mother-daughter relationship

Something Ladylike

Prom was a week away and, to my deepest surprise, I was excited. 

“Are you ready?”

My question was posed from behind the door. I rushed through it and into the living room, without bothering to wait for a response. Mum was curled up on our faded old sofa, wrapped up in a shawl despite already being by the fire, nursing a cup of tea and a slice of shortbread. I’d caught her engrossed in one of her dull antique programmes. She reluctantly muted it at my arrival, patting around half-heartedly in search of her glasses, keeping her eyes on the screen. 

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In 1976, no lang eftir colour TV arrived in Shetlan, I knitted twa allovers. Advised by my mam ta acquire some cheap, nylon-based oo fir dis project (a sign o her confidence both in my ability and attention span) I med a broon an cream, geometric-patterned jumper fir mesel, an a blue an white Norwegian Star patterned wan fir my bridder. I did dis on Monday nichts ower at my freend’s hoose. Sho knitted fir her boyfriend in shades o green ta match his een. Wid I ivver have a boyfriend ta knit fir?

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I told you something. I regret that now. 

“Where’s your self-respect?”

Right here where it belongs, stalwart, and unaffected. I wish the rest of my feathers were as difficult to ruffle. 

You are ashamed of me. That’s a shame. You taught me that what society considers normal isn’t always right.

You told me it would almost be better if I was desperate and believed I had no choice, that I was not a self-confident young woman who does as she wishes with her body - despite the restrictions put upon her by society.

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