Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Curse of the Homemade Gondola


It was my first ever Mother’s Day on Sunday and I had a really special day. Because Ebony is a baby, I got a proper present (chosen by Laurie) as opposed to a homemade ‘calendar’, or a box covered in glittery pasta, or whatever other crap I used to present my poor mother with each year. I’m sure when Ebony does start bringing back homemade presents from nursery I will love them a lot, think they are amazing and display them proudly in my home for visitors to admire. But until then I can honestly say I have no need for a pencil topper made from a plastic cotton reel, even if it does have googly eyes.

Mother’s Day made me start thinking about the type of Mum I want to be to Ebony, and how to best support her as she grows up.
My Mum still has a lot of her homemade gifts on display. Every year the Christmas tree is decorated with the rather fetching Christmas decoration I made her at nursery (a selection of milk bottle tops and polystyrene shapes on a piece of thread). The worst gift by far was probably the gondola. My Mum had a small ornament of a fruit seller in his gondola, it was a nice ornament. But I thought I could probably do better, so I broke out the salt dough.
Please note: this image is the original gondola ornament, not my interpretation. 
Needless to say, my creation looks nothing like the original, but my Mum has displayed them both ever since. Now that I am the wise old age of 25, I think she probably displayed it because it amused her so much, and so at dinner parties if there was an awkward silence she could entertain the crowds by showing them my ‘art’. But as a child I always thought she had displayed it because she bloody loved it. And why wouldn’t she?
My parents were both always very supportive, I don’t remember them ever telling me I wasn’t funny/intelligent/wonderful in every way. I had lots of very bad joke books, and I would often tell them jokes to which they would react with belly laughs and praise. I thought I was hilarious. I wasn’t. One of the knock knock jokes basically said “banana”, “banana who?” “knock knock” over and over and over again until “orange” “orange who?” “orange you glad I didn’t say banana?”. I liked that joke a lot, and would retell it many times, each time adding in more bananas, you know, to build the suspense. My parents even laughed at this. My very patient parents even humoured me when I did this.
Laurie has stated that he will not be laughing at crap jokes from Ebony as she grows up. He thinks it won’t do her any favours (does this mean he is not in awe of my sense of humour?). I disagree, I think parents should be supportive of their children and celebrate their achievements. OK, maybe the interrupting cow joke isn’t amazing, and it’s not like she made it up herself, but she performed it well and is starting to understand humour and so I will laugh even though it’s the fifteenth time I’ve heard it today.
When I was growing up, me and my friend (and our younger siblings) would put on shows for our parents. We would practice all day. They would be extravagant productions with costume changes, musical numbers, impressive accents and complex story lines. When my Mum came to pick me & my sister up, we would perform the show for her and my friend’s parents. Our Mums would both applaud whole heartedly at the end, sometimes we would even get a standing ovation (usually from my Mum as she tried to hurry us home). But not from my friend’s Dad. He would clap, if pushed, but not as if he meant it. Looking back, he obviously was not impressed at having to spend ten minutes of his Sunday afternoon watching what was essentially a poor man’s interpretation of the Sound of Music. But at the time, I just thought he had really bad taste in shows. I never assumed that it was a fault with our production. So I’m not sure children gain much from unappreciative parents anyway. When Laurie refuses to Laugh at Ebony’s Doctor Doctor jokes, she will just assume he has no sense of humour and that Mummy is the funny one (and she will be right of course).
So, although it will be a test of patience, and although my IQ will drop even further as a result, I promise to always make Ebony feel appreciated and celebrated. I promise to always proudly display her homemade gondolas, and laugh at them quietly at dinner parties so she cannot hear. I promise to be supportive and allow her to develop in her own special way. I promise to always have the time to watch her homemade shows, read stories she has written and clap loudly at the end of her theatrical dances. There will always be room on my fridge for another drawing, and I shall savour every homemade calendar nursery sends her home with. I don’t ever want her to doubt that she is the most important person in the world to me and that everything she does is amazing.

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