In my part of the world, Mother’s day is fast approaching and it is always a good time to reflect and honour the special women in our lives. For half my life, I haven’t had my mum but I have been blessed with having many stand-in mums in my lifetime.
Recently I got the chance to catch up with one of these special ladies who now lives in England. Aunty Ann holds a dear place in my heart for many reasons and I want to express a sample of what she means to me.
I was about 11 when I first met the Kondals, a large immigrant family much like my own. Catholic, but half English and half Polish meant that there were some unusual differences for me but Aunty Ann welcomed me ( and some other sisters) into her home like there was no financial pressure and plenty food, time and energy to go around.
Unlike my own mum, Aunty Ann seemed to enjoy cooking and I loved sitting round her kitchen table and laughed at all our stories to which she took a genuine interest in. Somehow she never seemed under pressure and it helped that she laughed at my jokes. We would sit late at night and chat about anything and everything and I think back with fondness for those times.
Wimbledon was exciting at their house as all us extra bodies would find a strip of carpet to lie on and cheer MacEnroe or Boris on. Dallas was also an overnighter, even though it was a school night. We would double up in single beds and I loved experiencing early mornings at my friend, something I still enjoy because it really shows a lot about people.
Aunty Ann was always an invisible presence in my later years because she returned to England after I left school. I visited her during my gap year and once again returned to tea drinking around the kitchen table in her home that was spookily over the funeral parlour in a darling little town.
Nowadays it is easier to keep in touch through virtual kitchen tables and on my recent visit she praised my writing skills and told me know much she loved it. It brought a surprise tear to my eye yet I felt really glad that we can still connect in this small way.
Thank you Aunty Ann for the doughnuts, the Polish cabbage mince leaves, the gallons of tea, toast by the bucket full, lifts in the Anglia, pushing the Anglia, laughter, tears, the use of the dart board, long summer swims, Dullstroom camping and secret Trout fishing, Slap chips on a buttie, brick building, puppy birthing, lifts to scout hall discos, all the laughter and many other forgotten memories and now, the modern love…
Love you x