With Mother’s Day just a few days away, we thought it might be nice for the people who make up The Sunshine Collective (Erin, Lisa and our two husbands, Tom and Mark) to reflect on our own mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there!!
What is your mum’s name?
Where was she born?
E: Pyramid Hill
When your Mum was younger, what did she dream of doing?
L: Mum always wanted to be a teacher (just like me) and that’s exactly what she did (just like me).
E: She wanted to be a journalist . . . or run an animal shelter.
M: We have never discussed this! (Something I should ask…)
T: Not sure . . . she’s never told me!
What was your Mum’s occupation when you were growing up?
L: For years she was a stay-at-home mum (having taken a break from teaching to have my brother and me). When I was in Grade 6, she went back to teaching.
E: She worked for the Department of Defence for a long time, but before that, when I was very young, she was the local postie, delivering the mail!
M: Office administration for Kew Council
T: Full-time mother and bookkeeper
Where does your Mum live now?
What does she like to spend her time doing?
L: Mum leads a very busy life! She plays golf, reads a lot, attends a bookclub, socialises a lot, regularly goes to see St. Kilda in the AFL (she sometimes even sees them win!) and she travels almost constantly! She and my step-dad are always planning their next adventure and she’ll be reading this, in China!
E: Reading, gardening, walking her dogs and watching both Carlton and Melbourne Victory play. She actually undergoes a complete personality change at the footy – she goes from being a quiet, academic type to a loud, fiery sports fan who’ll argue with anyone who says a bad word against ‘her boys’. And that’s without any alcohol!
M: Playing golf, gardening and time with family.
T: Spending time with children and grandchildren, weaving and yoga
What is one word to describe her?
What is one of your earliest memories of her?
L: I remember never letting her leave my sight! I used to sit on the floor of the bathroom while she went to the toilet. My poor Mum – my own kids paid me back for this one!
E: I remember her sunbaking on the banana lounge outside, with a dog sitting on either side of her, waiting for her to rub their tummies. When she went back to work full time, I remember her painting her long nails in bright colours every Sunday. It was the eighties, after all. Pretty sure her stiletto heels matched her nails.
M: Watching Mum play squash, the sound of the ball echoing in the court always takes me back to early childhood.
T: Making and serving hot dinners to my sisters and I at the kitchen table.
What is your fondest memory of her?
L: There are so many great memories! I remember the beautiful afternoon tea platters she used to make for us when we got home from school: dried apricots, sultanas, cubes of cheese, sliced apple and banana and a glass of milk. I loved it!
Another great memory is how she would look after me when I was sick. She would sit on the edge of my bed and keep me company when I didn’t want to be alone and she always made me feel better.
A memory from when I was much older is the card she sent me when I reached the end of a particularly difficult time. She wrote: ‘If Joan of Arc had had your strength, she never would have burned at the stake.’ Those words have stayed with me and I cannot tell you how much they mean.
E: Whenever I hear Rod Stewart songs, I think about days when I was sick and stayed home from school. Mum would get me to lay on the couch with a special blanket and pillow (usually with a cat and dog on top of me) while she played her music for me on the big, brown stereo.
M: There are many however one of the most memorable is when Mum would go out in the evening, I would write a note for when she returned and I would always find a reply the next morning I woke up.
T: Looking after me when I was sick with a bad head cold when I was in primary school and helping me with work through high school – especially through Year 12.
What is something you remember her saying?
L: “Ffffff” – no, it was not rude, it was an intake of air; a sound she used to make when something scared her. As kids, we heard it a lot! It was the noise we heard when Dad pulled out into traffic, when my brother and I tried to carry something we probably shouldn’t, when we did something slightly risky or basically whenever there was any chance of something going wrong. She doesn’t say “Ffffff” as much as she used to, but the sound does still make the occasional appearance.
E: I remember her singing to our dogs. For every one of the dogs we’ve had, she had a ‘special’ song just for them. So, our Rottweiler had a Jackson Browne song, our Great Dane had (I think) a Tommy Boyce song. You’ve got to understand: our pets held EXACTLY the same place in our family as us three siblings . . .
M: Just try your best.
T: Toodaloo – a way of saying goodbye.
What is the best piece of advice she ever gave you?
L: “Of course you can!”
This was something she used to say to me whenever I doubted I could do something or cope with something. Maybe it’s not advice, exactly, but it’s pretty great and inspiring to know your Mum believes in you so completely.
