independent

Monday 22 July 2019

Don't answer me back! I sounded just like my mother

Justine O'Mahony.
Justine O'Mahony.

It's inevitable, really.

At some stage in our lives we turn into our parents. It's not a conscious choice. But somehow, slowly but surely we morph into our mothers and fathers, saying things we swore we'd never say. It's part of the great mystery of life - a series of indefinable moments that lead us back to where we came from.

My mother had a litany of weird and wonderful sayings that she rolled out for any occasion, particularly when she wanted to express her dissatisfaction at a situation.

Her favourite one in relation to me was always: 'If that one saw a cow sh*****, she'd want pancakes!' For years I didn't get it until someone actually sat me down and explained it - I wanted what everyone else had. That was probably pretty accurate. If my brother were eating a ham sandwich, I'd want one, even though I'd have refused one earlier. When my neighbour got clogs I coveted them so badly I considered sneaking in and robbing them in her sleep.

The 10-year-old watched me getting dressed the other day. 'I'm the only one in my class who hasn't got a Superdry hoodie,' she says, eyeing me putting on the aforementioned garment. She said it so much that day, I actually took it off and gave it to her.

'If you saw a cow sh***** you'd want pancakes!' I snapped.

'Why would I want pancakes? And you just said a rude word,' she replied.

History repeating itself!

A few days later the morphing continued. The Teenager told me he was going out - apparently Lidl is the new place to be seen. He looked like a down and out and that's being kind to him. His tracksuit bottoms were manky, his hoodie the same and he had no socks on with his runners.

'You're not going out like that! You're a hunt!' I said, horrified. Horrified by the sartorial mess of my son, but also by the fact I'd uttered those words, those words I swore I'd never say.

Now for those of you not from the Wexford area, 'a hunt' is a colloquial term meaning 'you're a state', and one many Wexford mothers used during the adolescent years of their offspring.

He started to laugh at me. 'What is a hunt? Is that not where people on horses chase foxes?' 'Don't back answer me!' I retorted. Oh no! Another one from the archive.

'Well, how are we supposed to have a conversation if I don't answer you back?' He was still laughing at me.

I stared stonily at him, not really knowing what to say next. 'Don't. Answer. Me. Back.' He doubles over laughing. Himself arrives home from work. 'What's so funny?' he asks.

'Well mum says I'm a hunt and I'm not to answer her back, so I'll have to ask you for a tenner instead.'

Himself hands him the tenner looking confused and the down and out legs it for Lidl.

'If that fella fell over the quay, he'd come up in a new suit.'

Himself started to laugh. 'You sound just like your mother!

You cannot escape it!

Wexford People

News