Sunday 26 January 2014

Happy Birthday Mother

I forgot to buy my mother a birthday card this year. It should have been okay, her birthday isn't until 29th January, but she jetted off on a birthday holiday on Friday, and had I been organised, she would have had a birthday card to take with her. The guilt of forgetting her card kept me awake at night and I was unable to concentrate in my usually engrossing Political Theory from Hobbes lecture. My mind was on other things, most notably the disappointment I knew I would see in her eyes upon her return. I spent the Thursday before her flight in a Nero coffee shop watching 24, desperately trying to reconcile the situation by not telling her and telling myself I would send one for her to arrive home too. Problem solved. Of course, my mother had a better idea. Unbeknownst to her, she gave me the perfect idea when she sent me a whatsapp, telling me she expected a "nice blog" about her for her birthday. It's both a birthday present and a card. 

I've already written one of these and, indeed, I wonder if my mother's suggestion is purely so that she can have what she terms "tweeter material". She needs to keep her thousands of loyal followers happy somehow, after all. But anyway, here we go, a nice blog about my mother:

I would be a wealthy man if I received a pound for every mention of how cool she is or how much someone wanted to meet her. Whether it be the interesting auto-correct incidents (Assad being referred to as a frantic decorator rather than a fanatic dictator being a nice example); the constant twitter presence or the insistence on spending every meal taking as many selfies as is humanly possible, there seems to be something about my mother that intrigues others. And right they are to be intrigued. 

To describe my mother is difficult. Adjectives and superlatives lose meaning - I am, of course, talking about a woman who has looked after me and raised me; spent the last 19 years providing for me and pushing me to achieve what she thinks I am capable of; and, of course, managed to resist the temptation of calling me 'Nimrod'. I always say you can tell a lot about a man through the relationship he has with his mum and the way he treats his mum. Well, anything you can say about me, there can be little doubt that my mum is in a huge way responsible for it. For that I can only ever be eternally grateful. Raising me always went beyond working hard and earning money to give me the best education and the constant, "RAPHAEL! You worked harder last year. Why aren't you things? Go and do some work, stop not working, things work, you need to things and work, if you want to things." My earliest memories are of things like a slightly overly enthusiastic guy in the National Gallery harping on about a Turner and visiting museums like they were all about to close down. Those experiences, and many others, shaped me, there can be no question about that. And of course, the "WORK HARDER" has had some influence as well. And yes, I could have been called Nimrod. Get over it.

Amazingly funny, often without realising, kind, generous, giving, relentlessly positive, hopeful, creative, hard-working, caring and, of course, completely and utterly mental in the best way possible. I wouldn't change a thing. 

Sophia Loren once said: "There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age." If ever there was a person that embodied tapping into that fountain of youth, it is my mother. As she reaches a milestone birthday (30, I believe), it is quite clear that she really has defeated age. 

It isn't your birthday for 3 days, but here is an early birthday present, considering I forgot to buy you a card in time to give you initially.

Happy Birthday Mum, I love you

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