Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Kindness Project - A Tribute to my Mum

Brightening the world one smile, one kind word,
one blog post at a time

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good.  But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren’t feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, posting the second Wednesday of every month. 

Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.

For this month's Kindness Project I wanted to give a shout out to my Mum, Rosemary (or Ro as everyone knows her). Writing my last post about our awful day out at Wimbledon, and how she saw the funny side, made me think about her even more and I wanted to share her wonderful, kind side. She is such an amazing role model for me and always has been. She is the epitome of kindness. She has always been there for me and my two sisters throughout our entire lives, like a rock. She doesn't try and control us, or force her opinion on us, but allows us to make our own (many and varied) mistakes and learn and grow from our experiences.
She even made my horrendously difficult decision to move her only two grandchildren halfway round the world as easy as she possibly could, while still letting me know how much she didn't want us to go and how much she loved us and would miss us. She has been not just a mother, but a sister, a friend, a bank, an ironing lady, a cleaner, a babysitter, and someone to have a bloody good laugh with down the pub. I could go on and on, but I already have tears in my eyes and the screen's a bit blurry.

(Sniff. Blow nose. Wipe eyes. Deep breath.)

She is also brave and courageous and adventurous. She went skiing for the first time in her 40's when she was terrified and returned triumphant but black and blue - literally - I have never seen bruises like it. She learned how to windsurf and waterski, even though she hated every moment. She drives like a bat out of hell (and yes, Mum, I know you're an Advanced Driver) in a sporty car that is totally impractical for driving narrow, windy country roads and parking in tiny spaces, but she doesn't want to swap it in for something more sensible as that would make her feel 'old' (she's 76!).

She decided to learn to fly and got her private pilot's license at the age of 50 (I know, how incredible is that? She used to have to lock herself in the loo to get some peace to study indecipherable diagrams for the extremely complicated navigation test).

But aside from all the fun stuff, she has also spent so much of her life helping others, with kindness and extreme generosity. In particular, she is a very active member of various charities that help disabled people learn how to fly. I can't remember all their correct names but I'm sure Flying for the Disabled is one. Anyway, their names are unimportant. What is important is how she looks after all the incredibly courageous disabled people who put their sometimes life-threatening ailments to one side in order to follow their passion to fly. She follows them as they take their massively difficult written tests; is there when they are helped into the small aeroplane to take their first flight with an instructor; celebrates with them if they actually pass their private pilot's license and is there to witness and cheer them on their first solo flight.
She doesn't stop there, either. She writes to them, thanks them, phones them, makes them laugh as they endure another horrific series of operations, organises nicer Bed & Breakfast places to stay or even offers them her spare bed, meets them for lunch, gets them better jobs, emails them and generally is like a second Mum. She does all this for free. She doesn't get one penny, just the undying adoration of all her 'pupils'.

I try to practice kindness every day. And fail. Often. I don't know how she does it all the time, often with complete strangers, but she is my hero and a tough act to follow.




I miss her like crazy.
Every. Single. Day.





Who's your kindness hero?

46 comments:

  1. Claire you've got your mum's smile.
    What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman. You even had me all misty-eyed with this post. :D

    I would have to say my mum as well. 6 children, 9 grandchildren and although she suffers from renal kidney failure, she was out the house by 6:00am this morning, to look after my 3 year old nephew who is ill.

    Even though she's a pensioner, she will knock on her elderly neighbour's doors and ask if they need shopping done. She's always the first to help a friend or relative and always puts others before herself.

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    1. Thanks Lily and glad you are back :) Sounds like your Mum is amazing too. Perhaps it was their generation? Fab role models for us.

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  2. Awww such a nice post to your mother and sounds like she deserves it all and more too.

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  3. Your mom sounds like an incredible inspiration. We all need someone like her in our lives. I think it's just as amazing that you recognize how blessed you are with her. Sometimes people go through life not realizing it. I'm wagering your mum is pretty lucky to have you in her life, too. <3

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    1. Ahem, yes she is!! LOL Thanks Carolina, but she is just the best and if I can be a tenth as good a Mum to my kids I shall be happy.

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  4. You are blessed! So much to learn from a great lady like that. Thanks for sharing a bit of her with us!

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    1. My pleasure, thanks for your comment, Michele.

