Sylvia Rose’s Story is a series, published monthly. Why not start at Chapter One?
Things My Mother Taught Me
I am going to try and give you some insight into this amazing woman and the deep impact she has had on my life. I feel privileged to call her my Mom. Although we live in different countries, we speak every day. She has always been fiercely protective of her children. Nobody comes between my mother and her children, she is still like that today. She wasn’t scared to take on ANYONE if they hurt her babies. She would take on the principle for unfair punishment and treatment, to your ‘best friend’s’ mother for not taking good enough care of her angels at the friend’s house!
My mom was born in Zambia on a chilly evening on the 7th of May, Victory Day 1945 . Her mother gave her the name, Victoria as a second name to celebrate this momentous day in history, her birth and the end of the Second World War. Beautiful right!!
Her father was delighted to welcome a girl after two boys.
My mom, was the apple of his eye from the very beginning. He celebrated with champagne and cigars, as is the tradition… They continued to have a very close relationship until his untimely death when she was 9. I don’t think my mother never fully recovered from his death.
She grew up to be the most beautiful, fun loving and cultured woman amongst all of her siblings. She loved the opera, reading, literature and her dress sense could not be compared.
That is the simple introduction to my amazing ‘Momz’i (as I call her) She is strong, resilient and caring. Faced with so many very tough situations in her life, however she remained steadfast. A woman I aspire to be, and in some small way I would like to believe I have achieved some of her attributes. I am grateful.
My mother’s life motto, be kind to everyone you meet, love more than you hate and embrace every situation with a sense of expectancy. Your smile might save someone’s life.
Okay, so let’s get down to what my mother taught me.
A pure unadulterated love for literature;
I own more books than shoes or outfits, I sadly did not inherited her dress sense….But she taught me from a very young age to appreciate and explore different literature, our local library became my second home. She would read a story to me almost every night. We still shared these special moments even when I learned to read, then I would read to her. It was a sacred time we shared and that firmly grounded me to become an avid reader, and later on an amateur but keen writer.
Respect every person you meet, until they prove unworthy of your respect….
She once recited a story to me about a Professor who put a twenty-five mark question on a paper that was out of a hundred marks. The question was, what is the name of the lady who cleans this lecture venue. The students afterwards were outraged, how could he pose such a stupid question that counted 25 marks that seemed irrelevant to the very complicated mathematical subject. He simply replied, in life you need to appreciate every person from the CEO of the company to the lady that cleans the toilet. The degree means nothing for your cycle of life unless you master this art. Education must be holistic, nothing worse than an educated self-centered fool. That story has stuck with me. I have relayed it to my children and their friends so many times. I love the fact that they have embraced it and do the same thing wherever they go. I know every cleaner on my floor and their life situations, which I ask them about regularly.
She taught me to,” get up, dress up and show up, no matter how you feel, And that it’s always better to be over dressed than under dressed (that advice has saved me many times).
About good food, that was a sensitive topic….
She gave me an appreciation for good food (my family hate me for sending back shockingly prepared food at a restaurant). Although, I won’t lie; the time she went on a Cordon Bleu cooking course and we were her guinea pigs, was a little hard….
How to make friends with random strangers….
About a month ago, I was in a shop with my girls looking at things. A lady came in looking for Hamsa earrings. The shop assistant said they unfortunately didn’t have any. I piped up and said there was a pair on the shelf that I had just been looking at. We struck a conversation about the relevant item and proceeded to have a half an hour conversation about the Hamsa symbol and how it is prevalent in all religions. After which time we exchanged numbers with the promise of getting together for coffee in the not too distant future.
Oh for the love of music….
One of my Mom’s most treasured items, after her immaculate wardrobe was her LP collection of every opera that you could imagine.
I love about 10 different genres of music from Opera to Eminem… I remember as a teenager after a heavy night out, my brothers and I were rudely awoken to the sound of Edith Piaf at full volume on a Sunday morning. It did NOT bode well with said hangover….
The love plants….
My mother had an incredible garden when I was growing up. It was always the envy of everyone that visited. She nurtured her plants with same passion and love she had for her children, I also have to mention that I was at times requested to go out with an umbrella to ” save” the standard roses against hail and torrential rain. But what it gave me was a deep passion for the love of all types of plants. She taught me how to care for a variety of plants. And it has stood me in good stead. I have been known to save plants that to the naked eye look dead…Today, after waiting over 20 years, I own a huge garden that begun as a blank canvas onto which I created a beautiful garden that reflects me and my personality.
Make a home in your heart for the love of art…
I was from a very young age exposed to varying types of art, my mother would love taking me to all different art museums, galleries and the theater. I have imparted this love to my girls. On my recent trip to Dubai, I was privileged to visit the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. The art work is rotated between Abu Dhabi and Paris. A first of its kind. Visit their website if you are interested in art, it is truly awe inspiring. But as I walked the passages admiring all these famous art works, all I could think about was how my mother would love to see this. Although, afterwards I didn’t feel too guilty knowing she had visited the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery.
I could go on about the things my Mother taught me.
However, to sum it all into one sentence, she gave me a holistic life, that no main steam family could have ever given me, apart from her lack of interest of me and my sport… I forgive you Momzi. I love you to the moon and back. I am thankful for the very important things you taught me, Thank you so much. I love you more than words could ever express.
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