“It’s Mental Health Day today Mum, so I’m going to write up one of your stories”. Oh, fine Sonia darling, but please not the wig story. “What wig story, Mum?” When I wore a wig to your office. At least I think I did. It’s annoying, Sonia darling, when your brain doesn’t do what you want it to”. I know Mum, but you DO need to tell me about the wig at the office story. “They’re bringing the tea trolley round – will you be long or my drink will get cold?” Well, as Mum can’t actually remember the office wig story I can recall at least one of them, although I’m wondering now if there were others that I’ve been blissfully unaware of. Wig? Office? My blood drained a little bit from my cheeks as I looked back and wondered about what she could have done, but does it matter now? Said grey wig was something she acquired from her boss whilst working as a cleaner in Swiss Cottage back in the 60s, so it was a bit moth-eaten, scraggy and, let’s be honest, dated. Mum once appeared in it at a family christening and stood at the back of the church hoping nobody would notice her, but when she started heckling the vicar (as is her way) she was outed. And then, horror of horrors, whilst working at Radio 2 on a huge concert idea in Stratford Upon Avon with a full orchestra, superstar guests, accompanying teddy bears and Gyles Brandreth I spotted her making a bee-line for the Controller of the network. The wig ? The wig ? Where have I seen that before ? Oh blimey, Mum ! She was berating the Controller again for giving me too much work, but softened the whole thing by pushing a teddy bear into her hands saying that it was a gift from God. Graceful as ever, the Controller accepted the bear and put it pride of place in front of the conductor’s podium. I thought it better not to interfere or make actual contact until after the show when, hopefully, she would have calmed down and enjoyed the performance. She spotted me and shouted out “Whooo – hooo SONIA – what time are you finished?” Yes, we were recording at the time and editing is a wonderful thing. It’s always been a struggle to reconcile the embarrassing situations with the deep love I have always had for my Mum – my meddlesome Mum who does everything with the sole intent of protecting and supporting me in her special way. They all make for fantastic, funny stories in retrospect of course, but never at the time. So maybe there’s no reconciliation to be done, just love and admiration. So on Mental Health Day I can share that Mum is enjoying afternoon tea with soggy Rich Tea biscuits and plain cheese sandwiches. She knows her brain sometimes lets her down, but she’s never ever let me down as a mother and I hope she would say the same about me as a daughter. If I ask her, she’ll simply take hold of my hand, smile into my eyes for a moment and then get distracted by a random thought or the fun of flinging food around the room. Happy MHD you wonderful woman.
About Sonia’s Mum
Sonia’s Mum is a transformational love story between a mentally complex mother and the daughter who adored her. I want to share these deeply personal and funny stories so that we can raise awareness for how challenging it is for many people who’ve had mentally ill parents and have struggled to come to terms with their own issues.