When my first boyfriend at 14 years of age was considerably older (he was turning 18), she told my father that he was only a couple of years older, so I could go out with him. She knew that I would have been devastated being told that I couldn't go out with the best looking, nicest guy in town because he was older. So glad she was on my team with that one. I was a nerd, he was cool and it changed my life forever.
My Mother was always proud of my achievements, even though she wasn't one to say so. Her reasoning for this, I found out later, was so that I didn't get a 'big head'. In hindsight, not a bad concept, because even today, I don't see other people's acknowledgement of anything I have done as defining who I am. What is important, is that I have accomplished something that I personally deem to be worthy of my own self-satisfaction.
Growing up in country Queensland is a unique way to experience the world. People say what they think and there is no room for 'big heads' or anything that remotely resembles someone trying to get attention. People eat hearty meals, go to church and enjoy family barbeques. They don't need the latest in fashion, or the flashiest cars, but instead, they care about people's manners and 'getting on with the job at hand'.
With some reflection on Mother's Day, I thought I would share with you some things about my Mother that have helped shaped who I am today:
1. Pain: I haven't given birth, but gosh, I have seen the videos. Any person who can live through that type of pain, deserves respect. Mother's will do anything for their children and endure any amount of pain to ensure that they are safe, secure and away from harms reach. Our Mother's would die for us, if it meant us living.
2. Compassion: My Mother has always been compassionate. I remember having underprivileged children at our dinner table that my Mother found god-knows-where. At the time, I was completely unappreciative of the fact that dessert had to be shared with others or that my toys were for everyone, not just me. But now, I look back and see how important that lesson was in life to learn how to care and be compassionate to others no matter what their circumstances were.
3. Religion: Growing up in a religious household is positive. It helps remind you every single week the difference between good and bad and how to not be selfish. No matter what someone's religious beliefs are, you can take away the good from the learnings and use it to guide you in life.
4. Excellence: Installed in everything I ever did, my Mother would always expect that I did the best job I could. She is a perfectionist, so sometimes, her standards may not have been met, but it did give me a basis to strive for excellence in everything that I did.
5. Unconditional love and support: Only a Mother can love us the way that they do. Regardless of the mistakes we make in life, or the choices that don't always work out the way we had hoped, our Mother's love us unconditionally. My Mother and I clash. Big time! But regardless of that, I know that she loves me and will support me unconditionally until the day I die.
6. Shoe collection: I remember being 6 years of age and looking in my Mother's antique shoe cabinet to see the most beautiful collection of shoes imaginable. When she wasn't looking, I would try them on and look at myself in the mirror, dressed up in her clothes and shoes for hours on end. I know now where my shoe habit originated and who really is to blame.
7. Pride: It seems quite old-fashioned to use this word but my Mother has more pride than anyone else I have ever met. I don't think I will explore this too much in this column, but I know that there are many aspects of this trait that I have and this extends my work and to the person I am.
8. Determination: With a bit of stubborn behaviour mixed in, my Mother sets goals and her determination to make it happen, always ends in a positive outcome. Her determination in sometimes challenging situations, and strength is phenomenal.
9. Emotions: My mother is emotional. You wouldn't know it unless you have seen her upset because she puts on a brave face most of the time. I am her "on steriods" in this department, but once again, unless you really know me, you would never know. It's important sometimes to show emotion and to know that that is ok. We have all been brought up to not show emotion, and yet this is part of who we are. I may cry because my feelings are hurt or I have broken up with a boyfriend - but knowing that that is normal is important to understanding who we are. On top of that, once I shed a few tears, I always feel much better. Don't you?
10. Respect and Manners: My family has impeccable manners. I remember being at the dinner table at 5 years of age, and saying "excuse me, can you please pass me the ketchup". That was always followed by "thank you". We never started eating until every person was seated at the table and my father had started first. We only talked to an adult, when they addressed us individually first and were always polite, regardless of the situation. This is important because these days, good manners has gone out the door. I am appauled by people's lack of manners and respect to others. It doesn't cost anything to have good manners or to show respect.
This Mother's Day, share with your Mother the things that she personally taught you to make you the person you are today.
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