Sunday, 14 March 2010

Strength thy name is Mother

Mum & me at her MBA graduation ceremony 

The modern Mother's Day is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, often in March or May, as a day to honour mothers and motherhood.

Mother's Day is a day when we pause and remember our mum's and send them cards, flowers, chocolate and other sweet gifts to show them we appreciate them. When I thought about this earlier I considered what my mum has done over the years, being a wife, raising six children, a God fearing woman, an entrepreneur,  professional working full time whilst achieving an MBA & PHD. My mum is amazing, because she does a lot but she always puts my Dad and her children first. 

When I think of my personal relationship with my Mum, I appreciate most how she has always challenged me to be the best version of myself, pushed me beyond the short sighted limitations I set for myself, dreamed big dreams for me and never stopped believing in or praying for me. I must be honest in that I have not always understood my mother; when I was a teenager we were forever at odds because I was head strong and pig headed and wanted to do things my way. I remember the time my Mum grounded me the day before I was to go out with a girlfriend who ended up wrapping her dad's car around a tree and the girl who went in my place was in intensive care for months and it took years from her life... I remember my Mum starting a florist shop and making me run it during my school holidays developing the entrepreneur she could see within me. It was my Mum who thought I could handle Australia on my own at 16 and Mum who sacrificed me going to her father's funeral so I could have a life changing experience that has brought me to the place I am now... I was mad at her through most of that and regrettably showed her such disrespect when I was ready simply because I never took the time to understand her then... 

As I have gotten older and have had a real exposure to different cultures and peoples in a foreign land,  I find myself referring back constantly to my mother, not so much what she said then (because I was too busy rebelling to listen) but to the testimony of her life, the way she lives. Coming home from her high powered job and putting her apron on to cook and feed her husband and family, washing my dad's clothes at the weekend rather than leaving the maid to do it, waking up at 5am to pray for the family and tend to her vegetable garden before preparing for work, making sure that if there was a good bargain going she would grab it and help my Dad keep the fridge and freezer full. She took us as children and dared to dream for better lives for us than we could ever have dreamed for ourselves, beyond our capabilities and limitations and she set the wheels in motion to make it happen (every one of my siblings has a story to tell). 

When I think of how to be a business woman, a wife, a mother, the one to aspire to be is not a person I met along the way or a character in a story or the ideal society portrays; no I choose my Mum every time because she is indeed a real life Proverbs 31 woman and I am indeed blessed as my whole family is to have such an example of strength and beauty amongst us...She is as fierce as a lioness and will defend her family at all cost. She is as gentle as a dove,  gently encouraging us and soothes us. I have so often longed for my Mum during the worst of my sickness this last year, she always had a way with me when I was sick, with her partner in crime (Daddy) they would conspire about ways to make me feel better and take turns to sit with me or pick me up form school...the time I had the mumps comes to mind, a classic example of their team work to get me back on my feet. 

So what is it that makes my imperfect human flawed mother so special and seemingly flawless and incredibly priceless to her family? Its a mother's love, there is nothing quite like it! My Dad shared with me once when my Mum was away on business about how they met and what it was that pulled his heart towards her and i'm sure as its mothers day he wont mind me sharing (thanks Daddy :-) .
Well, the scene is Zambia, about 32years ago my Dad a dashing young lawyer driving home form work to his three children having sadly lost his first wife...He was thinking to himself, how am I going to cope? What happens now? then he sees this vision of loveliness on the road side flagging down a lift and he drives past! But as he looks in his rear view mirror for a second look, he notices her legs and stops! (its fair to say my Dad has great taste and i am pleased to report that I inherited an exact replica of those legs!) Anyway, he reverses and asks where she is going and she says (cant remember where) He offers her a lift but says that he has to drop off some meat to his house so his house help could start cooking dinner for his children. They get to the house and as per normal fashion my older siblings come running out having been playing in the garden, covered in every debris to be found in the brown and muddy outdoors where a group of adventurous children would play. At the site of them my dad gets nervous wondering what my mum was making of his parenting skills with his children in such a state...Having been given the background about his first wife's passing;  my mother's response was to started to shed a few tears as she offered up a whispered prayer for these children who at such a young age had to lose their mum. She then offered to stay for a while and cook for the family (my Dad's house help was a young man so there was room for a ladies touch). It was much later,  having re-arranged a time to give my mum a lift to where she was going that day, did  my dad find out just how big that gesture was. My mum was on the way to pick up her daughter whom she had left with friends for a few days that had turned into a few weeks as she was struggling to find accommodation for them having recently become a single mother. At that moment I believe, my Dad fell in love with my Mum and then embraced my sister and loved her as his own. That very night my sister moved into my Dad's house and three became four as a whirlwind romance and courtship ensued. Soon after their marriage took place,  four became five and two years later I became six...

When I think of the ideal woman I strive to become in  my relationships, in my work ethic, in my faith, I never have to look further than my very own living Proverbs 31 woman, my Mum! Happy mother's day Mummy! 

Proverbs 31: 10-31

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
       She is worth far more than rubies.

 11 Her husband has full confidence in her
       and lacks nothing of value.

 12 She brings him good, not harm,
       all the days of her life.

 13 She selects wool and flax
       and works with eager hands.

 14 She is like the merchant ships,
       bringing her food from afar.

 15 She gets up while it is still dark;
       she provides food for her family
       and portions for her servant girls.

 16 She considers a field and buys it;
       out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

 17 She sets about her work vigorously;
       her arms are strong for her tasks.

 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
       and her lamp does not go out at night.

 19 In her hand she holds the distaff
       and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

 20 She opens her arms to the poor
       and extends her hands to the needy.
 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
       for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

 22 She makes coverings for her bed;
       she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
       where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
       and supplies the merchants with sashes.

 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
       she can laugh at the days to come.

 26 She speaks with wisdom,
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

 27 She watches over the affairs of her household
       and does not eat the bread of idleness.

 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
       her husband also, and he praises her:

 29 "Many women do noble things,
       but you surpass them all."

 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
       but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

 31 Give her the reward she has earned,
       and let her works bring her praise at the city gate


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