Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My Mother, My Hero

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

I've always loved that quote. I've spent many a moment trying to distinguish just what it is that makes my mother so special, and there it is, in someone else's words but I couldn't have said it better.

Growing up, I was definitely my father's child. It isn't that I didn't love my mother, I just regarded her as the disciplinarian, the sterner of the two, the one whose word was law. She was the one who made every attempt to be at Christmas concerts, sports days, ballet recitals, PTA meetings, birthday parties all the while holding down a full-time job and somehow, I was still my father's child.

Then I turned 14, and something strange happened. Puberty arrived later for me than most girls I knew, but brought with it an acute awareness that there was more to my mother than perhaps met my eye. Perhaps setting out on the path to womanhood gave me access to a window into her soul that had previously been veiled from me. I began to see more of myself in her, and with that awareness came understanding. And then, I looked around at all the other grown women I knew, and it dawned on me that my mother was indeed something very special.

I began to see her strength, even in the face of what must surely have felt like insurmountable obstacles. Her acute insights into the things that bothered me the most. Her uncanny ability to put a positive twist on every negative event in our lives. Her sensitivity always tempered with practical advice. Her unshakeable faith that things would work out, and her determination to do everything in her power to make it come to pass. Perhaps what I identified with the most was realising just how emotional she is. She is a woman of great passions, often moved to tears at the drop of a hat. She taught me that it was perfectly okay to cry, just as long as you remember to wipe away the tears and keep pushing on. She has become my rock, my solace, my sounding board, my best friend, but above all, she is my hero.

My mother's life has been a lesson in selflessness, one that it has taken maturity to truly observe. I look at my mother and I see reflected in her the essence of all that I hope to be. If I can grow up to be half as strong, loving, thoughtful, generous, kind-spirited, and yes, selfless as she is then I will truly be blessed. In the meantime, I will continue to be grateful for her presence in both my life and the lives of the many others she continues to touch.

Happy Birthday Mummy. The world is not big enough to contain all my love for you.