My unorthodox life travelling the world has given me the opportunity to learn about the traditions and way of life for many other cultures. In doing this I have been better able to evaluate my own.
I’m not one for doing things just because. Just because religion says so. Just because society says so. Just because your mum says so. I have to do things because I believe it to be right and true for me. Any other way of living just feels like a betrayal.
I remember when I was sixteen, sitting in the pews of church on a Sunday, kneeling down and reciting the Lord’s prayer. I really had no idea what I was saying. I was just rote repeating along with the hundred or more so people within the cold stone walls of the Lord’s house.
I began to feel itchy and uncomfortable all over.
“What am I doing here? I’m just going along with the herd, doing what everyone else is doing just because I have been told to do it. I don’t believe in any of this. My words aren’t ignited by any passion or love, it is just rehearsed dogma.
I am performing the ultimate act of betrayal here. I’m pretending I believe in this Catholic God, and I am acting like I believe in him, when I’m not sure that I actually do. And if there really is a God then shouldn’t I discover that and worship “him” in an authentic way.”
I walked out of that Church never to return and began my life long search for meaning. From then on I would not take on any beliefs or traditions unless I first discovered the meaning behind it; a meaning that was relevant and purposeful for me.
Bit, by bit I began to shed most of the traditions of my culture. Valentine’s Day flew away like the dying petals on a rose. I was happy to let Santa’s reindeer to retire for good and keep him in the North Pole, and that old Easter Bunny could take his bags of sugar and hop right on by.
Even birthdays seemed to leave me with an odd feeling of why I am waiting for one day each year to celebrate my life. Shouldn’t I do this every day?
ANZAC Day stayed with me as I visited the shores of Gallipoli to pay my respects on ANZAC Day in 2003. There was a deep meaning and purpose here that I believed in.
I got to know and love the meaning behind Thanksgiving, spending time to be thankful for all the good in your life.
Mother’s Day, however, has been the one cultural tradition that I have kept, and it wasn’t until I became a mother that I really realized it’s importance.
I would like to say I celebrate motherhood every day. And in a way I do. I look at my beautiful daughter, and feel my new baby kicking in my stomach and I am filled with an intense love only a mother could understand, yet the tantrums, the sleepless nights, the busy work schedule, and endless household chores tend to get in the way of the celebrating.
Today is the one day I can leave all of that behind and just focus on the magnificent gift I have been given of being a mother. I can lie in bed and wait until Kalyra runs in to pry open my eyes with her fingers, and then scoop her up and give her a big cuddle.
“Thank you for choosing me to be your Mummy. I am the luckiest mummy in the world.”
With my giant squeeze, I hope she can feel how much I love her. I hope she can forgive me for not always getting it right.
I hope to remind her of my promise to her the night she was born.
With her eyes as big as saucepans, dwarfing the rest of her face, her mouth slightly twitching, she looked at me with words that said, “I have no idea who you are, and I am a little bit frightened, but I trust that you’ll take care of me.”
I stroked her little cheek and promised her that I would take care of her and do the very best I could to help her create a joyful life.
If only she knew just how much she takes care of me in return. She is my little angel.
Today, I celebrate that promise with cuddles, blueberry pancakes, bagels, picnics in the park and all the things that are special to us.
And I celebrate Mother’s Day with my Mum too. Being a mum has helped me to appreciate my mum all the more. I know all she went through first to give me life, and then to help me grow and learn all I needed to know so I could create a joyful life.
Like all mums and daughters, we’ve had our ups and downs in the past, but the fights have been pretty few and she’s always been there for me. She knows how I work, she knows what to say and when to say it, when to step in and help, and when to step back before she gets her head bitten off.
She doesn’t read my blogs much as she is internet phobic, but she always asks and supports and encourages. She helps me brainstorm to come up with ideas on how to grow it into something more.
The greatest gift my Mum has ever given me was the freedom to allow me to live my life the way I choose. She has never made me feel bad for jumping on the plane to go overseas and rarely returning.
“Of course I would love to have you around, but you have to do what makes you happy. It’s your life.”
I appreciate that more than she’ll ever know.
I hope that part of my promise to be Kalyra’s Mummy and do what she trusts me to do, is giving her the wings she needs to fly to her happiness.
What does Mother’s Day mean to you?