I have mentioned her many times here and have even written about her life, but I feel I have to let the world know, once again, what a remarkable woman my mother is.
She has 12 siblings and, being the eldest of the girls, helped raise them all. She only attended the first year of school, so she cannot write or read but is a genius with numbers. She is as sharp as a pin and can read a person like a book.
She was only fourteen when her mother passed away a week before Christmas. That was the single most important event in her life and would mark her forever. From that day, she became the mother of 12 children and started hating this time of the year. Ivy was born on that same day, many years later, helping my mother look at Christmas with new eyes.
My parents got married when my mother was 17. The first thing she did when their very modest wedding celebrations were over was to go to her dad’s house to put her youngest brother to sleep.
Nine months later, my eldest brother was born. He was followed by another boy, me and my sister. She made sure we always looked our best, even when there was little to no money available. We never wanted for anything (except maybe an extra sheet of scratch and sniff stickers) and was always home waiting for us with a hot lunch after school.
Now that we are all grown and have our own families, she is a second mother to all our children. She has been changing nappies, cooking meals, hosting sleepovers and playing with our children since my eldest nephew was born 27 years ago, when she was only 42.
Today she turns 70. When I asked her whether she finds it hard to believe she’s in her 70s, she said she could not believe that her mother had only lived for 38 years while she got to outlive her by so much.
She is at the very top of the list of things I am most grateful for. She loves my daughters and my husband as if they were her own. She gave me life but also gave me a life.