Thursday, 29 January 2009

Family Values

Parents' kitchen. They have just returned from Mauritius at 6am that morning. Father is at the table drinking wine. I am sitting opposite him with a glass of water. Mother is at the sink, as always. They are jet lagged.

Me: Mam, will you come and sit down. I have something to tell you and papa?
Mother shoots a look in our direction, carries on at kitchen sink.
Me: Mam, please come and sit down. It's important.
Mother looks again then crosses kitchen to wipe her hands on a dishcloth, moving the butter dish just a little bit this way, just a little bit that. Most unlike her.
Me: Ma-am!
Mother: J'arrives, J'arrives!
She sits down, dresses plastic flowered tablecloth with her hands.
I inhale, deeply.
Me: Foca wanted to come but I thought it better if I told you myself.
Father: Are you getting married?
Me: On no papa, (nervous laugh, almost relieved), no. We haven't known each other long enough for that. No, I'm having a baby.
Father: (circles base of wine glass with thumb and forefinger, leans back into his chair). What have young people got against marriage these days?
Colour drains from mother's face


I find, in this society, we are judged by what we do for a living, not for who we are as a person. There are exceptions. I am a stigmum: A single mother on benefits, a mother kept by the state. A stigma, a stigmamma, a stigmum.

This is what I do

I acknowledge, I ask, I account
I budget, I bid, I breathe, I bleed
I cook, I clean, I cry, I care
I dance, I discipline, I dream
I educate, I empathise, I eat, I endure
I fraternise, I file, I forgo, I forget
I grumble, I giggle, I grind
I hug, I hoover, I hate, I hope
I indulge, I iron
I jest, I juggle
I kiss
I launder, I laugh, I live, I love
I mollycoddle, I make up, I mind, I manage
I nag, I nurse, I nod
I opine, I obey, I organise
I play, I pray, I pretend
I quarrel
I rant, I read
I sing, I shop, I scream, I soothe
I talk, I teach, I tidy
I understand
I verify, I vegetate
I wrestle, I write, I wish, wish, wish.....