept at predicting outcomes and reading people. It’s almost like he’s been here before. It’s uncanny. His comments, ‘He’s a bad guy and has stolen that lady’s money, you know the lady with the little hair’. HAHAHA!
They do both close their eyes if anyone kisses shouting ‘Urrgh’!
I hope we now make Corrie a family tradition, as it was in my home, growing up. We watched the first episode again tonight (the second one is on too late) which bodes well!
So, thank you Mum for all the reminders, for re-introducing me to the old and for embracing the new, it’s been nothing short of magical.
Until the next time.
*Photo isn’t recent but was taken in Windsor as Mum didn’t like the one we took. DIVA! Ha!