For Australians and others, Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May… and that is when I officially celebrate my day, as a mother and grandmother.
But I celebrate another day for my Mother. It’s a quiet, intensely personal remembrance of her birthday – today, 20th March. Had she lived, she would have been 101 years old today. I find myself simultaneously glad and sorry she left us 14 years ago.
I’ll leave you to judge the reasons why I personally celebrate. In my mind it’s because much that I am today is thanks to her genes, her moral stance and the quietly proud and personally successful and dignified way she lived her life.
She was an inspirational ‘lady’ – recognised for her amazing long-term voluntary contribution to disabled children, with an OAM (Order of Australia) medal, presented to her by the South Australian Governor of the day at our State Government House.
To me, she was Mum – a pillar of strength when I faltered, a fount of wisdom when I questioned, a never-ending champion and supporter of anything I aspired to be. You might ‘get it’ that I loved her… a lot.
I love too, that I feel comfortable with what I gave back… despite our ‘oh so normal’ teen years tears experiences, my Mum was in my loving arms for the last moments of her life… in the same way I had been in hers immediately following my birth.
Why do I always think of one special moment in my parents’ lives whenever I think of her many birthdays? I don’t know which one in particular it was… all I know is that some days before, they went ‘window shopping’ after hours in one of Adelaide’s main streets, as working people were apt to do in those less affluent days. In the brightly lit and busily presented main window of one of the leading Department stores, Mum saw her ultimate dream present.
It was a beautiful and delicate teaset – a Royal Albert or Doulton or similar, we imagine. If you knew her, you would understand her desire to possess this beauty… to be able to present it to her group of lady friends.
Tragically (it turned out), right alongside this treasure sat a complete Vacola Preserving Kit. It contained the preserving pot, countless jars of multiple sizes, lids and rubber seals to match – and of course, the ‘Bible’ – the instruction/recipe book. Can you possibly imagine which one my always practical and logical Dad chose?
Let’s just say that on her birthday, my Mum opened a large cardboard box (with a massive bow on top), in eager anticipation that the large amount of packaging existed to ensure safety of her longed-for teaset.
Her heart sank to its most dismal depths as she unpacked her wondrous ‘Pandora’s Box’ – to find the amazing Vacola Preserving Kit. My dear old Dad had thought this was what she had pointed to on that ‘window shopping’ night… and as always, just wanted to give his darling wife her heart’s desire.
Oh no! Not this time. Better he should stick to his usual gifts of gorgeous jewellery, amazing nightwear including nighties with exquisite lace on the matching negligees, bed-jackets to die for, and wonderfully adorned petticoats. It was always questionable who had more joy from these gifts. Was it Dad, in the choosing? Or Mum in the receiving? Little matter. They both loved and appreciated every moment… EXCEPT the ‘Vacola Preserving Kit’ episode.
How did I possibly get so lucky, to have these two treasures loving me most dearly every day of the lives we shared?