Today, I dedicate this post to my Mum, because, without her, I would not have had the courage to overcome the adversity I have encountered in my life.
When I was growing up, my mum was not afraid to show her vulnerability to her children, nor was she slow to show her affection for my siblings and me or to voice her pride in us.
When I think back to my childhood and adolescence, I can remember many instances of my mum bragging about my latest achievement to whoever would listen. I rarely heard her criticise me to anyone else and, even when she chastised me, it was with a weird backhanded compliment along the lines that, “for someone so smart, sometimes you do the stupidest things.”
She hit that sweet spot we should all aim for as parents, where you don’t push your kids unreasonably, but you have both high expectations of them and great confidence that they are, and will grow up to be, fabulous people.
When I was about 14 years old, I wrote a poem to give my Mum for her birthday. I can’t remember whether I did the calligraphy myself, or had a friend do it on my behalf, but I framed it and gave it to her with tentative pride. She still has it hung on the wall by her bed, and I thought I would share it here, because it is still true, only in much richer terms than I could have anticipated when I wrote it.
Here it is.
I looked around to find a gift, perfect in every way,
But it’s so hard to find one that says what I want to say.
It had to say I love you,
It had to say I care,
It had to say you’re special,
A gift that says all these things isn’t easy to come by.
A gift with such distinction is in no store, low or high.
But when I saw this paper and pen, I knew what your gift should be.
So precious it could not be bought:
This poem to you, from me.
If you are fortunate enough to know my mum, please leave a message to her in the comments below. If you don’t know her but have been inspired to do something especially nice for your own mum this Mothers’ Day, please tell me about it in a comment.