Saturday, 16 May 2009

Tribute to my mother

Last year we went off on TGTH. The major reason for squandering any inheritance our kids may have expected on airline tickets was Sylv was having a major birthday just a few days before Christmas.

Lots and lots of people coming to sing happy birthday and eat yummy food.
Lots and lots of people standing there waiting to hear speeches.
Lots and lots of people I had to face.

I finally got a copy of my notes today. Giovanna is at Sylv's and is able to work the computer. Something which Sylv is unable (unwilling) to do.

I missed Mothers' Day in Australia last week, mostly because it was two months ago here in the UK. So, even though she won't read it (see above note about tech capability), I am posting my notes of that speech to share why I think my mother is so fabulous.

'Delighted to be asked to speak, to be given the responsibility because being the youngest I NEVER normally get to do anything!!

Horror when I realized I would have to write the speech and stand before you all as well! Prevent brain freeze turned thoughts to what I could say. What I should say!!

Lists seemed perfect format and if I were any kind of daughter I would have come up with a birthday-ful list of adjectives but I can see the sparkly sitting there and so I shall limit the list to just groups of five.

Five adjectives

Elegant, glamorous, strict, naughty and compassionate.

Elegant – Not many looked as good as that in those fashions from the 1970s.

Glamorous – watching Mum dress in fabulous gowns to go to dinner dances and being smothered with lippy kisses.

Strict – few were so silly to actually take liberties but Mark Morris got out of a telling off by playing the piano on the premise that ‘music soothes the savage beast’.

Naughty – I sat through my confirmation mortified that Mum actually would flick the rolled up lifesaver foil at ‘RonaldOurBishop’ as she was threatening.

Compassionate – childhood memories of sitting in the car while Mum helped at the scene of some accident. One particular instance I sat and read my book as she assisted some older gentleman (somewhat the worse for drink) off the road and back to his home.

From my mother I learned what it is to be a strong woman.

To have the courage of my convictions.
That laughter is essential.
To be true to my moral compass
That it is okay to cry (and sometimes unstoppable – cheers Auntie Lil)
Survival alone is impossible and the help, guidance and assistance of family and friends are invaluable. (sadly many of whom cannot be present today)

Were I asked to choose one animal to represent her – it would be an eagle.

Fierce when necessary, provider and protector but able to soar the warm currents as they come.

For what is life without a sense of joy and passion? And those things are so often to be found in the creative. All of us here have benefited in some form – a hand knit jumper (CK being the wrong shape not withstanding), quilts, marmalades, some of her fabulous roses, her handiness with a pair of garden clippers or her wisdom and energy.

Almost certainly Mum did not realize that each time she shared those stories of family history, jokingly repeated the nuns’ words or issued parental commands that she was building the framework of my life. So to finish let me tell you

Five things my mother said
(subtitled – Five things I heard.)

She said
'Don’t wear patent leather shoes and a dress.'

I heard 'Have a sense of decency and self-esteem.'

She told me about 'the day she took on the Australian Army – and won!'

I heard 'If right is on your side don’t be afraid if the other guy is bigger.'

She said 'Just wait in the car; I’ll be back in a minute.'
I heard 'It is essential to make time for people in need.'

She said 'PUSH!'

I heard 'Sometimes you have to work through the pain to achieve your goal.'

She said 'If Jodie Williamson jumped off a cliff, would you do it?'

I heard 'Think for yourself and don’t be afraid to say no.'

So for all of that and so much more – Mum, I thank you and I love you.

Ladies and gentlemen please raise your glasses to the birthday girl – Sylv. '


  1. I loved this - such a loving tribute to a woman who sounds like a role model for mothering..

  2. I hear you really love your Mum! Beautiful speech, I think it tells us all how special Sylv is to you.

  3. Great speech. I think all mothers gave the "if so and so did something would you do it" advice. I think I am starting to say it too now

  4. how wonderful to read this!

  5. What a lovely speech. Your love and respect for your Mum shines in every word. I'm sure she loved to hear you say it :o). Thanks for sharing it with us ...
    Joy :o)

  6. That loving tribute put a lump in my throat. Happy birthday to Sylv - she sounds like a remarkable woman.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

  7. that was so lovely - your love for your mum just shines through.


  8. Happy birthday Sylv!! And Trashie...clearly the apple does not fall from the tree.

  9. that's really lovely

    April xx

  10. What a lovely tribute! And your Mum is gorgeous - such style!

  11. Wonderful speech... she sounds like a fabulous woman and it's obvious you're very proud that she's your Mum.

  12. Really fantastic Trashy! Your mum sounds like one in a million! Lucy x

  13. Cripes - the patent shoes thing is something my mum says too (or used to, she doesn't tell me what shoes I should wear anymore).
    That is a beautiful speech, it brought a tear to my eye, so I can imagine how it must make your Mum feel!

  14. What a lovely tribute to your mum. I hope my kids say such nice things about me one day...

  15. To Sylv! *clink*

    That is a wonderful tribute - I hope she cried. She must be lovely to have made you what you are (which is lovely too). And we all enjoyed reading about the TGTH.


  16. What a woman. What a tribute. Here's to Sylv x

    wv= snocksty