Today is a day when mothers are celebrated honoured and spoiled because of who she is and what she represents in their lives. Children, whether small, teenagers, young adults or grown ups acknowledge the value mum adds to their lives … just by being. As I sat in Church this morning and watched the video clips of different members of our church family reflect on aspects of their mothers my mind wandered to what I might have said about my mum.
Mum died when I was fourteen so she wasn’t around to create those memories of girls’ nights out, shopping, wedding arrangements, organising baby showers or baking birthday cakes for my children. With each milestone my children reached I missed her and wondered how she would have reacted. What would she think of my son and daughter? What kind of a great-grandmother would she have been? What kind of grandmother for that matter. There are no answers only my imaginings; and therein lies the tension: the difference between how I imagine her as a grandmother and the reality of what may have been.
While the video unfolded with chuckles all about, I thought of the values and lessons my mother taught me in the short time we were mother and daughter. It is family that provide us with values and attributes from which we select the ones we will take with us when we leave home. Here are some of the things my mum taught me.
- Keeping in touch with those we love and care about is important. Every week she wrote to me at boarding school. I knew how Coco the daschund was doing, where my father was in his travels, what was happening in the household and how Granny and Grandpa were. Every now and again she dropped in a snippet of family gossip (always a note of naughty deliciousness). Every week I waited in line for my name to be called; and every week it was, a testament to my mum’s commitment to nourishing our relationship. Her beautiful cursive handwriting purred across the pages of onion skin writing paper that crackled and smelled of her perfume Youth Dew.
- Friendships are valuable and worth nurturing. She was a Cordon Bleu (a Master Chef) cook and when her friends came to dinner it was a full day’s preparation. She planned the menu (three courses), set the table, arranged the flowers, folded the linen napkins, polished the silver, filled the decanters and then she cooked the meal. She cherished her friendships and knew the value in the process of preparation.
- Be your best you at all times, sincere and honest. When you step out the front door, look the best you can. She took pride in her appearance and dressed immaculately. Her hair creatively coiffured and her make up perfectly applied.
- That mothers are human. No one is perfect not even mum.
- To keep fighting even when the specialists have given up hope you fight some more. You never give up because others have given up. If you’re alive, you fight the good fight and when the experts had closed her case she sought alternative methods of healing. They gave some relief but ultimately not a cure.
- To be brave. I don’t remember my mother ever being pain free I also never heard her complain.
- That when the stresses of the day and the juggling of so many roles got her down and she yelled and shouted at us, it taught me that mothers are human after all. No one is perfect not even mum.
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”