Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Mum


My mum
... was raised in Alderwood, Toronto, although they moved around a little
... is the second of four daughters
... was born to my grandmother from Fogo Island, Newfoundland and my grandfather from some Ontario town
... thought it would be a neat idea to spread cement all over her brand-new bicycle...
... loved comics, baseball, climbing trees & cowboys and indians
... had the first Television on the block in their house, as her father worked in Radio & television and all the local children would come over to watch
... played a boy in a TV commercial for Kellogs when she was 9 years old
... spent all the money she earned from that commercial on sweets and a new bike
... remembers vividly the night her father left her mother... there had been shouting... he was walking out the door with his packed bags and she watched her older sister clinging to his legs, crying and saying “Don’t go daddy!” and years later, when reminiscing, was told by her sister, that that had been my mum clinging to her father’s legs, not her sister...
... was uprooted with her sisters and taken for a winter to Fogo Island, Newfoundland where her mother could recuperate... she remembers it being like stepping into a past century... real candles on Christmas trees... several meter hight snow banks... sleds for transportation...
... became her high-school sweetheart's step-sister when her mother remarried... to his father
... left home at 18 to go to Nurse’s training and become a Nurse like my grandmother
... went on to Windsor after Nurse’s training to get a bachelor of science... there she met my Dad
... had to ask her own father not to go to her wedding, knowing how much his presence would have hurt her mother...
... was working in Detroit, living in Canada, during the Vietnam war and tried to enlist in the Airforce as a nurse... thank God they wouldn’t have her, maybe because she was Canadian?
... remembers watching Detroit burning with my father from the banks of the border river in Windsor during the black riots in the late 60s, feeling how lucky & proud she was to be Canadian
... took disco dancing classes in the 70s...
... did a Triathlon to celebrate turning 50
... is naturally beautiful, without make-up & without ever dying her hair
... worked very hard, sometimes she even took extra jobs to pay for vacations with me… and continued to do volunteer work as well, at an AIDs hospice
... played the guitar & sang... she even wrote a song for me when I was 6 years old, that began “Jenny oh Jenny, my dear little girl” And years later I wrote a song on my guitar, a lullaby, for my daughter “...goodnight Aurora... oh my darling daughter...”
... is passionate about baseball…and her Blue Jays… she even collects baseball cards
... has a signed Jackie Robinson baseball card
... painted our hallway a different vibrant colour each time she needed "a change"
... passed on her love of popcorn, movies and black olives to both my daughter and I
... is so sentimental that she gets all teary-eyed at any tear-jerking moment, maybe even just a simple long-distance telephone commercial.... Just as I do...
... has been extremely healthy and health-conscious as long as I remember, always leaning toward the natural... minimum plastics... no teflon... fresh healthy food...
... has never stopped learning... she is always taking some course or another… from Spanish (beginner Spanish – 12 times!)... to film history... to photography
... is a fantastic prize-winning photographer
... loves the sun and the ocean
... has been and will always be such a beautiful example to me with her honesty & integrity, thirst for learning, gentleness, generosity, compassion & care, spirit of adventure and kind-kind heart

It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I fully appreciated her... I was suddenly so absolutely overwhelmed with love and appreciation of my mother and have been ever since. What an amazing mother and woman.

I remember the phone call when I told her that I decided I was moving to Spain... I was selling the home, the car and anything I could and taking off to Spain with her only grand-daughter... She said “Oh honey, that is Wonderful! I am so happy for you.” And she meant it. I couldn’t believe it. I said, “Mum, how are you capable of being so accepting and supportive and non-judgemental? How can you be happy for me, knowing I am going so far away from you?” She said, “Honey, when you really and truly love someone, you just want to see them happy, no matter where that takes them.” She knew I had had a rough few years. She was genuinely happy for me. I told her that I hoped to be as good as a mother as she was.

You are part of me Mum. I love you. Xo

Both of my parents were amazingly supportive, non-judgemental, fair and accepting of me as I grew up. They were there to listen & help whenever I needed them, but without making opinions or judgements about my life. There were guidelines and discipline but it was always fair and understandable. They are sad when I am sad, but they have let me make my own mistakes, even when they might have known better. They have empowered me to become the unique person I am, from as long as I can remember.

Thank you both Mum & Dad. I love you. XO


  1. Jen, these stories are so heart-felt! I enjoy reading them a lot, and I look forward to more stories from Spain!

  2. Jen, your energy and zest for life always amaze me. And you are a very prolific writer! This is a great way to share your love with the world... Keep writing.

  3. Thank you both! I am at a point where I just can't seem to stop writing! xo Jen

  4. I absolutely loved this post about your mum. I have so many of the same memories you describe in here. Did she tell you about the "mummers" in Newfoundland? She is all that you describe and more. No wonder she raised such an exceptional daughter!

  5. Patty, Thank you so much for your comment. I am so glad that you liked the post about Mum... I will have to ask her about "mummers"... Since there are several people in the family that enjoy writing so much, Eden and I have both been thinking lately about working on some sort of collaboration, what do you think? xo Jen