I woke up extra early this morning and sneaked into Mum and Dad’s room. The sun was just rising and I convinced Mum to walk down to the beach with me in her sleepy state. Dad was already up, fixing a pipe under the kitchen sink. Dad has his own plumbing business. He would always joke about me taking over the business and Mum would cover my ears, whispering into them that princesses don’t do such things. I wonder if she still thinks I’m her princess.
Mum was okay with me inviting Theo and Ellie over for lunch. In fact, she drove straight to the supermarket after I asked. She looked excited. She looked alive and healthy. She looked like my Mum. We sat on the beach in complete silence at first. After about two minutes, Mum burst into tears. I noticed the few grey streaks in her long strawberry blonde hair. I noticed the veins in her hands as she put her hand in mine and kissed it over and over again, repeating the word ‘sorry.’ I began to cry too. I embraced Mum and I could feel the bones in her back through her clothes. She’d lost a lot of weight ever since I moved out. We sat on the beach for quite a while, pouring our hearts out; allowing our tears to fall onto the sand and watching as it made splotches in the sand. It was therapeutic.
I now know why Mum’s been so distant all these years. Mum had quite the life as a teenager before she met Dad. She was a wild flower, partying day and night. She was rebellious. She lived in the moment, too afraid to think of what the future would bring. When Mum turned sixteen her dad died of a heart attack. It was sudden and it completely tore her apart. He was her favourite person. She blamed herself for not spending enough time with him. For abandoning her relationship with him because she wanted to be a teenager and ‘live life.’ She slipped into depression.
When I was born, Mum still had that hurt inside of her and she resented bringing me into this world ever since. As a result, she suffered from postnatal depression. She was afraid that I’d turn out like her. She said that I reminded her so much of herself and she couldn’t bear to watch me grow up into the person she was. That’s why she pulled away.
I was shocked. All these years I’ve been my mother’s biggest fear. All these years I’ve resented her for something she had no control over. Mum asked for my forgiveness but I simply embraced her and said ‘sorry.’ We walked back to the house which was one road away from the beach. Thomas and I helped Dad prepare lunch while Mum made dessert. In our household, Dad’s the cook. The only thing Mum’s good at in the kitchen is making dessert. For the first time, I felt like I belonged. I felt a sense of home in my own home.
Theo and Ellie arrived just as we were finishing up. Theo helped me set the table while Ellie entertained Thomas with her talk about electrical engineering. Apparently, Ellie wants to study electrical engineering in England. It came as a complete shock to Thomas who is studying industrial engineering in England. I reckon they’ll get along well even though Ellie’s my age. Theo is three years older than me but age doesn’t matter in our family really. Mum is eight years younger than Dad anyway.
Lunch was delicious and the conversation was pleasant. It was like heaven having my family and friends all in one place. Mum was extra happy and open. She told us about how she met Dad while Dad shot carrots at Mum, telling her that she was embarrassing him. Mum simply laughed and continued with the story. After lunch, we played a game of Scrabble and I won. Obviously!
Ellie, Thomas and Theo and I took a walk on the beach whilst Mum and Dad tidied up in the kitchen, reminiscing over their younger years. It just happens to be my luck that Ellie attends the same school as me. Yippee! Theo studies Applied Chemistry at the local university. They live like ten minutes away from Mum and Dad’s. Guess I’m moving back in!