As Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but feel a bittersweet mix of emotions.
My mother was a beautiful, funny, kind, and eccentric woman who loved flowers, and gardening and taught dance to children all her adult life.
She had a warm personality that drew people in, and she had a knack for making anyone she met feel special.
One of my fondest memories of her is how she loved to chat with parents as she did her supermarket shopping. She’d get lost in conversation, forgetting about the time and the shopping list, and it would take her ages to buy her weekly groceries.
But it was never a chore for her. She genuinely enjoyed talking to people and reassuring parents how well their children were doing in their ballet and tap classes!
She was a wonderful mother who always put her children first. She made us laugh with her silly jokes and quirky sense of humour. She nurtured our passions and interests, taking the time to attend our school events, from our Christmas nativity plays (often excruciatingly bad!) to standing on freezing-cold hockey pitches or sports fields each weekend, come rain or shine.
She was always there to offer a listening ear or a warm hug when we needed it most.
As I grew older and had three children of my own, I realised just how much my mother had done for me.
I was grateful for all the sacrifices she had made and the countless hours she spent helping me with homework or comforting me when I had a childhood squabble, or later nursing a broken heart.
I cherish the memories of her miraculously making meals for us all while nursing my latest offspring in a baby sling while I recovered from the early days of each cesarean birth.
And we all planted flowers and weeded her beautiful garden together. And dancing in the living room to the latest craze she had brought back from a recent overseas holiday. The Macarena was a particular favourite. My father watched us all with great amusement as we waved our arms wildly around vaguely in time with the music, which usually ended in total chaos and lots of laughter.
But as much as I loved my mother, it could not prevent the cruel twist life had in store for us.
She developed Alzheimer’s disease in her later years and eventually forgot who I was. It was devastating to watch her slip away, little by little, and to see her personality change as the disease progressed. But even then, she never lost the twinkle in her eyes or her sweet smile.
Despite the heartbreak of watching her memory fade, I found solace in the fact that she could still recall amusing anecdotes from when she was young.
She’d tell me stories about her childhood and her own parents, who had passed away many years before. It was as if she was reliving those happy memories, and it made me grateful for the time we had left together.
Now, as I celebrate Mother’s Day without her, I remember all the happy times we shared. I think about the flowers she planted and tended with such care, the end-of-term dance shows she choreographed with endless enthusiasm, and the way she made me feel loved and special every day of my life.
Although she is much missed, I take comfort in knowing that her legacy lives on. Her love of life and her kind, generous spirit continue to inspire me and those who knew her.
And on Mother’s Day, I honour her memory by cherishing the moments I have with my own children and striving to be the kind of mother she was to me.
Mother’s Day will always hold a special place in my heart.
It’s a day to celebrate the women who have given so much of themselves to their children, just like my mother did. And although she may be gone, her memory lives on in the love and laughter she brought into our lives.
Much loved, much missed and always fondly remembered.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mums out there on your special day!