Tag Archives: motherhood

A mother’s letter to her children

In 1985 most women stayed at home after having a baby and parenting was considered the mother’s role.

I loved my job working in the early days of computing but I wanted to start a family and was overjoyed when I fell pregnant. I resigned my position and looked forward to being a mum never once regretting it even during difficult times.

There were times when people seemed disinterested when I said I was a stay at home mum of three. I also notice this today when I tell others I’m not working as a woman in her 50s. We live in a society that evaluates us on our career choice. I believe people should be able do what’s right for them without judgment.

I have cherished being a mum since day one and will continue to until my last breath. I have seen you grow from babies to toddlers to children to teenagers to young adults and now as adults.

I love you all dearly and each of you brings me joy in your own way. I adore hearing your news and try hard not to interfere but just be there for you to talk things through without judgment.

Remember how we loved the book “Love you Forever”? Maybe it influenced our lives or maybe it foretold our future. Either way it told my story. The blurb on the back of the book says it all “This is the story of how the child goes through the stages of childhood. It is also about the enduring nature of parents’ love and how it crosses generations”.

I reckon we are two-thirds through the book where the mum climbs through the window of her son’s house to sing her mantra.

I am not just a mum. I am the luckiest person alive because I am a mum. It is the best position in life that I will never retire from.

“I’ll love you forever I’ll like you for always As long as I’m living my babies you’ll be.”

Life goes on

Time marches on relentlessly, can you believe it is mid May already? This post focuses on the ups and downs of everyday life and celebrates my acceptance of letting life flow as it pleases.

our-journey-our-story

Six weeks have passed since Game Over when I walked away from my city job feeling humiliated but very relieved to be out of the unfriendly environment. After that brief encounter everything at home seemed more appealing and I welcomed its comforting embrace.

How proud we were to attend the ceremony to see our youngest daughter graduate from University and receive the revered Vice-Chancellor’s award for her contribution to University life. Peter and I are in awe of the positive influence our daughter has on others, she is mesmerizing and a motivator to all. As Laura walked on to the stage to receive her awards I thought my heart would burst with joy.

One day I suddenly decided to track down my old school friend Libby through Facebook. We hadn’t seen each other for 30 years and met up to catch up on all the news on our lives. There is something special about old friends, they remember and see you as a younger person. The best mirror is an old friend.

Four weeks after the city office saga a former colleague invited me to return to work at the suburban campus for one day a week with further hours working from home. This offer suited me perfectly and I eagerly accepted. So for now I have the best of both worlds.

Every year I look forward to Mothers Day and cherish our family celebrations but this year was extra special when all three of my adult children joined Peter and I for a lovely homemade dinner.  My children each gave me a card and wrote personal and heartfelt   messages that I will treasure forever. These are the words people often say at funerals when it is too late for the person to hear. I’m so proud of the loving and sensitive nature my children exude. Being a mother is the most rewarding experience imaginable.

My poor old Dad had a setback recently. He stumbled and fell over while visiting my mother’s grave to lay red roses to honor her birthday . We later learned he had a heart attack, which restricted blood flow to his leg causing it to give way underneath him. He had surgery to dislodge the clot and his progress has been slow because he has lost strength in the leg. Next he is off to a rehabilitation hospital to help try to reinstate his independence. My Dad is old and tired and it breaks my heart to see him struggling to walk.

Peter and I have been talking about life being short and making the most of every day and have decided to return to Europe in September this year to discover more of Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland. Just like last time I’m a little tentative to leave my dog, my family and my home for seven weeks but I know how lucky I am to have the chance to see more of the world and grow with new experiences.

 

 

 

Mirror image

My heart is aching knowing that my best friend Vee is struggling to cope with the terrible news that her cherished mother has an aggressive cancer invading her brain.

Life is unfair. My friend has suffered more than her share of tragedy during her life. This should be Vee’s time to live her dream of spending time with her mother in her golden years. She of all the people I know deserves joy and happiness.

The relationship between mothers and daughters is a compelling conundrum that spans all cultures and all eras.  It is the most powerful bond in the world, for better or for worse.

Every mother daughter bond is unique and may be anything from blissful to dreadful during various stages of a woman’s life, regardless of whether she is the mother or the daughter.

I feel blessed to have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with my mother for the 46 years we shared together before she died six years ago.

My mother cherished and loved me unconditionally and I reciprocated her love. We shared so much of ourselves between us that it felt like we were an extension of each other.

Losing my mum suddenly as a result of an accident felt like a physical assault to my body and left me floundering to accept the truth.

In the space of a few hours I felt all my inner strength drain from my body leaving me feeling helpless like a child lost in a crowd desperately calling out for my mother to find me.

Facing the reality of her death was the hardest challenge I’ve encountered during my life. The subsequent stages of grief I went through were unspeakable.

I love my best friend Vee and will do anything to comfort and help her during this terrible time.

The thing that I am finding most difficult is being hopeful because I foresee  her world will rock violently when her mother passes away, and I would do anything to save Vee from this fate.

Love you forever

Some days I see my older eyes staring back at me in the mirror, imploring me to stay calm and trust in the universe.

My mantra is to cherish to every beautiful moment before they slip away and to know that troubled thoughts will fade in time.

I acknowledge but find it incredibly challenging to accept that nothing is permanent and  genuine happiness can only be achieved by accepting life as it evolves.

Love Your Forever CollageMotherhood brings me joy, contentment and peace. It is the one perfect part of my life that I have never doubted nor wanted to be any different.

Each of my children is precious and unique, my love for them is unconditional and eternal. They are all adults now following their own pathway in life.

This stage of motherhood is so hard, harder than I ever imagined.

