A Frazzled Mum’s Memory of Her Mother’s Life Lessons

Being a mother when my own mother have passed away is quite a difficult experience. I don’t have the privilege of finding support from a mother figure, someone who took care of me before I took care of someone else. While parenting Helen, I always have my mother in my mind. What would she do in this situation. It’s funny how sometimes I would do what she would have done, but there are times when I disagreed with the way she used to do things, and I handled the situation my own way. Values were different back then, and parenting styles were very different to how it is now.

My mother wanted a grandchild badly. However, unfortunately, she passed away before any of her children had children of their own. My mother would have adored Helen to bits, and I wished she could have had a relationship with her.

Although mum had passed away, some of her lessons still sticks with me until today, and these lessons helps me a lot with parenting.

1. Treat people the way you want to be treated. That was the sentence she kept on repeating throughout her life. Doesn’t matter what religion you are, what skin colour you have, what kind of economical status or what gender you identify with, everyone deserves respect.

2. God is not an old man on a throne, with a big bushy beard, God is an energy that live in us all. She used to ask, “you know where God is?”, and I would shrug. She placed her hand on her chest, and my chest, and said “Right here in our hearts”. Corny, but I think I knew what she was hinting at.

3. Just because you’re small, you should never let anyone walk all over you. I’m nobody’s doormat. This is why people tend to think that I am aggressive – in Indonesian standards. I had to constantly prove myself, because I’m petite, I look young, and people don’t usually take me seriously. My mother made me ignore that. I remember once, she bought me a big tub of ice cream when she found out that I talked back to the bullies at school. She encouraged it. Never bow down to anyone.

4. Never buy anything full price. This doesn’t really apply to groceries, though, haha. My mother came from an immigrant family. Her father built their home in regional Victoria, and her mother survived World War 2. Living with limited resources was not only normal, but she made it a lifestyle. She made it cool. She had an eclectic sense of style using all the items she accumulated. She always waited for major discounts. It was a life skill she passed down.

5. Nothing is instant. Well, except instant noodles. Failing is a part of life, and usually it is the first step to success. It also depends on what you call “success”.

In a way, she is still here. Her wisdom still plays a major part of my decision-making every day. Her life lessons are still applicable to current day situations. She may be gone, but she is still strongly remembered. I miss her very much, and I wish she would come and visit me and she could surround us with her energy.

I love you, mum.

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