Now despite what you might be inclined to think, I didn’t grow up without any parents at all.
What I lacked in a paternal role model, was made up for in a maternal one.
And last week it was that maternal role model’s birthday.
Or, “mom,” as you could call her because that’s what I call her.
From abandonment issues, being relentlessly bullied in school, to toxic and dysfunctional relationships, she was always there, putting her arms around me for a warm embrace and asking me how I was feeling.
To this day whenever my friends meet her, they always react with the same words, “Your mom is awesome.”
And I couldn’t agree more.
Don’t get me wrong.
She made mistakes.
She’s only human after all—as all moms are.
Like allowing me to bring my dirty laundry home when I was still 20-years-old instead of ‘encouraging’ me to wash them myself.
But then she also made me clean an entire bathroom floor using my own old toothbrush, to get between the tiles and teach me the importance of cleaning my home—this was the first place I was renting on my own.
So I suppose that’s a balancing act as well.
In the end, I’d like to think she did a pretty good job though.
I’d even go so far as to say, she did a pretty good job with my siblings too.
But don’t tell them I said that.
As a parent, it’s also one’s job to take photos of one’s children.
To cherish later in life when they’ve grown old and have flown the proverbial nest.
Or to embarrass them to their friends because they’re being dicks.
Which is a little harder nowadays, as children embarrass themselves by taking those old childhood photos, recreating them, diapers and all, for the whole world to see.
So, in time for our mom’s birthday, that’s what my siblings and I did.
After spending a week debating which photo we should recreate and all of us had a different preference, we decided to recreate all three of them.
Which was a bit unfair on some of us.
My wardrobe, which consisted of a teal-checked shirt, a black t-shirt and a Bart Simpsons t-shirt was as easy as, ‘Oh, I still wear black t-shirts today,’ and I was done in minutes. The Bart Simpsons t-shirt hasn’t been in print for decades but I found one that was close enough in another few minutes.
Others didn’t have it as easy.
Like my younger sister Carolina’s outfit where she looks like she’s robbed a geriatric at a nursing home.
In hindsight, recreating three different childhood photos from three different years in an afternoon was hilarious but a lot of work and quite difficult.
Especially when some of those photos turn out to include the wrong children.
Like this one.
That toddler is not my youngest brother Christoffer, which is ironic seeing as he picked the childhood photo but didn’t seem to realise that he wasn’t actually in it.
In his defense, it does look like him, doesn’t it?
Except, the toddler in the photo is about five years younger than Christoffer would have been, something none of us spotted as we debated which photos to recreate.
This last one definitely features all of us.
Last but not least, the photo my mom loves so much it’s been on the fridge door since anyone can remember. In fact, this photo has survived more than it’s fair share of fridges.
So whilst I might not have had much of dad to speak of, at least I had a mom who made us laugh and three siblings to laugh with.
Sometimes at—like the time we tricked one of my brothers that it was okay to stand up on and pee from the kitchen table.
That memory still makes me chuckle.
And to our mom, thank you for the wonderful job you did, despite having more than a handful to deal with and a have a wonderful belated birthday.