It’s not easy letting their hands slip from mine.

Listen to your heart

My heart kept telling me everything would be okay as I struggled to stay strong throughout many years of personal adversity.

My extended family remained silent but I felt their judgment and heard their cruel whispers about my troubled relationship with my son.

I withstood this implied criticism for ten years until they lost interest and pretended we no longer existed.

Over the years I had sporadic contact with my son but it was usually strained and traumatic for both of us.

Only my husband knew the extent of my anguish, only he was supportive.  We both believed one day my son would find his inner strength and conquer his problems that steered him away.

We always hoped he would want us back in his life one day, but knew he had to figure out how to do this in his own way and in his own time. He had to learn to navigate his way back over a very rocky road.

My heart was right.

It started with a couple of upbeat phone calls.

Then one day it was a warm heartfelt hug.

A genuine smile.

Real laughter.

Illustration by Aaron Pocock
Illustration by Aaron Pocock

And the latest puzzle piece, a picture of his childhood teddy bear with a message saying that Teddy reminds him of so many happy memories.

That old teddy bear and my son Chris have been through a lot together.

I am so happy they have found the path that is leading them back home.

You did your best Jenna

I’ve buried the truth of this story deep down for almost three decades and now know that in order to finally let it go I have to tell the world what happened to me.

To people embroiled in personal tragedy or family breakdown I urge you to stay strong and believe that things can get better. No matter what happens I want you to know that you are a good person who is trying your best to overcome adversity.

My story is sad and it hurts to write about but it has to be told to set me free and because it may help others going through similar circumstances. Everybody hurts sometime.

My unhappy marriage unraveled in 1984 which filled my life with misery and insecurity. My husband was cruel and manipulative and blamed me for everything.

Maybe he felt trapped by my pregnancy even though we chose to have a baby after six years of marriage. He was spiteful and ignored me by staying out late most nights. My self-confidence was so low I felt powerless.

I was scared of being pregnant and alone so I put up with his bully behaviour hoping that when the baby was born he would change and our life together would flourish.

I was timid and naïve and didn’t share my pain with anyone because I felt like I had failed in my marriage. Even my mother or best friend didn’t know what I was going through because I was ashamed to admit it.

Being pregnant with my first child should have been one of the happiest times of my life but it was intolerable and for this I felt cheated.

When our baby boy was born I was overjoyed even though my husband continued his disinterest. I was terrified of being able to care for the baby while coping with my husband’s unpredictable moods.

My husband walked out of our life when our baby was seven months old. We had built a new house and he lived in it for three months before leaving. Even though I felt relief I also felt cheated out of the delight of sharing a baby and a new house together. There was no joy only pain.

My baby was beautiful and continued to thrive each day. In the early days I put all my energy into loving and caring for him during the day and then lay in bed at night sobbing because I felt like a failure.

Slowly my life began to recover and I discovered I was a much stronger person when I was away from my husband’s cruel comments. My self-confidence improved, my baby was thriving, I found a part-time job and I was re-acquainted with an old friend.

I was happy planning for a special family party for my son’s second birthday when my world fell apart again

After showing no interest in our baby boy for the first two years of his life my husband sent me a letter via his lawyer demanding weekend access rights to our son.

This was followed by several stressful family court hearings and eventuated in having to send my two-year-old boy to stay with his father every fortnight. Nothing can erase the sadness I felt when I handed my baby to his father, who he didn’t know, for the first time.

This was the start of 16 years of disruption and turmoil in my son’s life.

As a teenager my son started playing up as most teenagers do but because he lived in two houses with two different sets of rules he began telling lies about his whereabouts.  He disregarded his private school education and left soon after high school.

The years that followed were dark and scary; I lost my son to drugs. I bailed him out so many times by paying money to people he owed. Each time he promised it wouldn’t happen again and said he would learn from it and turn his life around, but he never did.

I loved my son but I couldn’t live with him anymore and watch him destroy his life as well as that of my family. He was angry, deceitful, uncommunicative and unreasonable. As much as it broke my heart I had to let him go when he was 18 to fend for himself.

It took almost ten years before seeing any signs of improvement. There were times of intermittent contact and periods of no contact mixed in with lots of tearful situations. I managed to carry on living my life but always thought about my son and continued to believe that he would one day find his way to a better life.

Every time he contacted me I told him how much I loved him, how I knew he could rise above his problems and create a better life for himself. He listened but counteracted everything I said with a negative response and my message never seemed to penetrate. This went on for many years.

On Mother’s Day 2013 my son came to visit and he seemed truly happy and he looked healthy. It gave me hope when he genuinely smiled. I hugged him and he hugged me back for the first time in years and it felt like I was holding my son again. I felt his warmth and thought we may be coming out at the end of a long, dark scary tunnel.

The next day I sent him this message

Thank you for visiting me yesterday, it made my mother’s day complete. I am so glad that you seem to be much happier these days in your personal life and in your work life. I knew things would turn around for you. You deserve every success and happiness. I love you forever from Mum

He responded

Thanks mum, couldn’t have done it without you
love you too

This was the first time he had said or written, “love you” in 16 years. His words and the warmth of his hug gave me hope that time can heal human suffering.

I’m not saying everything will be perfect now but it was so nice to feel a brief moment of genuine hope with my son.

That’s it; I am done with reliving the pain of my first marriage and past troubles with my son. I am ready to leave these hurts behind and from today I’ll only focus on the journey ahead in life.

After writing this blog I am metaphorically putting my words on a water-lily and floating it in the ocean to be consumed by the universe to set me free.

It’s time to forgive myself and say “Jenna you coped with adversity the best way you could and I am proud of you.”