I don’t remember much advice from my mum. I was too young when she passed away, and we hadn’t really got to ‘that part’ of life. I do remember she once told me I was never going to be allowed to go for a ride on the back of a motorbike and she also mentioned “Don’t trust a man with a dimple in his chin” – what does that even mean!?!
But I do remember the way she loved me. The way she would put blankets across my windows when there was a storm, and the way she brushed my hair. Her staggering into my room in the middle of the night after I got scared or felt sick and she had heard me call for her.
I’ve forgotten the sound of her voice, but I do remember the embarrassment of standing next to her in church, as she sang the hymns with all her might – completely out of tune. And she loved listening to me play the saxophone, practising my scales and trying to get through a whole piece without a mistake.
I remember resting my head on her chest, as we watched “Keeping Up Appearances” on the ABC (she loved Mrs Bouquet so much) and these awesome gold slip-on shoes she had that were only brought out for special occasions. I remember the way she would whip up this amazing cocktail sauce when we had prawns, and I remember where she used to hide the fun-size Snickers bars from me.
But most importantly, I remember how hard she fought. I remember the determination in her face when she was facing her end and how she still managed to smile. She still tried to make things OK, even after her mastectomy, and we went wig shopping together and tried on every hilarious style.
I ache to remember how her hand felt in mine, but I do remember the words she wrote to me, a week before she died. How I could do anything I put my mind to, and how I will always be her best friend.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mum. Happy Mothers Day to all the mums – those in the room with us, those separated by time or distance, or some other intangible force. Those we call Mum and those who have stepped into the role so well.
Raise a glass to wherever they are, and be thankful for their love.