Friday, 1 August 2008

back to school


I haven't seen Mum for a few weeks and I can't go this weekend.

Even though I've already visited her more times this year than the past 5 put together, it's hard not to feel guilty.

I give her a call. As usual, at the other end it sounds like they're having a great time, laughing away at something as Mum comes to the phone.

"Bums on seats!" I hear someone call out as Mum settles herself.

We have the usual generic conversation, necessary as she can't recall anyone's name there or any activities she may have been engaged in. Typically, Mum gets caught up in the conversation around her for a bit and I'm left with one side of the discussion until she's prompted to talk to me again.

I'm just telling her that I'll visit her next weekend when she stuns me with: "Yes, it's difficult for you with you being at boarding school, isn't it? When you come it can only be for a few hours."

This is another example of Mum explaining the world to herself with the available fragments of memory. It's 33 years since I was at boarding school (a miserable and traumatic period for me), where I was only allowed out for a few hours on a Sunday.

Recently I've tended to visit on a Sunday and my visits have typically been from lunchtime through to early evening. So I can see why that particular jigsaw piece seemed like a good fit for her.

It's still a shock whenever she does this, though. And shocking in the context of our family, where my incarceration has never been discussed as it used to upset me so much. Her mention of it felt like a slap but I know it was entirely innocent.

The irony is not lost on me that I've now been the one to uproot her and place her in a Home not so very far from that dreadful institution...

2 comments:

Sorata said...

Oh, you're back, you're back! *big hug* We miss you. At one point I was getting a little worried as I don't recall how long you were going to be away and it seemed like a rather long time. Hope you had a fun trip. I know you usually keep your non-mom related stuff off from the blog, but we won't mind seeing some photos from the trip. :D

Is that a picture of you? OMG! Look how "obeying" of you standing like that with your arms on the side! I used to have that do that at elementary school in Hong Kong. I remembered my parents used to scare me saying they will send me to boarding school. It never really did anything for me as I don't think I would mind.

Greg said...

Yes, I'm back. I was only away for 8 days, but then I had to catch up here at home before I could think about the internet. Also, I haven't been to see Mum, so there was no material.. until today.

You're right, I want to keep this blog about Mum and my relationship with her.

Thanks for missing me :)

Yes, I was a good boy, very submissive (still have my moments). Even though I was dying inside in that awful school, it took me 3 years to tell my parents how abandoned I felt there. As an adopted child, I felt a duty to do what was expected of me - the orphanage being one step back if I was bad. As an adult I know how stupid that sounds, but 7-year-olds don't know enough about the world to reassure themselves.