As I child, I remember having to sit crossed legged on a hard, cold and dusty wooden floor in the school assembly hall singing random songs every Monday morning, enduring an excruciating hour of ‘music class’. Sometimes they even gave us tambourines. The memory still makes me shudder. I had been squidged, like a hippo in a ballerina outfit (I was a fat kid, there is no denying it), in to a hand me down school uniform that belonged to a distant cousin of my next door neighbor and best friend Laura. I remember feeling desperately uncomfortable as the tights wedged themselves further and further up my bum crack. I remember thinking what the hell is the point in all this? Why must I wear this god awful outfit? Why must I be at school when I know everything already and most outrageously, why are we sat on the floor? (What were we animals? Where were all the chairs?) AND why on god’s green earth, are we being taught a song about some woman who is wondering whether or not her other half will send her a valentines card, when her boobs are hanging down around her ankles and her hair has all fallen out. (I remember my granny’s boobs seeming very low in comparison to my mothers and she was very nearly bald. I was young! I apologise for any offence caused.)
It was also around that time, as you’ve probably gathered, I developed ‘an attitude’ and for the first time ever in my life, I remember feeling overcome with the sheer mortification of my parents. It was almost as if over night they went from being my hero’s to being the bane of my existence. I remember there was a parent/ teacher night, which horrifyingly, in my school usually involved cheese and wine (looking back now it hits me what a recipe for disaster this was.) All the children were banished to a classroom while the parents discussed their little angel’s performance with the teachers while downing copious amounts of Rioja (I grew up in spain) and munching on Queso. These evenings always filled me with a sense of dread as, as well as being fat and a little bit nerdy I was also a ROYAL pain in the arse. I hated school. I wish id tried a bit harder now, not that id ever admit that to my parents.
It was on the drive out of the car park on one of these ‘occasions’ that my mother began to question my obvious hatred of school. We had a heated debate for all of 30 seconds (me – against, Her- for) before to my absolute horror in a vain attempt to pummel her point home, she began singing ‘When Im 64’ badly and at top volume. Her point being I should try to enjoy school while I could, as one day I’d be 64 and old…maybe? I don’t know. Either way she began to sing and then as if things couldn’t get any worse. My dad joined in. (My dad was the designated driver, he wasn’t even drunk! What was his excuse?) All my ‘friends’ and the cool kids were still in earshot! It was like they didn’t care about me at all!
Fast forward 6 years and I’m 15 years old. Wearing ‘illegal’ Dr martin boots with my school skirt rolled up to my once podgy bum cheek and still being forced to endure music lessons.(by now we had been given proper instruments. Can you picture it? Thirteen 15 year olds absolutely murdering the Spanish national anthem every Monday morning between 9-10am.) Also by this point, I was at the stage of pretending my parents were a distant visiting aunt and uncle I had been forced to live with by my real mother – the princess of Sweden (Clara).
In my opinion, at the time my parent’s behaviour was totally uncalled for, irrational and horrifyingly embarrassing. They NEVER let me out late like my friends were allowed, they NEVER bought me ANYTHING and they totally did not understand my vibe man. What is the point in choosing options when Im going to be a famous actor right? And when I grew up and had kids, I would let them do WHATEVER they wanted, WHENEVER THEY WANTED. And while they ‘were under my roof’ they could do whatever took their fancy…
I need to add at this point for the record, my poor suffering parentals were absolutely right not to let me out until dawns crack! I was 15! And I feel it necessary to add, before the phone starts ringing, and I get an earful, I was spoilt rotten (Yes dad you were both great parents…)
Fast forward 24 years and Im buckling my little one in to my new four door mammy car. (who’d of thought ay? I was definitely having a motorbike). My little angel looks up at me, grabs my hand and smiles. Smiling back and giving him a quick kiss, I push the door shut and walk round to open the driver door and it hits me. In a moment of blind panic all of the above comes screaming back to me. I get in the car and pause for a moment, the colour draining from my face. In a few short years it will start. I will be the bane of his existence! Yeah sure, right now, he is grabbing my hand and smiling, I am his everything. But in a matter of moments I will be the one, embarrassing the hell out of him, doing his head in and saying things like ‘if all your friends ran off a cliff would you?’ and ‘money doesn’t grow on trees you know!’ and all the other non-sensical sayings my parents used on me. The sayings, I now see, get passed down from generation to generation.
Of course he won’t remember me sitting up at 4am feeding him, of course he won’t remember me holding his butt cheeks apart, in a vain attempt to help him to trump during the longest nights of Colic induced crying (He will, however be reminded of that particular night on the evening of his 21st birthday. It would be rude not to include it in perhaps, his wedding speech? Anyway..) He will see me as a mother whom he loves dearly (I hope) but who is a constant source of embarrassment. And I see now. It all makes sense. It doesn’t matter, none of it matters, because I will love him unconditionally. I will love him more than he will ever know. All the while he is pretending I am a distant relative only looking after him while his real mother (lady GaGa – or whoever is cool at the time) is out of town, I will love him.
Its with that, I put the car in to gear. Switch the nursery rhyme CD to track 8 and sing ‘When Im 64’ at top volume. (Because I get it now, I think, I don’t know, maybe I need some wine but whatever.) Im singing away, both of us ginning like lunatics. Him because, well he’s five months old, he could be grinning because he realises he has a nose. Me because I am so excited by everything to come. For him and for me! He’s gonna have a great little life, and if he’s anything like me a great little attitude! Embarrassing or not. I’ll be there for him 100%. Just like my parents were for me.
Oh, and when I returned home I did in fact give my ‘long suffering’ (I was told to write that) parents a call and apologised for all the years of attitude I put them through. I think it was a long time coming. Although my dad just laughed and said ‘we had fun didn’t we?’ (I think he’d had a drink.) I also thanked them for ensuring I didn’t ‘ruin my life’ by getting that tattoo of a Chinese symbol on my arse, to which my mom replied ‘that’s ok love, bet your glad you didn’t now aren’t you?’ (It’s not like they’ll ever find out! It’ll be fine! As long as they never see me in a bikini it’ll be alright.) Its not like they read my blog properly…
Shit the phones ringing. Got to go…