E: Don’t trust a man unless he owns a dog. Her logic was: if he owns a dog, he’s going to be more responsible because he’ll have to be coming home to feed it.
M: I cannot recall any specific advice; however, Mum was always there to offer encouragement and support through everything we did.
T: Go to university – and she helped me to achieve that.
What is a song or a piece of music that reminds you of her?
L: Mum always liked folk music. The Seekers remind me of her. Handel’s Water Music reminds me of her too, because she used to play it for me on record.
E: There’s a few: Janis Joplin, The Hollies and The Beach Boys.
M: The opening theme music from Top Gun (she loved it!)
T: ‘Annie’s Song’ – John Denver and ‘Don’t go breaking My Heart’ by Elton John and Kiki D.
What is a smell that reminds you of her?
L: It would be mostly cooking smells. The smell of stewed apple will always remind me of Mum.
M: Our family home.
What is a family tradition you remember well?
L: Each year, when it was time to put up the Christmas tree, Mum would take my brother and me shopping to each buy a new Christmas ornament. I’m far too pedantic about the tree decorating to recreate this tradition with my kids, but I loved it when I was little.
E: Mum liked to celebrate the seasons, so we’d have a big feast for seasonal events such as Samhain. I can confidently say we were the only kids at school who observed the pagan calendar of celebrations!
M: Every Easter we would travel to Cohuna, VIC for a tennis tournament joined by friends from our local tennis club and stay in an on-site caravan. Easily my favourite time of year.
T: Going to a holiday house Anglesea over Christmas to New Year.
What is something that makes your Mum nostalgic?
L: Mum gets nostalgic pretty easily. There are lots of conversations about family memories and times gone by. Seeing her grandchildren grow up can make her nostalgic, as I think my kids and my nephew often remind her of my brother and me.
E: My kids and my sister’s kids. Every now and then when they say something that we used to say as kids, or look like us, it reminds her of us as little kids. Also, books. Mum always read to us and gave us books to read, so seeing books we read and shared as kids makes her nostalgic, too.
M: I’ve never asked; however, I expect spending time with her grandchildren.
T: Old family photos.
What is something you have learnt from her?
L: Countless recipes – Mum’s carrot soup is now my son’s favourite meal – but I think the thing I have learnt from her more than anything is how to be strong. Mum has taught me and shown me how to weather a storm and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Mum is probably the strongest person I know.
E: How to make good pastry. Mum always made the best pies and tarts. She swears it’s because she’s an impatient cook and pastry is best if you ‘don’t mess around with it’.
T: Family always comes first.
What is something you have in common with your Mum?
L: We are both massive worriers! If there’s a possibility of disaster, we’ve thought it through, analysed it and stressed about it! Having said that, we also both possess the strength to cope when things are tough.
E: We both worry about everything and neither of us sleeps terribly well. We both love tea and toast, too – remedy for almost anything!
M: A love of sport
T: Strong sense of family and duty.
What is something that is different about the two of you?
L: This is a bit tougher to answer; we really are extremely alike. One thing that comes to mind is that my idea of relaxation is a massage, and a massage is Mum’s idea of hell!
E: Well, while we both like toast, I’ve never loved her combination of butter and tomato sauce on toast . . .
Mum is still a dedicated footy fan, but I only occasionally go to the footy nowadays, although I’ll be going more now my kids are starting to get interested in it. Mum took me almost every week from the time I was very small (along with my sister and brother and most of our friends – the AFL family ticket used to be much more generous).
I also have a lot less animals than Mum did at my age – I grew up with (at any one time): two dogs, five cats, an aviary full of budgies, two mice, a turtle and a tank full of fish. I just own one dog and 3 chickens now.
M: Mum is rather risk adverse
T: Mum used to barrack for Geelong (AFL). Otherwise she is perfect.
What is something your Mum did with you that you now do with your kids?
L: Read to them, as much as possible, and spend lots and lots of time with them.
E: Busy Boxes. We always had boxes full of craft supplied for ‘making things’. I’ve always done the same thing with my kids. Also: reading.
M: Play sport together.
T: Cooking and gardening.
What would you like to say to your Mum this Mother’s Day?
L: Thank you for giving me so much of your time and your energy all throughout my life. You have always been there for me and I am forever grateful. I love you very much, Mum.
E: I love you Mum!
M: Thank you for being there for me and our two children
T: Happy Mother’s Day – I love you, Mum.
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