One woman gave birth to me, but I had many mothers. This blog is dedicated to all the mothers out there... the women who were mother to me and to those who have the souls of mothers, but could never, for whatever reason, be one. My life is a series of moments where I changed hands... I went from mother to mother, each one holding my hand and leading me on to the next stage of my growth.
My first dedication, naturally, goes to my gran, the woman who raised me as her own. What I am today, is largely thanks to her. She empowered me to be me. Then there was Sophie. Sophie was the one who abba'ed me (carried me on her back), strapped to her back, Xhosa style, while she worked. She fetched me from school, gave me my lunch. She taught me to love samp and beans. I remember Aunty Val, the lady at Sunday School who took over when my gran took me there at the age of 3 to learn about God. Then there was Miss Brown, my Grade 7 teacher, an elderly spinster lady. Everyone dreaded getting to her class, as she was 'strict', but when we go there, we knew we'd reached a safe place to grow and thrive. We loved her and cried when we had to leave her. We cried again when she died.
Then there was Lynette's mom who said she'd happily adopt me. I cried on her shoulders quite a lot as a drama-queen teen.
The list would not be complete if I didn't mention the hostel moms at boarding school who put up with a lot of stuff 'n nonsense from us, listened to our crying and 'bullied' us into keeping cubicles tidy and doing homework. Now Margaret was hardly a mother-figure, but she was a fair deal older than me and knew how to be a wife and keep house. When I found myself alone in Cape Town as a newly-wed, she was the one who helped me with her unique mixture of humour and common sense. Aunt Molly was the one who later held my hand and let me cry on her shoulder after Ceinwen's death. She had lost her son too. She was just 'there' and helped me through a really difficult time.
Ros... my dear friend, sister, mother and the one who attended Tatiana's first grandparent's days. Ros had plenty kids of her own to keep her busy, but opened her heart, home and life to more as they appeared on her horizon. She was my spiritual mother and there in a very practical sense too. She was the one who helped me stay slightly sane through the trauma of leaving home. And Aunty Ruth *smiles* who was mother to all living creatures that crossed her path. It didn't matter whether you were a child, a woman, a nasty bullying pidgeon or a little turtle dove, whether you were a cat or a dog. Every creature was loved and cherished as only a mother can. My own "Mrs Pepperpot".
Once in Brazil, my mothers were online. The one who truly comes to mind is Felicity. Felicity was, to me, mother, sister, and very dear friend. She was there for me pretty much from the word go when I was struggling to adapt to this strange country and missing home sooo very much. Let me not forget Llynde, who has played a very important part in keeping my dreams alive and helping me grow in the talents she saw in me.
Many of these women are no longer with us, but I know their spirits are still with me, guiding me, keeping me strong and giving me comfort.
Strangely, this is the first time I have not had a mother-figure in my life. I look around me now and I see my fellow-mothers and sisters, those who are mothers and mother-figures to others, the women who go through the same joys, fears, hopes, dreams, sorrows that I do, who inspire me and light my journey. You are all so important to me.