Young at Heart: A day of memories and family

IT IS that time of the year again, when we are reminded of Mother’s Day and what significance that may have for you and yours.

My adored Nana arrived on a boat at the beginning of the 20th century. She was almost my mother for the first years of my life as my mother worked. They were the war years. 

By then my mother had already lost her first-born son, who was killed in a car accident. I know she carried that deep and abiding sadness with her for the rest of her life. Every now and then she would take out a little lock of hair kept in a silver box. I would gaze at it curiously, but with little understanding of her grief.

The war years saw my father away in New Guinea with the air force, and we had very little money.

Into the fray rode my Nana. My mother was her daughter and together they managed the family during those very anxious difficult years. They were strong women.

Down the road lived my other grandmother. She had two sons and a son-in-law all away at war. Gran continued to run her home and eventually took care of her damaged son – damaged with alcohol and memories of war.

These women ran the families, took care of everyone. My mother was a great example of a courageous, strong woman and she has passed that strength on to the next generations of women in our family.

How difficult was it for women to leave the workplace once war was declared over, and return to home and hearth? 

They were smart, confident women who were on their way to a career, but suddenly they were catapulted back into the home front, joining mother’s clubs, filling in their days playing cards, playing golf.

Recently my son rang and asked me to write about my mother. She died when I was seven months pregnant with my son. Suddenly he wanted to know her. It was a beautiful request. 

I was prepared to write a page of memories, and found myself four pages later still writing.  

As I wrote I could sense my mother standing beside me, her “joie de vivre”, her laughter echoing still in the chambers of my mind.

I have so many regrets about not asking the questions I now want answers to, about my mother. I tried to search for answers from relatives. All my mother’s friends are now dead so those questions will never be answered. 

Mothers evoke very poignant memories in our lives. They give unconditional love to their children. They accept and support their children through difficult times. I now understand what that means as a mother.

Mother’s Day and our children would excitedly bounce in to our bedroom clutching those pressies all wrapped and decorated with their father’s assistance. 

I still remember the Oil of Ulan Liz bought me, hoping I would one day turn into the beautiful woman advertising it on television. 

What a lesson in the falseness of advertising, as she watched me hopefully for months! We laugh about it now. 

On Mother’s Day I acknowledge my own daughters and daughter- in- law are thoughtful, loving mothers. We celebrate both generations of mothers. 

I watch with joy as our grandchildren bring out the presents they have carefully chosen at the Mother’s Day fair at school, wrapped and sticky-taped up to within an inch of their lives. 

I look on it as a great excuse to gather all the family together. 

That’s enough Mother’s Day for me.

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