This morning I woke up thinking I had heard my Mothers voice.
I experienced a moment of confusion, like when a dream crosses over into reality and voices escape from inside to outside, for a moment.
She is not here, where I am, but is alive, and living in a city far away.
This morning her voice brought me intense comfort. Like when I was a little girl, and I would awake to her, and reach out my arms , with eyes still shut.
Every week I phone her, and even though our roles are beginning to reverse, the roles of carer and being cared for, she can still be, for me, a warm voice of comfort.
A lot of our lives have been lived over the phone. That way our voices could be any age, and I forget that my face is becoming more and more her face and I am aging. And I forget that she is getting old.
There were many years when we lived on separate continents. Years when most of what we said was conveyed in letters ( mine since returned to me, a big bundle tied with string – I can't recall where they are even now.)
Phone calls were for Christmas and birthdays. There were a few years of New Years Eve calls, when I was still young and it was a tipsy delight to phone all and sundry at two in the morning for a slurred 'Auld Land Syne'.
Our lives intersected at times back here at home and we connected, mostly in quaint towns but also busy cities. I was always a faithful visitor – dutiful, perhaps making up for the grey hairs she claims I gave her, which I have now.
I gave her plenty of scares I guess, by disappearing on yachts for weeks on end and doing other dares that she probably guessed at, but didn't know.
So, when Mothers Day comes round, like it did a while ago, I phone, of cause, and I do miss her.
She and I have had our lonely spells, hers by staying, and me by going, but we are grateful for the phone. Its not that we have always been the best of friends, but her imprint is so strong on me that , wiping away the mist on the mirror, I cannot avoid her.
I can only hope that my voice will be a soothing balm (it must be the right time of day, you understand...not too late, when the weariness of the day has taken its toll.), for my daughter in her life. It does not stand to reason of any sort, because, there has been hurt, and fear, and doubt, along the way.
A voice can be like a refrain, or a familiar song, that takes you back in time, to moments well lived, and loved.
I live in Sedgefield, and my mother in Cape Town – and I miss taking her out to a special lunch on a special day. I would like to think that these days it is more me giving and her receiving. But, no, it is probably not yet quite that.
Some say that you only truly grow up when your parents are no more.
I am still a very needy me , sometimes, and I do not yet feel fully grown.
All this, settles down on me right now, as we plan my daughters first trip to England.
She goes without me. Already we have our skype conversations planned. She is the wrong age to confess to much anxiety or to express that she will miss me too very very much, as I would want her to.
I realize that I am the one staying, for the first time now, while she will go.
Many a call was made home by me, from chilly England, to my mother, sitting sunny by the pool, with a smokey braai in the background, that I could almost taste with the memory of it.
With skype I'll get to see my daughter, and hear her, and that will be for better or for worse.
I'm not ready for any role swopping – but it seems it happens, ready or not.