Lessons learned

Today I started thinking about my mum.  I have had a busy day filled with family, decorating and tidying up.  It got me thinking about my mum.

I never had the best relationship with my mother.  Mostly it stems from her having too many children for her to be able to devote any considerable amount of time with.  It was not until I had five kids of my own that I realised what a dilemma it would be trying to divide your time equally amongst all of your children.  My mum had eight more kids than I did and it takes an effort to really dedicate all your time to your kids.

When I was a teenager I found it hard to relate to my mother.  I felt that she was quite distant, I felt that she did not share a lot of herself personally with us.  I felt like it was hard to break through her hard shell and really get to know her.  How much do teenagers really want to know about their parents?  I just did not feel a connection to her at all and this was probably quite obvious to other members of my family. 

Later on in life this all changed dramatically.  I saw my mum through a different perspective when I had my own children.  I saw that I did not make a proper effort to get to know her until it was almost too late.  I saw a woman who hid quite a lot of personal pain in her life.  I saw a woman who did not like to talk about her own background and I realised this was because she found it really difficult to talk about a painful episode in her life. 

I wish now I had taken a little more care with her.  I wish I had gotten her to share her childhood with me.  I wish I had gotten to know much more about her family.  It is too late now to find out all about them because she is no longer here to ask.  What I did manage to do before my mother died – was repair all the gulfs that existed between us.  I got to spend time with her, I got to make her laugh, I got to help her get through a difficult time in her life. 

I renewed a bond that had always been there but now and again got strained or damaged just through the ravages of real life.  I saw her go through terrible pain, devastating loss and real hardship and she always came out stronger on the other side.  I saw a woman hold onto her dignity as she went through many trials of life. 

Over the years I had tried to make sense of our relationship.  When I was younger, I in my teenage years saw a woman who I felt did not like me all that much but was always there for me.  I saw a woman who was occasionally disappointed in me but always was steady in her support.  I saw a woman who had so much to give to the world but never really got a chance to shine in the way I knew she could.  I saw a woman who in many ways was defined by the role she played as mother to thirteen kids but she was so much more than that. 

My mum loved to help people – that is one of the reasons why she volunteered for advisory organisations and fostered more kids.  My mum loved to learn – that is why she got her degree later on in life.  My mum loved life – that is where I get my enthusiasm for everything.  My mum loved her family – that is where I learned about love. 

Most of all in her last years of life I found out that my mum loved me.  All along – even when I was an obnoxious teenager – she still loved me.  My mum loved my kids – not just because they were her grandchildren but also because they were an extension of me.  I learned that my mum had a wealth of advice and support to give.  I learned that life is hard and what is important is how you learn from your mistakes. Life is not about regret but about making the best of the time you are here.  My mum taught me that life is far too short to worry about things that may never happen.  It is not worth worrying about things you cannot change.

My mum taught me that you have to hold on to life with every bit of strength you have.  The only thing I would like to be able to say about my life is that I lived it well and my mum is the woman that taught me how to do that.  I miss her so much.  If there ever was a time I needed to talk to my mother it is now.  I would share all my hopes, fears, hurt and life with her.  I would embrace her and tell her I loved her – more than life, I love that woman.  I never actually said the words to her at the end but I knew she knew.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that she did not doubt my depth of feeling for her but I still wish I had uttered those words. 

So this post is dedicated to the best mum I could ever have.  It is dedicated to the woman who gave birth to me.  It is dedicated to the woman who loved me – always.  it is dedicated to a shining example of motherhood but also a fantastic woman.   

Mum – I love you.



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