Of all the literary mothers I met during my formative years, Moominmamma is probably the one nearest my heart. I loved the Moomins, even though reading them often gave me a vague sense of melancholy. I love them now. I am the kind of woman who steals books.from her children – one of the pleasures of motherhood has been reacquainting myself with some old.friends. Re-reading Tove Jansson’s works as an adult has made me realise that they are not children’s books at all.
I learned a lot from the Moomins. I learned not to be a Fillyjonk. (If you don’t know what that means, you are in the wrong post, and possibly the wrong blog). I learned the importance of not trying to change the people you love. I learned that the colour of the first butterfly of the summer is important.
I channel Moominmamma regularly. We have chickens, so we have eggs, so we have pancakes. I cook the pancakes. Moominmamma, c’est moi.
What else do we know about Moominmamma? She makes jam. She probably makes a little too much jam. She makes birch bark boats. She is tolerant. She is kind. She carries a large handbag (oh yes, because when you have small children, you never know when you might need some tissues, or a spare pair of socks, or some raisins.). She loves her things, but not so much that she doesn’t give them away.
But my favourite Moominmamma moment is in Finn Family Moomintroll. Moomintroll hides in the Hobgoblin’s hat and when he emerges he has been transformed. No-one recognises him. They try to make him go away. But Moominmamma looks at him, and knows he is her own Moomintroll.
I want my children to know that no matter what happens, no matter how they change, I will always know them and know that they are mine.
I’m a big fan of the Moomins too. I only found them as a grown up, when I came across Comet in Momminland in a charity shop. When the Kid was just a bump I called him Snuffkin – also called his first teddy that, until he chose another name – Ted. I read them all to the Kid too – except one – Moominvalley in November. There was such an air of melancholy – and no Moomins. Then I read that Tove wrote after her Mum died. That was a bit too raw for me at the time, and I’ve never gone back to it. But I still seek out Moomin paraphernalia 🙂 and am particularly fond of this year’s brightly coloured Moomin calendar!
Wow, seems like a long time ago that I wrote that post. Thank you for reminding me. I love Snufkin. And every Christmas I read the Moomin Christmas story, just to remind myself to get it all into perspective…
I found this post while I was looking for your Rainbow story that I’m convinced I saw but that it was stuck in the comments of a completely different post on my blog. Can’t find it anyway. The good thing is that I found this. I have been a fully paid up card carrying member of the Moomin appreciation society since I was about nine. I love them, would like to be Moominmama one day and read the stories regularly to remind myself how to react in different situations. Heaven is Moominvalley, and the Moomin family will return. The true second coming.