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  • I have just spent 3 hours cleaning my home. I am filled with mixed emotions. Satisfaction. Tiredness. Inadequacy.
    Cleaning always makes me think of my Mother.
    Mum was a small child when her Mother died. It was during WW2, and the world was falling around her in terrifying efficiency, and her Mum was a casualty.
    My Mother was packed off to an evacuation home. She remembers little of this, and I don't know how much of her forgetfulness is by choice. To lose ones Mum, ones safety, ones home, and ones father in one month, must be devastating for a 4 year old.
    Her Father missed her. He too had lost everyone and needed the safety of his little girl in his arms. He knew he could protect her. Together they fought Hitler and saved London.
    Her Dad then married the housekeeper.
    The housekeeper took on the role with a relish and learnt her step-mothering style from the best of fairy tales. She shunned the little red head and mocked her grief. She complained about her husband spending so much of his time with his daughter and in the end she was packed off to live with cousins.
    Here she was put to work in the general store they owned, was teased, wore hand-me-downs, was reprimanded, was loved.
    So, my Mum grew up without a mother to show her the ropes. She often was saddened by her inability to be a wonderful housewife. She knew there were tricks she would never learn because her Mother took those secrets, amongst many others, with her. The dusty mantlepiece with my Grandma's photo looking down on us was a regret filled cup. The stain that would not leave the tablecloth, a letter from the past, uninterpreted.
    I carry this inadequacy.
    I once asked my paternal Nana how she keeps her silver so shiny. She answered 'just spit and polish'. I never asked for more, and now her secrets have drifted away from me.
    There is so much to ask, so much to learn, and so much lost forever.
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