Today I could say a lot. Today I could tell you another life story about my mum. Although right now it would hurt too much to find the words. I am missing her. Her orchid is about to flower. And I said this to her yesterday, "you can come home now mum. I have had enough of your joke, 6 years is long enough." On sunday I am going to hold her hand, and go on a long run, put flowers in the water with my little people, and spend some time with my awesome friends. A beautiful weekend ahead!
I love you mum.
I love you mum.
When I decided I would like to say a few words about mum, I thought, where does one start. Mum has achieved so much in her short lived life and she has made an amazing impact on my life.
For those of you who did not know mum adopted me when I was only 10 days old. From that day mum treated me as if I was her “real daughter.” I have always known I was adopted from mum reading a children’s book explaining to me why I looked differently to mum and to my siblings. Although, you may say that we did look alike and that mum was my “real mum.” To me she was my mum. She put me through school, she was there to drop me off on my first day and pick me up on my last day. She helped me get my first job, babysitting 3 children. Mum stuck by me through the tough times and after we got through those she helped me start my new life in Sydney. Mum helped me celebrate all those wonderful times and was there for the birth of her first grandchild.
Mum was a very private woman, who believed that you only need to know things that effect you directly, a need to know basis. I believe this is one of the many building blocks to mum’s personality. Because of this I do not know too much about mum’s past. What I do know is mum immigrated to Australia when she was around seven years old with her mum and dad. Mum did not like her stepfather, but did like her father who died when mum was quite young. She lived in Strathfield, or around there and went to Manly beach on weekends for swims. Mum joined the Navy when she was 17 and as far as I know did not stay in service for very long. When mum adopted Craig and myself we lived in Bowraville and moved to Canberra after Brooke was born. Mum worked for the Smith Family and when she was raising us on her own she left her job with no job to go to. She needed to do something to put food on the table so she started her own cleaning business with a friend. Her friend went her separate ways and mum continued to clean other peoples shit. Over the years mum went from advertising in the local chronicle, to no advertising, doing end of lease cleans for real estates around Canberra and then receiving a contract with the American Embassy.
After about 12 years of sticking her head down toilets she decided she would like to semi-retire on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
I am so proud of my mum and the things she has achieved over the years. She has so many friends, or as Gay Lane quoted saying “she didn’t have time with too many friends, she did it her way.” That is mum a friend when you are not having a friend. Luckily for us children she is always a mum, our mum, our bestfriend and now a nanny. But to all of you who are here today she is your friend, your best friend, someone you can count on when you need her the most and even now as I speak she is sitting next to each and everyone of you holding your hands and getting you through this day and every day after this one.
Mum never had much money on a single income, but I never really realised this until I was well into my twenties. Every school holidays we were down the south coast staying in cute houses right on the beach, or on school holiday camps. We all went on whatever school trip our schools had and I personally was always dressed in the latest surf gear. Nothing is ever too much trouble for mum.
I went through a hard, emotional time before I moved to Sydney which mum really helped me with. She gave me her support, her strength and helped me make the move to Sydney for what mum called, “a fresh start.” Only a few months into living in Sydney I met Simon. He worked in a cafe, from which I bought coffees from every day. I told mum that I had met this great guy, that I flirted with and that he was flirting with me. Mum’s very words were, “Hayley, grow some balls and ask him out.” I always do what mum tells me to do, so the next day that is what I did. From the moment Simon said yes everything seemed to all happen very fast and now here I am today three years later with a unit and a beautiful baby girl, mums granddaughter.
On January 16 Keely was born and mum was so proud to be a nanny. For those who know mum well, you would be surprised to hear she was excited to be a nanny as mum always said “don’t have kids, they are trouble and you will be rich.” I am so glad mum moved here to spend the last few months of her life. She got to spend a lot of time with me and her beautiful granddaughter. We met nearly everyday for a drink, or a free lunch at Simon’s cafe where mum had a running tab and soon became part of the furniture. For the record the bill is still outstanding.
When mum first moved to Sydney she lived with Simon, Keely and I. She had just started her job at the nursing home in the kitchen of the dementia ward. Mum would come home every night and made me promise if she ever ended up like that to please put her down. She encountered grown men flashing her, women trying to break through windows threatening to kill her and the joy of bathing old men with her training. For the men out there mum says it is true it does get smaller!
Mum really enjoyed living here, liked her new job and was just making her apartment her new home. Sootie was settling in and loving his walks near the lake with the ducks. Mum was not allowed pets in her new apartment. Renting over the years we got good at hiding our animals. Although a few weeks ago mum received a phone call from the real estate saying that she had been spotted walking out the front door with a dog. Mum played dumb and said that it was her daughter’s dog that she was taking for a walk. Well that was the truth as Sootie was always Brooke’s dog. Anyway it was a mystery to mum and I of who had spotted mum. Mum’s neighbours had dogs too, so we knew they wouldn’t have said anything. So we thought maybe one of the property managers lived close by and saw mum. When I returned mum’s keys on Thursday the mystery was finally revealed. We were talking about getting mum’s place cleaned in time for opening the place for saturday and the property manager said, not to worry as the owner lives two doors down. So all along mum’s landlord was her neighbour. If it was the one I think, he owned a dog!
There is so much more to say about mum. I will forever talk about mum, and never let her die. She is my mum, my bestfriend, Keely’s nanny and our friend. I wish I had more time with her to tell her how proud I am of her. If I could be half a mum she is then I am doing well. Mum will not be at my wedding to give me away, she will not be at Keely’s first day of school, she will not be there for the birth of her second, or even third grandchild. Mum will be with me in my heart and there in spirit, but I wish she was here the way she used to be. Who do I call to tell them about my day, to tell them the gossip I have, to have coffee with everyday. Who do I go to Billy Joel with. I got the tickets on Monday mum. I love you mumso........ x