Making Memories… Giving Hope

Mother's Day

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Respite break leader Toni reflects on what Mother's Day means to her...


Mother’s Day.

This day can be a huge juxtaposition of emotions – for some this day is a celebration, for others a day which only serves to evoke a sense of loss or an acute awareness of all that is lacking.

For many of the children who come to CHICKS, Mother’s Day can be a difficult time. Some children live in single parent homes where the absence of a mother is palpable, some are bereft of their mum while others may be in foster care, under a residence order or adopted.

In my experience, Mother’s Day is both celebratory and poignant. I was lucky – or unlucky – enough to have two mums. When Mother’s Day comes around, I usually first think of my “mum” – the woman that raised me throughout my teenage years without any obligation to love and care for me. This woman showed me the true meaning of unconditional love and it is through her that I learned what a “mother” really is, or should be. I’ve often struggled with how to articulate to her my gratitude, how to explain to her that all she has taught me has changed my world-view.

Mother’s Day is a day that I can celebrate this inspirational woman – and others like her – who are willing to sacrifice so much of their lives in order to make a vulnerable child the centre of their world. However, it is also a day which makes me think about my biological mother. A woman who also loved me deeply but did not have the tools, means and guidance to be able to mother in a safe way. From this woman, I learnt many things and I am grateful for the skills she taught me. This woman was the catalyst for me discovering a strength in myself that I never even knew I had. She, too, could be celebrated in her own way, but in thinking of this mother, I more often have that feeling of loss, of something missing, or of having missed out on something.

And so Mother’s Day offers me this bittersweet juxtaposition. I am simultaneously celebratory for the one who I feel proud to call my mum, while also feeling bereft of she that chose not to be my mother.

My hope is that everybody has something, or someone, to think of fondly this Mother’s Day.

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