I am an unashamed Mommy’s-girl. To me my Mother has always been superwoman but it was not until I entered the “real-world” that I realised just what a strong woman she is.
When I was 4years old and my sister was 2, my Dad came home one day and packed up all his things and never looked back. I don’t remember that day but our domestic worker told me all about it when I was a little older. It broke my mother. My Dad had been having an affair and he was leaving us to move in with her. At that time, although I did not find out about this until many years later, my mother was pregnant with her third child. My mother chose to have an abortion shortly after my Dad left as she could not deal with the trauma of the divorce and having a baby at the same time, she also thought that she should focus on looking after the two kids she already had.
Whilst I do wish she had proceeded with the pregnancy (I like to think I would have had a little brother), I do admire her for being able to make such a strong decision during such a difficult time. After that my Mom went on a week long bender, I think to dull the pain. At the end of the week she stopped. She had decided that her week of a self-indulgent pity party was over and she now had to be a strong mother for her girls.
And that is what she has been my whole life. She has been strong when it felt like everything was crumbling down around us. When my Dad got re-married and did not invite my sister and I to the wedding we were devastated. Not once did we stop and think about how our mother would be feeling on this day. It was all about us, and she supported us through it. She was all smiles and comfort; I didn’t see her get upset once even though I now know that it was one of the saddest, hardest days for her.
There were times when she could hardly put food on the table but I never knew about that. We never wanted for anything; Mom was always generous and giving. Even if we did not have lots of material things, she would still play with us, tickle us and paint with us for hours. So we never really noticed what we did not have.
As a teenager I hated my Dad, I never wanted to see him and it was always my Mom who made my excuses because I was too much of a wimp to tell him. It was her that he took it all out on and said she was turning us against him. She always took it without saying a word. Without telling him that is was actually my decision not to see him. She also kept quiet when I was angry at her and told her that Dad was the better parent if she had refused to let me go out until one or two in the morning at sixteen.
My mother was a pillar of strength when we moved to South Africa with nothing except what we could fit into the back of our bakkie. She moved away from her life, all her friends, her job and the country she loved because she thought that she could give us a better future in this country. After a while living in SA my sister became severely depressed and was hurting herself. My Mom had to look after my sister on her own as I was at university at the time. It was a difficult time for the family and we were scared for my sister all the time, but Mommy hugs helped us get through it.
Looking back at our lives I can see that my Mom has had it quite tough. Being a single mother is never easy and my Mom often says she feels guilty that our Dad wasn’t around and that she worries that we had a difficult childhood. I don’t think so, I had a parent who made me feel safe, supported and happy. And I am grateful to my Mom for being such a strong woman even when things were hard.