You sat with infinite patience, showing me how to linocut. The tool dug out satisfying strips curling on the table. Together, our inky hands made patterns on paper. It didn’t matter if they were good. We laughed.
You copied a picture of a princess from my book, your skilful pencil drawing the neat outlines. Then from the scrap bag you cut pieces of silk and cotton into the shape of the princess’s dress and shoes and glued wool for her curling hair. I remember your fingers building the picture for me, soft and silvered by the shining brocade.
You sewed me costumes for school, the peasant’s dress, the bunny ears.
You sat and showed me how to draw, ‘the fewer lines the better,’ you said.
You showed me how to make scones, our hands floury together, rubbing in butter and sprinkling sugar.
You read my favourite story over and over when I couldn’t sleep until the words story were etched in your bored brain, yet you still read it again when I asked.
You taught me to read, I remember the word cards in your hands in the light from the window as you opened that magic world to me, letter by letter.
And now, you teach me photography and on Sunday afternoons, sometimes you sit with your sewing as I write or cook and sometimes we hunch over digital images and let the dinner sort itself out.
You taught me everything I needed to know, except housework.
You never showed me how to do housework, because we were far too busy having fun with the important things in life.
Thank you Mum. I love you.
Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission