from the desk of Michele Crawshaw
My youngest son, Gabriel, turned seven while we were putting together this month’s issue. So I was already feeling a little emotional as I sat down to read the letters three well-known Kiwi mums had written to their children for a special Mother’s Day celebration in the magazine.
We had asked them to write to their children as a tribute, and to talk about all they’d learned and loved about motherhood.
I wasn’t prepared for how I’d feel while reading them. Maybe it was my youngest turning seven – and the feeling he’s growing up way too quickly for my liking – or maybe it was the simple honesty and heartfelt words that got to me.
They’re beautiful, poignant letters about what it means to be mum to Max (TV3 entertainment presenter and The Australian Women’s Weekly columnist Kate Rodger’s four-year-old son), Millie and Reuben (doctor and former TV presenter Hinemoa Elder’s children) and “Boot” (the nickname for radio host Noelle McCarthy’s soon-tobe-born first baby).
They immediately made me want to write my own letter to my two boys, Harry (11) and Gabriel. So much has happened over these past few crazy years that I’m sure it’s easy to forget the small moments, the funny little sayings, the obsessions that last a few days or weeks before they’re on to something new, the different ways they have of making your heart soar, and break.
The main thing
I’d tell them is that happiness, compassion and self-belief are my wishes for them, and that those four words, “I love you Mama”, are the best thing
I will ever hear in my life. And that sometimes, moments after they utter them and their backs are turned, they bring me to tears…
I’d also tell them I am grateful. Not every day of course – when silly putty is left on the floor and leaves an orange stain that no amount of scrubbing and scraping will ever remove, or green felt-pen scribble suddenly appears on the back of my beloved velvet chair… I don’t feel so grateful then, and instead threaten to send them off to live with their grandparents. Though I suspect my mum would be happy if I followed through on that threat one day.
Maybe I should have asked her to write a letter for Mother’s Day, but I’m fairly certain I know what she would say: “Follow your dreams, play more Scrabble, find the joy in gardening, always drink great wine, treasure your girlfriends, throw a pyjama party for your 70th birthday, travel more, and laugh.” Good advice Mum.