Maternal Preoccupation 

One of the most significant things I have reflected on after becoming a mummy is the path my own waka has taken to “mamatanga” (motherhood) and the women that have helped to carve that waka and send it further down the river. 

I had and have amazing grandmothers. One a survivor of WW2 who has stories of running away from bombs in London, the other a doctor and dancer. Both inspiring. Both strong. Both phenomenal women. One still alive but missed dearly as old age forces her to forget us one by one.  The other forever dances in my heart. 

My ballet teacher was my hardest critic but she loved us like her own children and would have taken us in had we needed it. I hold my head higher every time she tells me she is proud of me and I know I would not have seen my own dancing and performing success without her. 

The beautiful ladies I have met through high school, dance and theatre. You have astounded me with your talents, your determination, your abilities to work and strive for what you want. I  am surrounded by generosity and care and love with your friendship. 

My “mummies” group. What would I do without you? Thank you for listening, for laughing, for complaining, for crying, for gasping, for championing with me these last 12 months. In each other I feel we have found a strength and a bond that will see us for a long time to come. There have been tough times. But the sharing makes it easier. 

There are so many who I can name. So many who have each carved their own part in my waka. Even the horrible ones have been important. The girl who told me she hoped I’d fail my dance exam at high school – you made me dance harder. The teacher who told others we wouldn’t do well at Stage Challenge – we won. The dance examiner who failed me. I didn’t let it beat me and over the next year I went on to see trophies and medals come my way. The principal who told me I would never use Te reo Maori in my life and to choose a different subject – now I teach it. 

But none of you match her. None of you come close. She’s brave. She’s beautiful. She’s kind and strong. Shes talented and intelligent. She’s my hero. She’s dried many a tear. Held my hand and let it go when it was time for me to stand alone. She’s moulded me, sacrificed for me, battled with me and for me. Cheered me. Loved me. Grown me. Her carvings in my waka are deep and everlasting. They guide me with every stroke of the hoe, every new bend in the river. I’m so lucky she’s mine.

I love you Mum. Happy Mother’s Day. 

Thank you.

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