Everyday Small Things

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Family life: Reflecting on my Mum

Today is my mothers birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!  Feliz Aniversário!  お誕生日おめでとうございます!!!  Buon Compleanno!!!

Last weekend was also mothers day AND I just so happened to be away with Mum for the weekend.  A weekend which bought out both the best and worst in our relationship.  Also, this morning on TV I heard them say that most women begin to appreciate their mothers at age 23.  Well all this has got me reflecting on my relationship with my mother and the things I have learned from her.

1.  Mothers do actually love you unconditionally 

Mum, Chris & I train old

I mean I was always the ‘easy’ child I think… but gosh I made Mum pay for that during my teens as we all do.  I said some pretty horrific things to her.  In fact I also did last weekend.  Any other friend on the planet would have just defriended me.  But my Mum is still talking to me because she loves me unconditionally!

2.  Mothers do actually just want you to be happy

For the last few years I realised recently, I have been running away from happiness.  From realising that it is the small moments of pleasure that put a smile on my face which bring me joy.  Part of this stems from not having worked out my purpose yet – and part of this stems from wanting to make my parents proud.  Unwittingly it is almost always one of the first pictures that pops into my head when trying to make life decisions:  the picture of my parents.  Would this make them happy?  Proud?  The daughter I should be?

Actually all I’ve done by doing this is cause them alarm that their daughter is not content.  I haven’t been living my life for me.  This recent trip back home to Australia has allowed me to see that they want me back on my own path wherever that takes me and not to live the life that I think they think is the right life.  That if I do what is right for me (no I don’t have to be rich and save the world), then I will be happy and this will allow them to feel joy.

3.  Mother-daughter relationships require work 

I couldn’t talk to mum about stuff growing up.  Part of this was my own projections I’m sure.  But it was partly her finding her own way as a mother whose daughter may have been growing up too quickly.  I was angry at her for this.  There were times during school that I was deeply unhappy and would cry on the floor for days.  Why didn’t she know this?  Well, because I hid myself away and she’d had a mother who didn’t know what privacy was.  But over the years we have both worked on this.  We’ve wanted to build a strong relationship.  This has partly been helped by going through difficult times together, but also keeping in regular contact (just like any relationship).

We now speak regularly and openly.  I know she will judge me… but in the same way I judge myself.  This is not always easy to hear because quite often I am in denial that I think the same thing.  But, our relationship is more than that.  Although not a mum myself yet, as I see my friends with their own children I starting to realise that my parents made me.  I came from her.  She nurtured me from a time when I was completely reliant on her.  So we shared the strongest of bonds from the day I arrived here.

Laughing Mum 1Laughing Mum 2Mum having a star-spot moment over breakfast.

4.  Many of your best & worst traits are learned from your mother

I can be a bitch, intolerant, stubborn, it’s my-way-or-the-highway kinda gal.  Guess where I learned it?  Sorry mum.

But I also hope to be a loving, fun-loving, a little crazy, motivated, self-taught and brave woman like my mother one day.

She didn’t finish school, became a successful nurse, raised three kids, moved countries, learned how to run a couple of successful businesses, kayaks with dolphins and penguins every other day, speaks italian and has started university this year.  You inspire me mum!

5.  Mothers are unendingly generous

Mum birthday Cake 2012

She won’t agree, but in a way mum gave up part of her own life for us kids.  Dinner was always on the table after her own hard day at work, ready to eat together despite us grumpy teenagers just grunting at her and dissing her food.  Clothes were always washed.  The never-ending taxi service carting us to sport, music lessons and friends.  All with no thank yous.

That’s generosity and love in a nutshell folks!  Having taught lots of kids from different backgrounds I realise just how lucky we were!

Well thank you mum & happy birthday!

What do you love about your mum?