Mother’s Day has never been big in our house. In fact we see it more as a commercial “Hallmark” kinda thing. We do believe firmly in treasuring the mother’s in our family each and every day however. And I do get my Mum some flowers, as does my hubby for me. I must say it is a nice excuse to get flowers which happens twice a year on Mother’s Day and our wedding anniversary.
The women in our family are strong, beautiful and smart. Both my grandmother’s migrated here from England with young families in tow. Both came to this country for a new, bright, shiny life and found that it was not as easy as they had been made to believe by the brochures. Both had loving husbands who worked hard to make sure their families did have a “better” life. And so they did.
I remember as a young child living in a town where one set of grandparents lived and a just short drive to another town where the others lived, all the wonderful, warm and loving times we had visiting and staying with them. There are some hilarious stories, where my maternal Grandma on a mission would cook mountains of bacon, eggs and toast, piling them sky high, way before anyone actually got up! This made for rubber eggs, cold toast and congealed bacon but, it was delicious! She and my grandfather were gypsy’s, travelling around the country and having adventures and they were so exciting! One of my best and earliest memories was going as a little girl to where my Grandma was teaching at the kindy and being so proud as she played the piano, sang songs and played “Heydey Heydey Ho, the great big elephant is so slow” because she was MY grandma and she was and still is, amazing. I remember staying with my paternal grandma and sharing secrets. She was always so glamorous and at 97 she is still living at home and still as sharp as ever. We have a special bond and in particular this grew after we had a major car accident when I was driving and nearly killed her. There was a bit of “what happens on camp stays on camp” that day. I also remember playing hours upon hours of yahtzee with her, but never winning and sitting in her tiny, hot kitchen where she had cooked a full English roast WITH Yorkshire pudding, in a 40 degree heat wave!
What I remember most is the pride, care and gentleness in which these women loved and still do love me today. I am very blessed to still have 2 Grandmothers and an amazing Mum of my own.
Now my Mother is indeed another entire blog. She is my idol and my mentor. With only 20 years difference in our age, sometimes it feels like we are best friends but at other times strictly mother and daughter. She is smart, funny, beautiful, caring, sharp and sometimes a little bit eccentric! She tells me how much she loved being 20 and having a baby to play with, despite the fact my parents had no money and life was not easy, they were happy. She was there with me through every moment of my life. Some good and some not so good. I remember countless family holidays and expeditions, laughter, adventure and most of all love.
Of course a major moment in our lives was the diagnosis of my type 1 diabetes. My Mum was the one who was suspicious about this. She was the one who took me to the doctor and was with me when we got the news ” she has type 1 diabetes”. She was the one who stayed by my bed for 2 weeks while I was in hospital. She was the one who changed the entire family’s eating habits to meet my new diabetic needs. She was the one I turned to when I was scared, sick, tired, angry, hurt and everything in between. I slept with her jumper when she was not around so I could drink in her smell. I got homesick when I went anywhere, ever and had to be picked up in the middle of the night. I argued and drove her crazy as a teenager with type 1 diabetes taking countless risks and making her life hell. I struggled with the fact she and my dad were my teachers in high school and wanted to get away from them for just a moment. I called her when I left home at 17 with type 1 diabetes to go to the city to study and was terrified. In all the ups and downs of my life she was there.
In recent years she joined me in my work in diabetes and we have had adventures both at home and in other countries in our work together, seeking to help make life for other families affected by diabetes just a little bit better. She stays firmly by my side helping support other people suffering with depression, diabetes burn out and just feeling lost with it all.
And finally, she is the one who taught me how to be a Mother.
So now we come to my journey as a Mum. When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child I was told I would never have children and if I did, they would be deformed or worse still, not survive. I grew up with this in my heart. However I was a girl born to have children. I asked my Mum when I was about 14 if she would pleeeeease have another baby! But of course she was not going to do that! So at 26 I did have a baby. And he was perfect. And then I had another 2 over the next 15 years. Again this is a whole blog on it’s own and I have written one on it.
Today I want to celebrate my children. I now have 3 boys ranging in age from 3 years to 13, to 18 years and they are the best thing in my life, no argument. I love their smell, the feel of their skin, their boy brains, the way they talk to me, their jokes, their cuddles, their respect for other people, the way they see the world and most of all the way they love me. Having them at 3 different stages of life, one just 3 and a half, still needing me very much in fact wanting to be on top of me all the time with his messy fingers, sweet smell and imaginative worlds; one 13 just starting his journey into growing up, at high school and dealing with the onslaught of hormones, with such a passion for the world and for learning; one 18 just finished school and beginning his journey as an adult, navigating his way through all of the responsibilities that suddenly land on your lap, but still needing his mum.
These 3 human beings are the centre of my world. I love how they understand my diabetes. My 3 year old Maxwell just the other day was hugging me and clambering on my lap and said ” I want to kiss your pumpy” and planted a big kiss right on my insulin pump. Does he somehow know it is what keeps me alive? Their constant chatter, noise, mess, needs and love, is what keeps me alive. And I now know that all the stress, trauma and worry I put my Mum through would have been worth it to her. Not that she wanted or enjoyed it, but I know now that as a Mum, you take the good with the bad, you love your children no matter what and you love them fiercely. You forgive them. You give them second chances and third and fourth and however many it takes. You quietly get on with what has to be done. That is what being a Mum is all about. And the rewards are endless. You get to be the one who has the best cuddles. You get to be the one they tell their secrets to. You are The One.
So on Sunday I will celebrate Mother’s Day. Not with diamond rings and whitegoods but with love and celebration of my grandmothers, mother, children and all the other women I know who sit up all night with vomiting children, console broken hearts, cry on the first day of school and the last, sit up working out how to afford new shoes or the school camp, clean up all the mess without complaint, sing songs, watch the same DVD over and over, roll in the dirt, cook the meals, make the lunches and fill their homes with love. And if your child happens to have diabetes? We both know you will also be the one waking up to do the 3 am blood glucose check and dealing with the hypos and the ketones and everything in between.
I salute you all. Happy Mother’s Day.