I interviewed my Mum.
“As a child we moved to Redcliffe when there was still dirt roads, we had to clear our own piece of land so that the house could be built. When Grandma was pregnant with your Aunty Kelli, I would take our dog for a walk in the pram practicing for when we had a new baby. When all the kids were born (mums 3 siblings) I would ride kilometres and kilometres to the Catholic girl’s school where you also went to primary school. I would have to ride past your fathers, Grandparents house and Grandfather would come out every afternoon on my way home, and give me a bunch of flowers for your Grandma”.
“Once we got married we never went on many holidays, only a couple of times beach camping. Then you girls came along and your father worked all the time.”
From my point of view as the eldest daughter, Mum has handled being a wife and mother with grace, dignity and elegance. She always had the whole family’s happiness as her focus, even Dad after he had torn her heart out.
“I think that I did ok raising you girls, I mean you’re good girls who have lovely families.”
I find perception amazing. Yes it was sad and devastating and it took a long time to adjust to the fact that we became a single parent family, and the way that happened. But it was almost a relief to just have the four of us girls at home. A decision had been made and it felt much more stress-free.
“I felt like such a failure, he left me for a women that was at one time a friend and had three daughters the same age as you three girls.”
Mum continued with routine and family traditions – like always eating our meals together, where we shared our day and what was happening, there was always something baked for afternoon tea (Mum makes the best caramel tart with whipped cream). Even through her pain, “There was some days that I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.” I never felt as though she let us witness those painful days, after the initial heartache had worn off. Mum always got up and presented herself in gorgeous clothes, shoes and had her hair styled.
Mum is a wonderful role model for me, she has taught us work ethic, through having her two jobs, always having an impeccable house and yard. She is also a stickler for routine, which made me feel safe as I always knew what was going on. She showed us how to be kind and generous and supportive by looking after Dad’s sisters in the palliative stages of their breast cancer journeys. She taught us to always be respectful and use manners and morals as a guide. Mum showed grace, courage and strength by never arguing with Dad in front of us, she always remained polite and accommodating, towards him.
“I always preferred when your father came to our place, to see you girls and having you girls with me than your father taking you away. Even though every time I saw the tail lights head down the drive way, I felt like I had taken 10 steps back”.
Mum always made sure that we had everything that we could need and never felt like we went without.
“I was left with $50″.
The school swimming carnival of that year, I needed new togs Mum took me to the surf shop and brought me a pair of pink Roxy one piece togs with little flowers on them, I LOVED them. But felt bad as I knew she couldn’t afford it.
As a mother myself of two boys and fumbling my way through as a wife and mother, I can only hope that I will be half the mother and granny that Mum is. I lean on Mum for support and guidance in the way that I mother my boys and live my wife life. Mum always offers sage advice, sometimes I don’t want it and sometimes it’s not just words that I need from my Mum. Mum has always made us kiss and cuddle each other goodbye, and sometimes even after a long chat I just need to feel like a child again and be held in Mums arms and feel her heart beating. At times just having mum cuddle me brings me to tears, knowing her support and love is always there.
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