It’s National Storytelling Week this week. It’s also the week my Mum turns 70 (gulp – how old does that make me?!). I find that quite fitting. After all it was my Mum, like many mothers before her and since, who introduced me and my three sisters to the magic of stories.
My Mum – warm and squishy – her full bosom the perfect place to lay my sleepy head. Where her heart would beat reassuringly in my ear and her voice would resonate through her chest. I don’t remember the words but I remember the sweet echo of safety.
She was full of creativity and love, surrounding herself with children and filling their little hearts up full.
She took on various jobs to make sure we got by, waitressing, making tiles, she even donned the fine robes of Mr Wimpy (oh how proudly I told my school friends that my mum was Mr Wimpy).
Childminding was her main thing though, and so her creativity was put to play in the games and activities that children cry out for. The one I remember most is the Storytelling Tree. Mum walked us to and from school each day – her youngest two daughters and the children she cared for – through the old tannery, with its suffocating odour, and right by the storytelling tree. She named it so and would stop regularly (I’m sure not every trip) beside this tree to tell us stories from her imagination. I didn’t know that until years later when I asked her about the stories she told by that tree, and she said ‘Just ones from my head mostly’ She’d tell the well known ones too, she said. Neither is an easy thing to do. I know from trying myself.
Now I share my love of stories and reading with my children. I’ve tried out telling stories under trees a few times too. I don’t think I do it quite how mum did, but the love is there deep in my roots and that makes it easy to pass on.
So on this Storytelling Week and your big birthday week Mum, I want to say thank you, for introducing me to the magic of stories while I was still so young, and for filling my heart and my imagination right up. Because of you my life has been full of magic. You’re the best x
And Happy National Storytelling Week everyone!