Last year on Mother’s Day I posted a typically facetious status on Facebook that “My mum is better than your mum…” Now obviously this is pretty subjective stuff, but I don’t think anyone who knows my mum’s story could ever argue with the idea that she is pretty bloody awesome. Here is my list of reasons why:
- Mother-of-three-under-five never meant much to me until I had my own children. Now I wonder how she, and we, are alive.
- And then there is THE wonder that she is alive – she has fought the brave fight against breast cancer twice and is still standing, perkier than ever 😉
- She has grieved for her father for most of her life after he died from bowel cancer on Christmas Day. She was ten years old. Like the plot of a saccharine Spielberg movie, the detail that always makes my heart catch in my chest is that her father bought her an umbrella that Christmas. Do you remember what you were bought for Christmas when you were ten? I don’t.
- She has grieved for a sister who, aged just 43, died too young from breast cancer. My mum was one year younger than I am now when it happened. I have a sister. Just imagining losing her is too big and difficult a thought for my brain to wrap its thoughts around. I just can’t imagine it. And then to be told that you have fallen foul of the same disease that took your closest sibling, and your father, away from you? The terror. Just that. The terror.
- Married at just 18 and a mother for the first time at 24, she did it mostly on her own. Unlike many of her peers she did not have much support from her mother, or other family members, for a variety of reasons that range from the mundanely practical to the emotionally explosive.
- She talks about all of the above with calmness, acceptance and not a trace of bitterness.
- Now, as Nana, consciously or not, she is rebalancing the equation of love and support that should exist between a mother and her child. Her unflinching dedication to me as a mother, and to my children who she adores and who adore her in turn, is softening the hard echo of coldness that stretches down the years.
- In its place she is fostering a place of patience, warmth, love, encouragement and wholehearted acceptance of who these small people are. She inspires me to do the same.
- She never stops reflecting and learning and trying again. She inspires me to do the same.
I hope I can be half as a good a mum to my children as she has been to me. That’ll do nicely.