You can be an astronaut and the first human being sitting on the surface of Mars, a 21 year-old literary genius with a Nobel Prize you received for your 2600-page Homeresque epic, or a real-life Harry Potter with magic powers and all – there are still things you will never, ever, be able to do better than your mother.
1. Console your child
The feelings of sadness and hopelessness and futility never dissipate as fast as when your mother holds you in your arms and tells you that everything is going to be alright; the world is suddenly no longer bleak, the days are sunny and warm, and the nights moonlit and silvery.
You feel like you’ll never be able to make your child go from 100-0 as your mum made you (nor will you ever be able to make your child blow up from 0-100 as she made you, either, but that’s a whole other subject).
2. Iron shirts or dresses
What magical skills does this woman possess to be able to iron out every fold, crease, crinkle, and at the same time not burn, wrinkle, or maim the fabric beyond recognition?
3. Tell someone off
You are 6’5”, 20 stones of muscle. You can out wrestle a giant, pacify a bear, and stand your ground against a tornado; but, boy oh boy, how you wouldn’t like to call on mum and ask her to chase away the kids shouting under your window, barge in on a 2am party on the fourth floor, or tell off the supermarket cashier who just tried to short-change you.
You can do it yourself, sure. Results may even be favourable. But no one does it better than her – to this day you are in awe of how people’s knees buckle whenever mum gets cross.
As a kid, you felt that your mother’s primary role was to cook you food, keep you safe, and make sure you were clean.
Nowadays you know it isn’t so – all these things were just results of her love for you. But, by god, no one in the history of mankind has ever made sausage and mash that good.
The black pudding? Her famous pork pie? Whatever happens with the world, Mom will always be cook number one.
5. Love you
Father, husband, wife, children – they all love you, each in their own different way.
But no love holds a candle to that of mother for her son or daughter. It is the most fundamental, most basic emotion in both animal and human nature.
Except when you’re a teenager who doesn’t tidy their room; then it briefly, for a couple of years, goes on to flirt with the emotions of anguish and resentment.
6. Make you feel worthless
It’s not like she is doing it on purpose. The feeling of worthlessness is inherent to the mother-child relationship, and it stems from the fact that she worries.
She worries about you – about your career, your health, your choice of partner, everything. She worries if she did a good job with you.
Sometimes, seeing as they are, in fact, human beings, mothers project their own fears onto their children and end up telling them things like: “You’ll never get into a good university.” “You’ll never graduate from university.” “Following your dreams of becoming an environment activist? I think not!” “You can’t go out with your friends right now. Why? Because I say so.” And so on.
Even though these things can suffocate you, make you miserable, and make you feel like your parents aren’t even good people to begin with – they just fear for your well being. Nothing more.
Whenever you try to sew a button back on, you make the scene look like an aftermath of the Battle of Agincourt. Never, even when instructed, were you able to figure out how she guides that needle so skilfully, threads it with the precision of a master bowman, and ends the operation with the meticulousness of a surgeon.
8. Bring the family together
Even Tony Soprano can’t do it the way mum does. When she calls for a family gathering, it is as if she’s issuing an order, passing a new law; it feels like she isn’t inviting them to come, she is telling them.
Uncle and aunt and niece and nephew and the ailing grandparents and her cousin and your father’s second cousin – they’re all there. How?
She just smiles. She will never tell. It is a secret deeply ingrained within the fibres of motherhood.
9. Sing songs without knowing the lyrics
My mother could make the Camptown Races by Stephen Foster sound exactly like the original by singing just the chorus.
You all know it, it’s the “Doo-dah! doo-dah! Oh, doo-dah day!” song. The parts of the song she didn’t know, she’d just hum. And it was flawless.
10. Leave as many doors open
Whenever your mum came into your room when you were a teenager, be it to put the washing away, open your window, or just come in for the sake of it, the woman gave off the impression of being born on a boat.
Not once did she close the doors behind her, and if she did, she didn’t do it all the way. It left you calling after her and dreading the next ten seconds, unsure if she would be coming back or not. Tough times.
11. Ascertain whether you are going to need your jacket outside or not
It is as if the woman has an in-built sonar, barometer, or whatever it is that you need to be able to gauge the mercurial British weather with such craftsman-like precision. Naturally, one might argue that every Brit can actually predict the weather with utmost certainty, but your mother does it with such style, elegance, and precision that no other man or woman can challenge her on it.
With one peek outside the window she can tell that the clear-blue sky is going to turn into a rolling ocean beneath a thunderstorm just half an hour later. The Weather Woman, ladies and gentlemen!
And for all that, never fail to tell her you love her. Never fail to show her how much she really means to you. Every now and then, send her a card or some flowers. Or even better, both.