I am a great one for pulling faces — always have been. I pull faces when I am happy, when I am sad, when I’m surprised or disgusted or disgruntled. And every time I pull a face I admit I still get that soft waft of my dear mum’s voice in my head, scolding “Don’t make that face — when the wind changes it will stick like that!” Well, guess what? She was right. Don’t you just hate that?
Having always been of a fairly ‘independent’ nature I have never been very good at admitting that my mother was right and I was wrong — about anything. I grant that there are possibly some things my mother told me in my youth that make slightly more sense to me now (stand up straight, eat your vegetables) but, at 52 years of age, still a terminal sloucher with a determined preference for toast and paté over vegetables, it would seem that those particular lessons (along with the face-pulling!) have still yet to be learned.
Perhaps it is some form of genetic imprinting which writes our mum’s voice so indelibly upon our psyche, whether we like, or agree, with it or not. How many times have you had the urge to clean your plate, even when you are no longer hungry “because there are children starving in Africa”? And who among us doesn’t wear clean underwear just in case we get into an accident?
Having no (two-legged) children of my own I have always felt slightly superior and laughed aloud at friends who, after all pleas and entreaties to squabbling children have eventually suppressed the uprising with their own long-ago mother’s command of — “I don’t care who started it — stop it — and stop it now!”
That was until last night, when, after several polite and restrained trips out into the back garden to see what all the barking was about, I finally flung open the back door and, in shock and dismay, heard my mother’s voice issuing stridently from my own mouth — “Enough already! Don’t make me come out there!” There was an immediate and fearful silence.
My mum would be so proud . . .