Welcome back to Mom Crush Monday! Today, I am sharing a sweet letter mummy blogger, Lara Sil, wrote to her own mummy. Don’t forget to check back every Monday to see a new mom blogger featured. I am so excited about this series and the opportunity to share many other great mommy bloggers with you. Follow along on Instagram too and be sure to use the hashtag #momcrushmonday ! Show Lara some love in the comments and check out her blog listed at the end of this post!
When you first became a mother, you were 5 years younger than I am now. It’s hard for me to imagine you at 28, holding a newborn me in your arms. Your long-awaited child after trying for so many years. I wonder what you thought about during those first weeks. They must seem so long ago.
Becoming a mother is like being born anew. The insecurities we try to hide, the baggage we bring with us, the feeling of joy and pride as we watch our children blossom, the fear when we can’t protect them.
You always seemed omnipotent to me, like you always had it together. Confident, clever, certain of yourself. I looked up to you so much, but I was a little bit scared sometimes: society taught us at every turn that girls are supposed to have soft corners and speak in lilting tones. You were so much tougher than me. I’m still a sensitive little marshmallow. You seemed more adult even then than I seem now. (I get a little too excited about watching My Little Pony with Natasha, and I get the feeling I’ll still be watching it when she’s bored of it.)
I didn’t know that you often felt vulnerable too, but when you tell me the parts of my childhood that I didn’t know – that you cried when I got beat up in high school, that when I came home upset after being bullied that it hurt you to know that someone was hurting me – it somehow makes me feel much closer to you.
You’re not just mum, you’re Marcelle. A woman, who was also an 8-year old girl, sewing dresses for her Barbies and taking care of baby Jacqui. A teenager going to the boys’ school because the girls’ school didn’t teach physics. A passionate anti-apartheid activist in Johannesburg, hiding black people in your garage who were afraid to go home because of rioting in Soweto, at a time when the security police were known to “disappear” people who helped blacks break the pass laws. Going door-to-door, and often getting those doors slammed in your face, while campaigning for a fairer country. An idealist kibbutznik in Israel listening to a stranger giving an impassioned speech about his love of the land. A man who would eventually be my father.
A few years later, living in Canada, balancing motherhood with a successful career. Looking forward to getting home to your family and bathing the kids. Dad stayed at home and looked after us (which was almost unheard of in the early 80s), and I never realized how hard it would have been to miss out on first steps. I see how much joy you experience in watching Natasha grow and change every day. You inspired me to believe in my potential as an intelligent, capable woman, and taught me that the glass ceiling is there to be shattered.
You also taught me that when things are broken, you don’t sit around waiting for other people to fix it. Tithing 10% of your income to charity, teaching me to feel compassion for the needy, and that making a difference in the world is an obligation, not something you do just when it’s easy and convenient. As you put it, “It’s important to give more to the world than you take.” Yes, it’s important to be happy, but the most important thing is to be good and to be brave.
You taught me about my Jewish heritage, roots, history and faith, and to value and respect the traditions of others and this beautifully diverse world. You and dad taught me to love learning, and introduced me to so many of my favourite books.
You put family first because people are what matters. You turned down promotions time and again so that you could leave work at 5pm and spend your evenings with us instead of at an office. When you had to retire early because of chronic pain, you were devastated-you loved your work. I’ve learned from you that your life’s work shouldn’t just be a job, it should be work that fulfils your potential and that you’re proud of. I’ve also learned from you that my most important work is being the best mum that I can.
Since becoming a mother myself, I understand so much more than I did before. I am grateful for your love, for teaching me how to be a person and for the huge part you’ve played in forming the woman I have become. I am so happy to have had a wonderful mother who fought for me, who loved me (even when it was hard) and who rocked tiny newborn me in her arms while feeling joy, excitement, fear, worry and a dozen other emotions.
Thank you for being my mum, for being Natasha’s beloved bobbe (*grandmother in Yiddish), and for being a unique and special person, who I am lucky to have in my life.
Lara is a Canadian-born writer, student, essayist, poet, and mummy blogger. She lives with her lovely 2-year old Natasha in sunny Perth, Australia. She enjoys reading, bushwalking and toddler cuddles.
Make sure to check out Lara’s blog Happy Eco Mama!