My mother was born in 1933, and spent the majority of her life in, and around, the small country town where I was also conceived, born and grew up.
She attended a one-room school, where the other students were mostly relatives; until she was about 13 when she was packed off to boarding school in Sydney. Here she was taught to darn beautifully and other things that would benefit ladies of that time – she wanted to learn science.
When she finished school she returned to the small country town and began working as a photographic artist in the local studio – which specialized in weddings and family portraits.
One day a handsome foreigner walked into the studio and swept her off her feet. They married in 1956 and moved into my grandparent's house on the farm where myself and 3 siblings were to grow up. (My grandparents had built themselves a house and moved into the civilization of town).
My mother has 2 green thumbs and 8 green fingers. She has made fabulous gardens and won many prizes in delicate flower arranging. She could also demolish a snake with a shovel!
Mum was only 53 and starting to explore life without children at home, when my father had a massive stroke which changed the course of her "retirement". She has cared, full-time, for my father every day since – a very difficult and mostly thankless task.
She is a breast cancer survivor twice (30+ years apart). She has had both knees totally replaced in the past 4 years – the first one a success, the other leaving her dependent on a walker to get around. She has a dodgy shoulder.
She has faced all of her battles without any complaint. She has infinite patience and she is definitely the kindest person I have ever met! I think the only gene I inherited, from her, was the snake killing one – though I will totally deny that I am anything like my father!
Happy 75th birthday mum!