My mother doesn't drive. Never has. My Dad started teaching her at one stage, but Mum never followed the lessons through and never got her driver's licence.
As a result, she and I walked everywhere. Unless, of course, we had to travel a distance not suited to walking. Like the time at age seventeen when I had to see a specialist situated a number of suburbs away from our home. I grew up in Perth, and the public transport system wasn't particularly flexible back then. It took us two buses and two hours to get to that appointment; a fifteen to twenty minute (at most) car journey.
About a ten minute walk from home was a small shopping centre. Apart from the weekly food shopping that was carried out at the local Coles in the next suburb - that Dad drove us to every Thursday evening after work (followed by fish and chips for dinner) - on the occasion Mum needed a little extra during the week, we used to walk to the local shopping centre together.
Mum always took her wheelie shopping bag with her. It was brown vinyl. Or was it blue? I can't really recall, but I can still picture Mum dragging it behind her, our matching long, white boots clicking on the pavement as we walked in unison to the shops. She would fill the shopping bag with all the basics, and home again we would travel.
The older I got, the more daggier I thought the vinyl wheelie shopping bag was. Eventually, it died, and I never thought anymore of it.
That is, not until many years later - now a mother myself - when I spied a collection of them in a hardware store one Sunday afternoon. They appeared updated and more practical. As soon as I saw them, I thought of Mum and couldn't help but smile. Eventually, I purchased one myself from a garden centre which also stocks a variety of knick-knacks for the home. Mine is pretty funky. It's green with multi-coloured stripes on the lid and various pockets that store my purse, my iPhone and whatever else I need to take with me to the shops.
Sometimes, the boys pull it along for me. Youngest Son has made numerous trips to the local fruit market with me and the wheelie shopping bag in tow.
I was pulling it along a few weeks ago after a spot of fruit and vegie shopping up the road, walking slowly past my sons' school up the pathway to home. The street is so pretty this time of year, with flowers growing on the trees along our nature strip, their branches bending over the pathway. As I walked, I thought back to the days shopping with my Mum all those years ago, her own shopping bag in tow, and suddenly my eyes welled with tears. Now, living on the other side of the country, I see my parents rarely these days. I miss them.
However, my wheelie shopping bag is a small reminder of all the simple things I enjoyed doing with my Mum as a kid, like walking to our local shops with her. Having my own wheelie shopping bag brings me just that little bit closer to her.
I am my mother's daughter.
Happy Mother's Day, Mum.