Parents are basically boring

Here's my Extremely Dull family on a mountain outing in northern Pakistan back when I was 13.

Here's my Extremely Dull family on a mountain outing in northern Pakistan back when I was 13.

When I was 13, it dawned upon me one day, like a flash of overwhelming understanding, that my mother was boring. 

(Dear Mum, if you are reading this, please don't stop here and cry. Keep reading. The point of this post will be clear very soon.) 

All she did, really, all day, was well, *nothing much*. Maybe a bit of cooking, maybe some shopping, perhaps some washing. But you know, what's all that worth?

How come I was born to a mother whose life was so humdrum? Why wasn't she out doing exciting stuff, like other, cooler parents? Maybe curing malaria or TB? Or writing books? Or... anything really.  

In the same zap of wisdom and insight, I also suddenly knew  that *my* life was going to be wild, adventurous, world-changing and rich. I was going to Get Out There. Do Things. See the World. Live!

Fast forward 27 years. 

I am pretty sure  that this year, a fourteen year old living in my house has been struck by a flash of overwhelming understanding that her  mother is boring. That all she really does all day is, well, nothing much. And that her own  life is going to be one adrenalin-filled adventure after another, unlike her dull, practically *comatose* parents.

It is more than likely that when I was 13, I criticised my mother. It may not have been openly, but there are more ways than words to convey judgment and disdain. 

Mum. I apologise.  

Because it hurts to have your choices criticised. And it feels bad when the sacrifices you've made to stay home and be there  for your children are forgotten by the very children they've been made for. 

By the way, my mum was anything but boring. She lived in a mud house in a desert in Pakistan. She worked in literacy programs, as a teacher, and developing curriculum. She drank chai made the real way with boiled buffalo milk and way too much sugar. She visited Hindu outcast villages, learned a new language, negotiated with househelp.

At the time that I dismissed her as dull, she was living in the Himalayan mountains in the middle of the monsoon season, without any transport, and with her husband more than 1200km away. She ate mangoes. She kept us clean, dry and fed despite water shortages, power cuts and never ending rain. She worked hard, and yes, housework counts! 

One day, in about 27 years time, an identical blog post will be written by the aforementioned teenager in which she will also recognise that life is life, and that her mother wasn't quite as dull as she assumed. 

In the meantime, I'll continue to live my life, and enjoy what I do and try not to take it all too personally. Oh, and think about and really value my own mum's contribution to my life.