Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the wonderful women in our lives who gave us life, love and laughter. So rather than retell my dream from last night today I thought I’d take the opportunity to send out a tribute to my mum; the best mum I could have ever asked for.
As a child, I think we all have this innocent, unwavering belief that our parents are the best parents in the world. It seems obvious to our developing brains that these people who provide us with unconditional love, warmth, food and a home are the most amazing people in the world. Lucky for me, I never lost that view. I still think my parents are the most amazing people in the world.
As a child, my Mum was my best friend. Some of my best childhood memories are from all those times we spent together and all the lessons in life she imparted to me. She taught me how to cook – we would waste away days concocting cakes, slices and cupcakes together. The most important thing she taught me about cooking though would have to be the beauty of licking the beaters and the bowl – a tradition I still engage with now as an adult! My mum also taught me how to sew – every rainy Sunday she would pull out her sewing machine and set me up with a machine designed for kids. Whilst she spent time mending clothes, curtains and odds and ends, I spent time carefully following her actions to sew my few bits of paper together. As I grew older and was allowed to move on from my toy machine to the real thing, she taught me how to thread the needle, change the settings and sew together anything that needed fixing – an invaluable skill I have thanked her for repeatedly when things need altering and mending again and again over time.
Besides the practical things in life, my mum taught me to share and be kind to others. My first real childhood friend spent a lot of time at my house and vice versa, and Mum taught me the value of letting her play with the best toys just for a little while because she was the guest. I’d get them back after a few hours when she left and making our guests happy and content was an important part of making us happy and content. As a four year old, I have to admit I was not very happy about handing over my favourite Barbie doll or my best pair of fairy wings… But I did it anyway. And as much as I wouldn’t have admitted it back then, it was a very valuable skill to have learnt and I’m so glad I had someone there to teach it to me.
My mum taught me how to love. She showed me the value of loving and cherishing others for who they are, not where they stand or what they do – just for them. As I’ve gone through life, this lesson has been more than valuable to me. Throughout the different stages of my life I’ve seen people discriminate against others for their status, gender, disability, socio-economic status, race; really anything they can pick on; and I’ve always prided myself and cherished the lessons my mother taught me around treating everyone equally. I especially recall how proud I was one day in kindergarten when my best friend was dragged away from me in morning assembly one day (no small thing I assure you – standing alone after this was life social suicide). Rather than follow like a sheep and subject myself to ridicule, I did what my Mum would have wanted me to do – I approached the girl in line who was always picked on and teased for her weight and race (5 years olds can be so cruel I tell you) and I made friends with her. There were so many other people in that line I could have chosen to stand with, but it was the wisdom of my mother than led me to embrace those who are excluded or on the perimeter and show them that someone cares. It is something I have always carried with me and tried to do throughout school and the workplaces I have been in. I can honestly say though, that I would not be the person I am today without her input into my social development and the way she taught me to love and accept people for who they are.
As I grew older, I became a rebellious teenager in many ways (because that’s just the thing to do these days apparently). I went though a few mental health issues, and am aware I scared the crap out of her a few times when things got really bleak for me. Without her by my side through it all though, I don’t know where I would be today. She was my rock – and still is my rock – and it was because of her that I got through things. I can’t even describe how important she is to me, except to say that without her I don’t know if I would be here today, or if I would be the person I am today.
As an adult, I can look back on all the fond memories I have of my Mum. We laughed and sang our way through 80s and 90s pop music into hairbrushes as we danced around the kitchen working up a sweat many, many times. We cried together over broken hearts, wiping away each others tears and cuddling throughout the night in bed when needed. We devoured cookie dough and chai lattes as we perused our favourite tv show, Charmed, every week together. We still like to engage in this tradition when we can as we catch up on Revenge and The Vampire Diaries – though we’ve added Garlic Prawns to the menu and a run the next day to work it all off!!! We shared books, commiserated over great book hangovers (and real alcohol hangovers), scorned the books we didn’t like, and shared in the excitement of Sookie Stackhouse’s experiences together. Now that we’re a similar shape and size, we share clothes, ideas, dreams and travel experiences together. I never needed a sister or a best friend – I always had it in my mother, and I always will.
Another amazing woman in my life that I feel I also need to say a few words about is my Aunty. This woman is one of the single strongest women I know, and has taught me so much about the hard times in life and how to get through. As a child, she was always around and I spent quite a lot of time with her. She was forever fixing my hair into ponytails and plaits, but I always felt so jealous I couldn’t have her long hair that trailed down to her waist. My cousin was a few years younger than me, and born with severe cerebral palsy. I got to spend a lot time with her and my Aunty, and was introduced to the not so nice side of life very early on. I would go with them most weeks to the Spastic Centre and play with the kids there. I would spend my days laying next to my cousin and help my Aunty feed and care for her when I could. And I grew up with an attitude of respect and reverence for both people with a disability and those who look after them. When we lost my cousin at the age of 13, I watched her crumble and saw her spirit crushed. But she recovered – and seeing someone come back from that had to be the single more inspiring thing I have seen in my life. She has faced so much heartache, been through so much and she is still so strong and wise. She now works in the disability industry, putting her skills to work and improving others quality of life. She has been there for me when I need her at any time of the day or night, and is such an amazing woman. Just like my mother, she has held me and consoled me when I needed it. Laughed and enjoyed the good things in life with me. I just want to let her know how amazing I truly think she is, and how much I love and value her in my life.
So, to sum this all up, I just wanted to take the opportunity today to say thank you to the most amazing, strong, beautiful and wonderful woman I know. You’re my mother, my best friend, my confidant and my idol. I love you more than anything Mum, and the lessons you’ve taught me have made me into the strong, steadfast, successful woman I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am without you and your belief in me no matter what path I choose (and there’s been a few) has been unwavering and so important and cherished to me. So thank you for putting up with all my crap, getting me through all the bad times and celebrating with me through the good. I look forward to the next stage in our lives, and I can’t wait for my children to meet you one day and to benefit from your loving and wonderful nature as I have throughout life.
I love you so much Mum, thank you xxxx