by SAMALA GOILE
As I look back over my life I am filled with wonderful memories of my mother. She was the one who taught me to cook, who taught me to stand up for myself, to be amazing and be brave and to take on the world but only if you intend to succeed.
She taught me the value of education and also the value of a good lipstick, how to paint my nails but not to get fussy about breaking them. Life is all about getting dirty but try and do it like a lady.
I just received an SMS from her; a post card picture of a tropical location and the statement “just found our new hang out princess, it is more civilised than our last one, I even have a latte.” In reply I sent her a picture of my gorgeous breakfast to which she stated: “Excellent, you can do the cooking and I will buy the drinks.”
The woman I am taking about was in fact not my birth mother but the woman my father loved after my parents divorced.
My parents divorced when I was very young and I lived with my mother; my dad lived overseas. I spent my school holidays with my dad and the school term with my mum. One school holidays when I was about 10 I arrived at the airport and my dad greeted me with the usual hug and smile. On the long drive home there was a curiosity about him even I couldn’t pick. My dad was unusually quiet. Little did I know my life was about to change.
We pulled up into the driveway and I ran up the stairs only to be greeted by a face I had never seen before. Unbeknownst to me she was as surprised as I was. My father had neglected to tell either of us that the other existed and with his usual coy un-confrontational charm he moved us both in to his house on the same day.
In the true grace and strength that I have come to respect, our meeting was seamless. I didn’t even know until my father passed away that she was as surprised as I was to know of my existence.
They never married but were together for 20 years until his passing. She had motherhood thrust upon her literally without any warning and was quite the reluctant parent but she has taken her role in my life very seriously none the less.
We no longer have the connection of my father to keep us together and it has been tough trying to establish where we fit into each other’s lives without him. I can only hope that she can see that she has had more influence over me than any other single person in my life to date. As I raise my own children, three boys, I can only strive to do as great a job of sending them into the world full of knowledge and with strength of character as my mother did with me.
It was very hard growing up with a reluctant mother (I am sure it was harder for her) and it is only since I myself have had children and am now in the process of equipping them with the skills necessary to face the world, that I can see how much she has done for me and how lucky I am to have had her guidance.
I love her. Words that I have been unable to say to my real mother in years. We all do what we can with what we are given. I am fortunate to have been given her.
Samala is a single mother of three teenage boys, fumbling her way through parenthood with a good sense of humor and a full glass of wine. Food lover, wine drinker, life liver!
Who are the people who have changed your life for the better?