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.