This one is for you .and it is to you as well. For Mothers Day. For every day. It was nice to speak to you yesterday and I am glad that Jane was there for your Mother's Day lunch. Jane always is for that sort of thing.
My big sis.
I haven't been around for years and I left home pretty early to make my own way in the world. I was just a child pretending and trying really hard to be an adult. I wasn't ever running away from you or Dad it was just that I had this restlessness about me and I wanted to seek. I needed to. I never actually knew what it was that I was looking for but I just felt compelled to get out there and find it. With the great benefit of hindsight I think perhaps I was just trying to get lost so I could find myself - even though I was already clearly lost.
I wasn't the best of sons. I know that. I was always in trouble and I was more than a handful when I was growing up. I know I caused you and Dad a lot of grief and angst and worry. I was always pushing the envelope and challenging authority. Fighting it. I was obstinate and arrogant and stubborn. I can imagine that I must have been unbearable at times - butting heads with Dad and his stern military ways. I don't know if I ever apologized properly for giving you both such a hard time and I am not sure if I ever could. I am sorry though. I wish that I had been a better son when I was growing up and I wish that I had made you proud of me back then.
Being a parent is no easy task. It is a tough gig. It wasn't until I became a Dad myself that I realized how hard it actually is. I am no model father myself. Far from it and you had us kids when you were so young. Three of us. All of us traipsing around the world while Dad was off fighting wars. How frightened you must have been and how brave you were. I was by far the hardest to control - I know that. Often when I think back it shames me how stupid and bad I was, particularly during my teenage years. I was unforgivable but you forgave me anyway.
You always did.
I sometimes forget how difficult it must have been for you growing up as well. The only child of an immigrant to Australia with no Dad of your own. That must have been tough. Really tough. I promised you that I wouldn't write about your mother and I won't - but she was a nut job. We all know that. You are a much better mother than she ever was and you are the best. The very best of you lives in me and it is a part of who I am.
I can't remember anytime that you weren't there for me even when I wasn't there. Particularly when I wasn't there. You never tried to tame me but just accepted that I was a wanderer. You let experience and my own mistakes shape me but you were always there when I fell over. I fell often but you picked me up and dusted me off and told me to just get on with things. You taught me to face my fears. I thought I was an adventurer but I was mostly just naive and stupid. I was reckless and stubborn and selfish and it took me a long time to really grow up.
You gave me my love of reading and words and books and learning. I cherished that and I still do. Despite my stubborn rebellion you gave me my moral compass and you taught me right from wrong. You never gave up on me when sometimes you really should have. That stubbornness and determination is part of me that comes from you. You made me understand compassion and through your own nobility and selflessness taught me that no matter how bad I thought things were there were always people worse off. Much worse off. I think about that all the time and I try to live it as much as I can now. I hope my kids do as well. You taught me empathy and sympathy and your honesty and decency and kindness has always been a constant and you never stopped believing in me. You still haven't. I understand unconditional love now.
You taught me well.
I love it when I ring you up and you still call me 'dear' - even though I'm a grown man it touches me when you tell me that you still worry about me. You needn't you know. I am OK and everything is alright. It's my turn to worry about you now.
I love you Mum. I probably haven't told you that enough but know this - I cherish and adore you and I always have and I always will.
You are my everything.