Happy wedding day, Mom

These words that follow were written three years ago.They were written on the day my Mom was married.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I remembered writing to her, back in 2013.

And I thought I should send my Mom this note again – not about her marriage, this time, but for Mother’s Day. And for every day.

This is what I wrote:

Yesterday was a massively important day for someone special in my life.

I first met her on the day I was born, although my memory fails me. It was snowing a blizzard outside, about -20 degrees celcius.

I probably wouldn’t have been able to see too well anyway, so should probably rely on my first memory of sound, instead. Of her voice, and of Beethoven and Mozart, played on a little portable record player, beneath my cot.

Months later, her voice was probably accompanied by the rolling Atlantic Ocean, instead, as we steamed east out of St Lawrence Seaway, the USA behind us.

About 42 years later, yesterday, her voice was accompanied by the song of the South-Easter – which tugged at the eaves of her wooden seaside cottage, on the far side of False Bay.

Adorning the walls of this humble home were photos from the past four decades – of myself, my brothers and little sister. Of memories so far back they seem like another lifetime ago.

Memories from places like Banhoek, also known as Helshoogte, and Groenkloof farm, up against the mountains on Blaauwklippen Road, and a school in Somerset West, a historic farm, with whitewashed walls, usually dappled in “green-and-gold”, the sunshine through the oak leaves. Lives played out against the backdrop of our Cape Winelands’ mountains.

When I reflect on these past 42 years, it’s difficult to know whether my memories of her are accurate, objective, or whether they are too influenced by these memories’ impact upon my own life.

Her role in my life has been profound in a multitude of ways. But perhaps I have never given sufficient time – maybe even any time – to think about her own life independent of mine. Of her aspirations, her frustrations, her fears. Of the ways in which she wished she could take certain steps which would be good for her, but felt bound, or trapped. Or her regret. Of the vast realm of emotions which we all juggle, but which I only saw through the prism of my own experience.

Yesterday was a massively important day for her.

Yes, the South-Easter blew. But it did not harass. It just did what the Cape Doctor does best, and blew all the impurities far, far away.

She was surrounded by about 80 people she loved, people she has blessed with a rich weave of music, poetry, yoga, sunsets on the stoep, friendship and joy. With her love of the exhilarating, the precious.

For her delight in the opening bars of an aria, a watsonia’s first buds or the passing flight of an Arctic tern, these people surrounded her with gratitude.

I realised that as much as we are inseparable, as a fact of nature, she is also her own woman, tanned, beautiful and strong.

Happy wedding day. May your marriage be blessed.