Sep 25, 2012

Tribute to my mother

**           When I was a toddler you picked me up and wiped my tears.

**           When I started school you taught me to share my sandwiches with those who did not have.

**           When you caught me smoking with my friends at age eleven you told me that smoking was for rough girls and you encouraged me to stop.

**           When I sent away my first story to a radio station at twelve you told me not to be afraid to reach far and encouraged me to write.

**           When I said to you at sixteen that I would like to be an actress, you said, my girl, I would not like you to do that; your job will depend on your looks and I would not like you to be in show business.

**           When I left the country at age 21 with just my sister, younger than me, you told me not to be afraid and that you would see me soon. You gave us enough money to take care of ourselves.

**           When we were young girls, before leaving for Canada, you encouraged us to bring our boyfriends to the house so you could know who they were. You served them coffee and cake and always were nice to them.

**           When I got married to a foreigner you left your work in South Africa to help me with the baby and spend some time with us. You were kind to my husband and he was kind to you.

**           When I got divorced you cried because you knew the damage done to children who grow up without a father. You cried because you remembered your own experiences and did not want us girls to go through what you had.

**           When I got published you were my number one fan. You sat in a wheelchair at my first launch. Georgina and I pushed you up the hill to the acupuncturist in the rain. You believed that the Chinese man’s needles would fix you. We had a few good years together and then your number came up and there was nothing anyone could do. Even then, with your last breath, you would not leave until I told you not to struggle anymore to live, that you had been a good mother who always loved and put her kids first.  You gave a last sigh and slipped away. If I have done an ounce of good in my life, I owe it all to you, Mom; thank you.

Wedding day anxiety

Imagine this scenario: it is a day before the wedding. The band has been booked, the bridesmaids’ outfits are ready, the catering is paid for, you are having drinks with the girls when suddenly you have anxiety and say that you can’t go through with it. Family members ask you what is wrong; you say you don’t know. You have mere hours before you become a wife. The groom-to-be is shocked and does not understand what is happening. The transition is so bizarre that one moment you are laughing with the girls and the next moment you are crying over the drink in your hand. What do you do? 

Handling wedding day anxiety

**           You do nothing for the moment except be with her. Don’t try to explain things; it will go in one ear and out the other. Calm her down by telling her that you understand how hard it is to leave home. 

**           Don’t blame yourself. It has nothing to do with you. Be rational. Hold her and say that it is all right to cry on the night before you get married. After all, it is a huge thing to leave your parents’ home and change guard. 

**           Put a temporary hold on the catering until you know whether the event is on or off. Remember caterers start planning weeks ahead of time and they don’t do anything without a fat deposit; don’t do it too late.

**           If hours later you are still fearful and don’t know the cause of it, put the wedding on hold. It is easier to lose some of your deposits than undo or annul a marriage. It may even be that once you have cancelled everything that the fear dissipates and you find yourself with just two witnesses at the Justice of the Peace. It may be the fear of change rather than finding fault with your partner which one is sometimes apt to do. If on the morning of the wedding your partner laughs off her anxiety from the previous day and seems fine, you know you have crossed that bridge and are set for the marriage to take place. The fear and confusion is akin to a new mother who does not know what to expect and wants the baby but does not want to give birth.