My mum and dad are still in love. As my sister and I drove haphazardly around the streets of Noosa last Christmas, looking for our little holiday unit where Shane and Angie Baxter were waiting with a spread of exotic dishes mum had painstakingly prepared, we received a text, urging us to quicken the pace. It said, “Hurry up, your father and I are mastering karma sutra in every room of the apartment. Love Mummy Bear.” We hurried. It was a joke…I think.
Last night on the phone to mum I cringed with envy as she relayed to me the series of events that coloured their Saturday night. They are so cool. And not in a kitschy, dorky, ‘so offbeat it’s on’ sense, but in a genuine, ‘please be my best friend, and teach me how to be like you’, cool.
Mum calls me ‘minga’, which I love. It reminds me not to take myself so seriously, which sometimes I do. There’s a voicemail I’ve saved, which I would equate to a warm hug. She requests ‘RING ME BACK MINGA!’ in shrill tones, most likely recorded while also chopping veggies, jotting down ideas for fund-raising events and doing squats.
I believe she heard me use the term, once, and now she’s very nearly ‘killed’ it, as my brother has told her, often. My brother was once incredibly fond of the Presets ‘Talk Like That’, which our Mum used for an aerobics class. As the ‘uh oh’s from the chorus ensued for a month throughout the house, I’m now forbidden to share with her any song my brother is even mildly attached to, for fear she’d irreversibly taint its cool. Why do some youths think that ‘adults’ instantly devalue something? How about those that recoil in disgust when someone says how alike their mother they are?
I adore how Mum expresses her excitement for something boldly and unashamedly. I think too often people suppress excitement for fear of their opinion not being widely shared by those they look up to. Mum will spy a button necklace at the markets and then, without consulting anyone, wear one she’s crafted herself, consistently for a month. And rock it.
And she thinks we’re cool, my brother, my sister and I. Her awe is genuine as I relay descriptions of a really incredible derelict building I explored one night after crawling through rust-ridden chicken wire. I’ve witnessed, and perhaps you have too, a selfishly laconic response when a parent merely wants to know the detail of their child’s experience. Perhaps they don’t realise how it would be savoured.
My father is effortlessly cool. I stop in at record stores to check if they have this one Randy Newman album ‘Sail Away’ that he mentioned he wanted, once. I want him to think I’m cool. I love that I have to convince him that not flying to Mexico for a wedding would be fatal, or that an outfit I’m wearing is actually not a costume, and that a vegan meal I’ve cooked is worth the risk of taking a bite.
He’s a teacher with unfailing patience, and merely shakes off comments that for me would invoke a fit of rage, followed by loud sobs. Friends of mine, inebriated, have professed their deep respect for him, despite their juvenile actions to the contrary when they were his students. In these instances, I’m kindly reminded of the thankless tasks my parents perform each day, as parents and teachers.
And so on the Saturday in question, Angie and Shane Baxter ventured to a strip of clubs in Nth Qld, and following a series of events, namely a failed attempt at a conga line, and numerous Mt Gay rum and cokes (a text from her read “hey Gemmy, I’m turning gay again…” Oh mother, I hope I’m the only one you share this with), the bouncer kindly suggested to my dear sweet folks that they eject themselves, and find another venue in which to exhibit their line dancing and pelvic thrusts (it’s genetic).
If someone approached me and said I reminded them of Mum or Dad, I’d beam with pride.