Sometimes, I think that my mum should have been a gangster. The Polly Gray of our family. When she was growing up, she wanted to join the police force but her grandfather wouldn’t let her. He was a retired policeman that ran a martial arts school. He also raised my mum and her little brother. So really, it’s no wonder my mum has always had this natural fierceness about her.
Being a grandmother has softened my mum’s edges, but it peeps out from time to time. My sisters and I call it her cockerel stance. One leg out, her hands on her hips and her eyes locked in on her target. We can all laugh about it now, but growing up my mum’s temper was famous- our cousins were terrified of her. She has a razor sharp tongue and an index finger that will point into your soul.
I find myself standing in a cockerel stance now in the playground. When someone’s child is playing too rough around Ava or if a parent ignores the unspoken swing etiquette and lets their little turnip swing forever. I catch myself with my finger ready to waggle, a sign of my own fierce Index Finger beginning to emerge.
My mum has passed her fierceness over to me and I wonder if I’ll pass it onto Ava. Right now, in her Sesame Street pyjamas as she plays on the floor with her toy bus, I can’t see it yet. Like mother, like daughter, it’ll come round.7