I was overcome before I had even open the gift my mother handed me that Friday morning in June. It was a book. I could see the cover through the white plastic bag (my mother does not share my fondness of making the wrapping a gift on its own). It was Dr Seuss’s “Oh the places you will go”.
“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”
With one simple gift and not a single word spoken she had hit the ball out of the park. As I stood there with my its-feeling-sorry-for-myself-day hair – tea cup in my hand – I felt it. A connection with my mother so perfect and so unexpected that I froze – scared that any sudden movements or words would startle it away.
You see I am a middle child of the 70’s. Allowing myself to feel understood is like cheating – on myself. And yet on that particular morning my mom got it righter than right and cheating felt good!
“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Whereveryou go, you will top all the rest…. Except when you don’t. Because, sometime, you won’t.”
I had hit the ‘except when you don’t’ with my youngest of three not even a year old and the pressures of being a working mother getting the better of me.
“On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far And face up to your problems whatever they are.”
I didn’t open or read book until a couple of days after. Knowing what the book was about was enough. Shortly after I started writing Memoirs of a Middle Child. It is a celebration of childhood, motherhood and everything in the middle.
“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ per cent guaranteed).”
Memoirs of a Middle Child is the personal accounts of Alda Smith, middle child, mother of three and birth photographer. To subscribe to Memoirs of a Middle Child you need to subscribe to the Love Alda Newsletter.