So I wanted to write a birthday message for my mum
These are tough times, hard times, and very little cheer
How could I say something special on this day under the sun
Say it well, say something that she should hear.
I could say she’s an inspiration to many, too many
What a cliché, you might say!
Even though in this case it’s literally true, verily
All her mentees will bear testimony.
I could say her sense of adventure is phenomenal
Does she sky dive? Scuba dive? No? What then?
And I’d say show me another person who reinvents her career and her life so often
After crossing the age of 67.
I’ve always praised her resilience, she may often disagree
But resilience isn’t just about adversity, or tough times
It’s also acceptance, adaptability, a spirit that’s free
And sometimes it’s just bashing on regardless, no matter the climes
But let me pause, and tell you about her
An educator, a teacher, a mentor, the boss lady
And in another time a rescuer, a performer, a dancer
A counsellor, a mentor, and of course mother extraordinary.
I could go on and on, and I’d run out of rhymes
Specially when I think back to all our good times
Here’s wishing you a wonderful day, mother mine
Some rain, some stars, a full moon, and all the sunshine.
I wrote this poem for my mother on her birthday, because I wanted to celebrate the everyday specialness of her. We usually laud heroes and heroism, forgetting the little bits of exceptionalness peppered through our lives. My mom has an extraordinary full-time career – decades after most people retire. She’s been an educator all her working life, and the impact she’s had on the thousands of children and hundreds of teachers is evidenced by how many of them still reach out to her for guidance. She updates her skills and knowledge at a level that would embarrass most of us professionals, and networks like a pro! She was a warm and fuzzy mom when we were little, and then a supportive and encouraging one. As we grew older, she became a friend and buddy. But her singular achievement has been the embracing of everything new -the good, bad and ugly. Whether it’s been a new place and a fresh job, or traveling to brand new places (the only continent missing on her list is Antarctica!), or different skills and people, or an unimaginably stressful year of isolation and anxiety, she’s seized the day. Take a bow, mom!