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  5. Oh man. To learn and try and do and give new things no matter my age--that's what I hope to do. Your mom sounds like such an amazing woman.

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    1. Yes, she is, and she gave me the courage to do so much with my life. Thanks for your comment, Barbara.

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  6. Wow, Claire--your mom sounds absolutely amazing. What a special person you get to look up to :)

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    1. Thanks Sara and yes, she is amazing. Just wish I lived nearer to her.

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  7. oh my word, she is SUCH an inspiration to me! For all the times I tell myself that I should have started doing XYZ sooner, or there's no way I can start doing THAT, but now I can think of your mom, who continues to try and DO new things!(I've always wanted to windsurf!) Thank you so much for sharing her! ^_^

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    1. Well go for it! Never too old. My Dad actually just got remarried at the grand old age of 77! What a pair!

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  8. Claire, your mum rocks the Casbah, for real. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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  9. Wow! Your mom sounds like a totally cool lady! I especially like the part about helping the disabled learn to fly. How cool is that??? I bet you do miss her. Thanks for sharing this inspiration, Claire! :o) <3

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    1. Yes, she has is so fab. And so great that there are these amazing charities, too.

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  10. Your mom sounds awesome! Let her drive like a maniac.

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    1. Ha ha yes, but you don't have to drive with her, do you?!!

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  11. Your mom sounds so great. I love people who live with determination and purpose and she definitly sounds like one of the best. My friend Rick is the nicest person I know. He goes down to Mexico a couple of times a year to build houses for the poor and he is always available to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, plus he's funny!

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    1. Thanks Bridget. Wow, Rick sounds amazing too. What a lovely thing to do. Makes me feel bad that I don't do more.

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  12. Your mum sounds great! What a wonderful inspiration. :)

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    1. Thanks Lindsay, yes she a total role model. Unconditional kindness.

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  13. Lovely. Now I know where you get your incredible spirit!

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    1. Thanks - yes, she is such a great act to follow.

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  14. What a lovely tribute--she sounds like an amazing person and mom!

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  15. My mom is the Ethel to my Lucy. She saves my life over and over again and I tell her every time I see her. This is an awesome tribute.

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    1. Aww that's nice. It's always good to actually tell the people we love. Thanks.

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  16. She sounds amazing! What a wonderful example. My mom is one of my heroes for sure. She's also an amazing example of kindness, love, and just all around amazingness. I think I'll call her and tell her that. :-)

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    1. Yay! Let's start an "I love my Mum and I'm gonna tell her now" revolution!!

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  18. What a beautiful post Claire! Your mum sounds like an amazing woman and such a great role model. Learning to fly at 50...awesomesauce. Guess your mum is proving 'you're never too old' :)

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    1. Yes absolutely. I am just about to turn that age next month but there is no way I am learning to fly! Argh. What a tough act to follow!

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  19. Wow! What an extraordinary and beautiful person your mother is. And how lovely to read about her being (understandably) your hero.

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  20. Wow, Claire, hearing about what kind of person your mother is explains a lot about what's so fantastic about you. Thank you for sharing her for a moment!

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  21. Your mom's my hero now too! I've always wanted to take flying lessons - good to know I can save that for my 50's. :)

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    1. Ha ha yes, you are never too old for anything!

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  22. This brought tears to my eyes, too. I lost my mom nearly a decade ago, so anything about moms tends to bring a tear to my eye, but in this case it was accompanied by a huge smile. What an amazingly wonderful woman your mom is, and what an amazingly wonderful woman she gave birth to! Love this post.

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    1. Oh I'm sorry to hear that. I feel so blessed to have a mum like I do and don't ever forget it. Thanks for your comment.

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  23. I love this! What a great tribute to your mother. She sounds wonderful! That was huge on her part to watch you move so far away and be able to do it lovingly and graciously. And I love her adventurous spirit. Now I know where you get yours! BTW, I'd like to join the group, but I'm not sure how to do it.

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    1. Thanks Mary :)
      It would be great to have you join. You will need to email Carolina Valdez Miller as she is the one organizing it. I will email you her email address. Excellent - we post on the 2nd Wed of the month.

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  24. What a beautiful, love-filled, tribute post, Claire. You are so so SOOO blessed to have such an amazing mother and role model. Thank you for sharing. <3

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