Mum with her newest grandchild, Lilly, my niece

Mum with her newest grandchild, Lilly, my niece

I’m not a big fan of Mother’s Day.  I love the concept – it’s wonderful to appreciate our mums, and I love the little loving notes my daughter gives me, but the actual day itself is always a bit of a non-event.  My Mum lives far away, my husband always works, my sister goes to her mother-in-law, so after church when everyone else rushes off to their special mother’s day lunches, I’m always at a bit of a loss as to what to do.  But I love and appreciate my Mum so I want to share some of the things I’m glad my mother taught me.

1)    My mother gave me a love of all things creative – books, stories, theatre, art, singing etc.  My earliest memories of my Mum were of her reading to us, or writing down our stories, of her sitting outside in the bush sketching a tree or talking with us about her acting days.  Even when she was doing boring things like housework, she was always singing or humming.

2)    There is no such thing as too many hugs or too much love.  My Mum was always very affectionate and affirming of her four children and that’s something I really appreciate.

3)    How to make a proper roué, real gravy and a good omelette.  I can’t claim to be much of a cook, but those kind of basic skills come in very handy.

4)    That it’s never too late to learn something new.  Our church lost their organist quite a few years ago, so my mum started learning the organ at age 69.  She’s now 75 and still playing the organ every week.  Onya Mum!

5)    Never be ashamed of who you are, your family history or anything about your family because all those things make you who you are.  Growing up in a small town, it was sometimes hard to be different, but now I am pretty relaxed about who I am and where I come from.

Mum and Dad engagement

Mum and Dad celebrating their engagement

6)    When picking a fellow, make sure you can be yourself with him.  Mum used to tell us this story about her little cappuccino test.  She liked to eat the froth off her cappuccino with a teaspoon.  One time when she was out on a date, the fellow she was with told her off for eating her cappuccino froth.  (Not the done thing, apparently.) Needless to say, he didn’t last long.  So when she went out with my Dad, she ate the froth off her cappuccino again to see how he would react.  He just smiled and laughed good-naturedly.  She told us that story a few times, so I got the message that your hubby should be someone you can relax and be yourself with.

7)    If you’re ever feeling shy at a party, just start offering something around.  My parents used to have a few dinner parties and us kids always had to pass around the beer nuts, the camembert and water crackers and my personal favourite, the ‘devils on horseback’.  I was a pretty shy kid, so now whenever I’m in an awkward social situation, I just grab something and start pouring it, passing it, offering it or re-filling it.

8)    A smile is free and it makes people feel good.  When I was a kid, my Mum used to take us to the local pool and the whole time she was watching us she was always smiling.  My friends used to say, “Why does your mum smile all the time?”  And I don’t mean that kind of fake, plaster-a-smile-on-your-face-even-when-things-are-going-crap smile.  It was just a genuine, natural kind of smile that is a response to enjoying the moment or being genuinely pleased to see you.

9)    Be content with the life you have.  This is probably a reflection of my last point, but the main thing I learnt from my mother is to be content, whatever your circumstances.  To be honest, I’m completely hopeless at this, but I do try.

10) You don’t have to yell, get cross or lose your temper to teach your kids right from wrong.   My mother never raised her voice (no really, I mean never!)  She always had a gentle and quiet spirit and I just wish I could live up to that with my kids.

So thanks Mum for all these little things you taught me.  I hope I can be half the mum to my kids that you are to me.  Happy Mother’s Day xox

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