On International Women’s Day I feel it’s only right to pay tribute to the strongest woman I have ever known. Someone who never had it easy and yet loved her life until her very last breath. An incredible mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend. This is a woman who had her first child at 18 years old, with a man so cowardly that he ran away and left her and her unborn child with nothing. She made the decision to never chase him or demand anything from him, because she knew my sister was better off without him, and she knew she could do it better alone.
She worked tirelessly in every aspect of her life and gave her all. Her work ethic was like no other. She dedicated her life to working with children, and each of them meant so much to her.
Despite working every God-given hour to ensure she could provide for us all, she still managed to raise four strong, independent women alongside helping other people raise their children. She was there for each and every one of them, as much as she was there for her own.
There are not many people who could have children in their home from the first thing in the morning until the last thing in the evening and still find time to run after their girls, and take care of their sick husband. I watched her persevere over and over again, not once allowing the many trials and tribulations she faced to ever get in the way. I can count on one hand the amount of times I heard her complain or moan because nothing was ever too much for her. Whatever any of us asked for, she gave and whatever we needed, she provided.
I don’t know where she found time to eat, sleep or rest, in fact, I don’t think she did. Until she got sick, I did not realise that I had taken her for granted. She gave us her all, and left nothing for herself. She was always my best friend and biggest ally, and I knew I was lucky to be so close to her, but never did I realise just how much I owed to her. Growing up we believe our mothers to be invincible and it’s not until that belief is questioned that we come to terms with how vital they are to our lives.
I owe so much of my strength, resilience and heart to my mother. Her unwavering tenacity in paving a better life and a brighter future for her children did not go unrecognised.
She was the glue that held the family through difficult times, our voice of reason, our closest friend, and the one person we knew we could trust implicitly.
So on this day, March 8th, or International Women’s Day, I’d like to say to the women who question themselves every day and wonder if they’re doing enough – you are. My mother was not an academic, she didn’t have loads of money and she didn’t have all the answers, but she was everything, and more, than I could ever have wished for. One day, hopefully in the very distant future, someone will be paying tribute to you for making them who they are today.
I can only dream to grow into half the woman she was and so, on this day, I honour my mother. Let’s take a leaf out of her book and recognise how lucky we are. To my fellow women, let’s be kind to ourselves, and kind to each other. We are all someone’s daughter, mother or sister, and we are all enough.