I saw a wonder today.
I took my Mother to the Science Museum. She’s never been; she’s lived on the edge of the city for many years, yet such things are a mystery to her. She knows Harrod’s, Harvey Nick’s, Oxford Street… but after that, the map says ‘Here Be Dragons’.
In the 60s, my Mum was air hostess, flying BEA and Jersey Airlines out of the Channel Islands. There are pictures of her, exquisitely glamorous with her little hat perched on top of her swept blonde beehive… I’ve no idea how I manage to be her daughter and such an irredeemable scruff. I knew the Flight exhibit would be special, but I don’t think I was prepared for how much.
This afternoon, I’ve spent an hour watching my Mother walk through her past, seen the memories shadow her gaze and pass across her face like ghosts. I don’t know what they were – only pieces – but to see her youth suddenly shining like that brought a lump to my throat and I had to turn away.
It’s easy to think of our parents as through their lives began when ours did, to forget that they were young and foolish and reckless too. Seeing my Mum transformed like that, seeing the magic of her twenties and thirties, her life and hopes and dreams, seeing everything she loved and lived for…
Even typing it now brings tears to my eyes.
That was quite the most wondrous thing.