After coffee with some girl friends last week, I wandered through a supermarket picking up a few groceries, when I remembered that I had wanted to buy a bunch of daffodils for Ameli to take to preschool the next day. They have a ‘Spring Table’ where they bring something from home for show and tell, and she had said she wanted to take a flower. I decided to buy her some, so that she could take a whole bunch and give them to hear teachers at the end of the day. I had a mental image of her walking into playgroup with a handful of beautiful flowers, head held high, confident and on some subconscious level, thinking her Mama was a hero for bringing her those flowers.

Welcome to the March 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Everyday Superheroes This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the remarkable people and characteristics that have touched their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. ***

A small voice in the back of my head said “nonsense, she can pick something on her way to school!” but in our life of budgets, stretching the ends to near-breaking point to make them meet and generally never splurging on anything, I couldn’t resist a £1 set of tulips, reduced to clear. 352 - Family PhotosMy mind was playing tricks on me, and for a moment, I could see her happy little face. Not because of the flowers. Not because of the money spent or not spent, but because Mama had gone out and even ‘out’ had been thinking of her, and of what would make her happy.  I don’t know if she ever will – probably not – but hopefully, maybe, somewhere in the recesses of her memory banks, she will remember the small acts and will look back at this and things like this, and see them as displays of love. Last week when she came home from preschool, I had decorated the living room like a scene from The Lorax: she was beside herself with excitement. May that be a memory that finds it’s home in that same happy place. The tulips I bought were beautiful, and if you were watching a movie of my life, you’d see me standing in the supermarket, breathing deeply of their scent, before being transported back in time, almost two months ago. My mother’s friend had come from Holland, and brought sympathy flowers and tulips with her for the funeral, to put on her friend – my mother’s – coffin. For a moment, the supermarket was gone, and all I could smell and remember were those tulips, on my lap, in the car, on the way to the funeral. My mother wasn’t always my hero. To say she was would be the kind of lie people tell about those who’ve died, when they want to remember them a certain way. I don’t want to remember her a way she wasn’t. I want to remember her for what she was, because I respected my mother. She was honest. When she loved you, she was a fierce and loyal friend. She was exceptional at her job. She could spot a disease, or an illness, or a cure in the most random places. She could diagnose medical conditions without much examination sometimes. She transformed people’s lives – I’m not kidding, she really did. I remember one day standing in a buffet line in a restaurant when she was talking to strangers about their toddler’s constant migraines. Five minutes later she’d given them advice – a month later they rang her to say they’d taken it, and their child had no more headaches. She did stuff like that all the time. She was a terrible person to have with you if you were in a hurry to leave.  She could talk to anyone. My mother could break the ice at her own expense. She could play the fool to get a smile, a reaction (positive), a change in behaviour, out of anyone. She was a wonderful person to have with you in government buildings. Getting your drivers licence renewed, or your passport especially. Those soulless places where officials don’t dare smile, don’t dare look like they could possibly enjoy what they do? Those were the places you wanted her with you. She could make those people crack a smile. And she made their day. And she made her teenage children cringe, but it was admirable. Like at the movies. You buy your cinema ticket, and as you pass through the doors, they take your ticket, tear off the stub and give it back to you. She’d say something like ‘hey! I just paid for that, now you’re tearing it!’  or “Excuse me, you gave me the back half of the ticket, but I’d like to see the front part of the  movie this time, so could I have that bit instead?” At first, normally, they’d look at her weird, then realise she’s joking and laugh. It sounds so stupid, written down, but she could always make them laugh. Precious moments My mother had her faith, and her belief, and her opinions and one of the things I respected most about her, is that there is no question in anyone’s mind, whatsoever, what they were. You didn’t have to agree with her, but you knew what she thought. She was steadfast. She was consistent in them. She was generous, to a fault. She bought a house for the mother-in-law who doesn’t like her to live in, paid for a school education for a family member who couldn’t afford it,  used loyalty points to give friends who couldn’t afford it holidays. She liked to give people little things they couldn’t give themselves, when she was able. (All with my dad, of course) As a mother, to me, the kind of mother I would have wanted, she wasn’t always that. There were many things I never spoke to her about. Many things I just didn’t raise, because I knew they didn’t fit in with her ‘way’ or because I knew I’d get an ear-full, when maybe all I wanted was someone to crack open the ice cream or pour me a glass of wine. She wasn’t that kind of mother. And she made mistakes in her life. But she loved me fiercely. She was open with me, and she was honest. She was the only medical type I’ve ever trusted. She could make me laugh and have fun with me.   I always knew where I stood with her, and I always knew where her limits lay. I had no false hopes or expectations, or delusions of our relationship. I could call her any time of the day or night, as she did me (she could not get her head around time zones!) and I always knew that little gifts, little tokens of love came from her – a bottle of perfume, an extra lipstick, a top up on my Starbucks card.  I knew that she loved me fiercely. And all those things are things I want Ameli and Aviya to be able to say about me, fifty years from now, when it started with things like Truffula Trees and Tulips. I guess she was an inspiration, a hero, after all.

*** Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: (This list will be updated by afternoon March 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • I Am A Super Hero — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she learned the hard way exactly what it means to be a real super hero and not a burned out shell of a human simply pretending to be one.
  • Quiet Heroics — Heroism doesn’t have to be big and bold. Read how Jorje of Momma Jorje is a quiet hero…and how you probably are, too.
  • Not a Bang, but a Whisper {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about the different types of “superheroes,” ones that come in with a bang and ones that come in with a whisper.
  • Silent courage of motherhood in rural Cambodia — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings marvels at how rural Khmer women defy the odds in childbirth.
  • Super PappyMother Goutte‘s little boy met a superhero in checked slippers and Volkswagen Polo, his grand dad: Super Pappy!
  • An Open Letter to Batman — Kati at The Best Things challenges Batman to hold up his end of the deal, in the name of social justice, civic duty, and a little boy named Babe-O!
  • My Village — Kellie at Our Mindful Life reflects on the people who helped her to become her best self.
  • 5 Lessons My Kids Taught Me — Children are amazing teachers, when we only stop to listen. They remind us to choose happiness, to delight in the small things, to let go and forgive. There is so much we can learn from our children. Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a few of the lessons she’s learned.
  • Could you use some superpowers? — Tat at Mum in search shares a fun activity to help you connect with your own superpowers.
  • Like Fire Engines — Tam at tinsenpup tells the story of the day she saw a surprising superhero lurking in the guise of her not entirely mild-mannered four-year-old daughter.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her list of Walker Warburg Syndrome Superheroes that have touched her life forever.
  • My Superhero of the Week: Nancy GallagherTribal Mama muses about the transcendent things her superhero mom has done.
  • My choice in natural birth does not make me a super hero — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, discusses her thoughts on her experience with the perception of natural birth and putting those mamas on a different level. Does giving birth naturally give cause for an extra pat on the back? No! All mamas, no matter how they birth, are superheroes.
  • Someone’s Hero — Sometimes being a parent means pretending to be a grown-up, but it always means you are someone’s hero. Read Mandy’s lament at Living Peacefully with Children.
  • Growing into a Super Hero — Casey at Joyful Courage shares how owning our behavior and choosing to be a better parent, a better person, is an act of courage.
  • A Math Superhero — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes that her 7-year-old daughter’s superhero is an MIT-trained mathematician.
  • It Starts With Truffula Trees And Tulips — Luschka of Diary of a First Child takes a hard look at the realities of her relationship with her mother, and through this post goes on a journey of discovery that ends in a surprise realisation for her.
  • We Don’t Need an Excuse — Maria Kang (aka “Hot Mom”) asks women #WhatsYourExcuse for not being in shape? Dionna at Code Name: Mama asks Hot Mom what her excuse is for not devoting her life to charity work, or fostering dozens of stray dogs each year, or advocating for the needs of others. Better yet, Code Name: Mama says, how about we realize that every woman has her own priorities. Focus on your own, and stop judging others for theirs.
  • It’s not heroic when you’re living it — Lauren at Hobo Mama knows from the inside that homeschooling does not take a hero, and that much of what we choose as parents is simply what works best for us.
  • Superheroes, princesses and preschoolers — Garry at Postilius discusses why his preschool-age son is not ready for comic book superheroes.
  • The Loving Parents of Children with Special Needs – Everyday Superheroes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares posts with resources for parents of children with special needs along with posts to help others know how to support parents of children with special needs.
  • Everyday Empathy — Mommy Giraffe of Little Green Giraffe shares why her secret superpower is everyday empathy.
  • The Simplicity of Being a Superhero — Ana at Panda & Ananaso explains what superheroes mean to her wise three-year-old.
  • My Father, The Hero — Fathers are pretty amazing; find out why Christine at The Erudite Mom thinks hers is the bees knees.


It Starts With Truffula Trees And Tulips – On Mothers As Heroes

  1. I think we all have our good and our bad moments with our parents. I certainly started appreciating and understanding my parents a whole lot more since I’ve become a mother myself, and have been able the heroic qualities in them. This is a beautiful, touching post and it has reminded me again to look for the best in people.

  2. This is a beautiful honest tribute to your mother. My mum died last year and I could relate to so much that you wrote here (our mothers had a bit in common, in fact). I’m very touched by this. It was just lovely.

  3. This is gorgeous, Luschka. Thank you for sharing. I’m not one to call my parents my heroes, either, and you’re having me rethink it. Really moving post.

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