It takes a remarkable woman to raise a strong woman…
I have come to realise that I am a strong, independent woman and I should be (and am) proud of that, and to say that.
At some point recently I had a conversation with a few equally strong (if very different and unique) women about my sister’s soon to be born son. Somehow all of us expressed that we would prefer to have sons, if and when the time comes to bear children. To this I commented that it is ironic, since we are the type of women who SHOULD be raising the next generation of females…
This weekend we had two (yes, two!) baby showers for my future nephew and I got to spend some time with my Mom and Grandma. To be honest, sometimes my mother irritates me – as I think every mother does her daughter at some point – and I lose my cool with her a bit. But, like she rightfully pointed out this weekend, I am independent with a will of my own because that is how she raised me.
My mother is a remarkable human. Practically blind since she was 18 she has never let it stand in her way and has achieved SO much as an invaluable member of her community. 25 years of teaching at the local creche, over 20 years of teaching Sunday School, more than two decades as a ‘nig’ in the Voortrekkers (there is hardly a white kid between my age and 4 years old in our small little Swartland town that does not know her, does not have a fond memory of her) and active participation in the church, ACVV and other community projects since they moved to Malmesbury in the early 80s. She hardly ever gets upset, never loses her cool and I do not think I have ever heard her say anything negative about anyone…
Which brings me to my Gran. Ouma turned 90 in May. She still knits blankets, gloves, jerseys and dolls for her grand kids, 10 great grand kids and the children of less fortunate communities in the Swartland (currently she is knitting little xmas socks for the kids who will be in the local hospital over the festive season this year.) She talks about the other residents in her nursing home as ‘the old people’ and looks immaculate every day.
In her generation a woman’s place was firmly behind her man… These days you can describe a couple by what they do for careers (“he is a world class investigative journalist and she is one of the city’s best physiotherapists.” ) Judging by my Grandpa and his esteemed place in our community, she was great at her job.
So, here is to the remarkable women that raised me and women like me for generations. I hope life does afford me the opportunity to raise one myself, but for now, lets go have some bubbly in honour of our mothers and their mothers before them (and to my sister, a soon to be mother!)
Ouma, with my aunt and mother (as a baby, right) 1950.
Ouma, with 11 of her 13 grandchildren (and almost as many other halves) at my sister’s wedding in 2011.
Ouma, with great grandchildren Ana and Hardy and one of her famous blankets, 2013.