Mother’s Day is usually a day of rest for the matriarchs of our families. A day when children rise from their warm bed sheets and lovingly put together a tray of morning goodies to treat their mother to the luxury of not having to be the first one up, for once, and frantically race headfirst into cooking for their loved ones.
My mother lives in western NSW about a 14-hour drive from my GC patch, so unfortunately we weren’t able to spend the day together. When I rang her this morning to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day she was elbow deep in the oven giving it a good scrub.
‘You should be relaxing!’ I said to her.
‘I don’t have time,’ she said.
How silly of me. Of course she doesn’t because in true ‘wog-mamma’ style everything else came first. Looking after her grandchildren, cooking, cleaning, but never her.
After our chat, I was drawn to my back patio to curl up in a chair with a cup of green tea and to watch the light filter through the swaying palm trees as thoughts of my mother made her presence seem nearer.
Like any family, we have had our disagreements and over my childhood years, and yes, even into early adulthood I often despaired over her, at times, obsessive concern for my three siblings and I. However, as a mum of three children myself now I totally understand why she did.
Mum had a hard life. Having left the former Yugoslavia when she was just 16 she met my father in a hostel in Traiskirchen, Austria before they chose Australia to be their new home. She has survived the death of one of her brothers, a son, and most recently a granddaughter. She lives today thanks to a heart donor. Throughout it all, her single focus has been to be the best possible mother she could be to her children. Her past is what made her, and the person she became moulded the person that I became.
Over many family gatherings I have been able to draw from her stories of her past. Her spirit was revealed to me and slowly those broken fractures of misunderstanding formed the sense in my mind that I have been searching for. It is not until we understand what someone has been through, what they have endured, suffered and survived that we can truly understand them. I am thankful that I have been able to take that walk back in time with my mother before it was too late.
Like many of the boat people that desperately try to escape a world that is fraught with violence and danger, my mother fled the nets of her motherland. We cannot judge their actions. We all do what we must to survive. As did my mother.
Mum taught me to be strong, to believe in myself and to find that extra bit of will just when you think you can’t find anymore. Most of all, she taught me unconditional love.
Happy Mother’s Day Mum…I love you x.