I originally wrote this during "Mental Health Week". I thought that putting my reflections down on paper could help me get over a bit of depression, at a time when I had been ill and was still lacking energy.
I hope that by sharing these thoughts, someone else reading it will know they are not alone, and it may also help them at at time when life does not seem to be treating them fairly – particularly those who miss their mother, for whatever reason.
A child's view of "Mum"
I have previously mentioned that I was raised by my grandparents and then my aunts and uncles because my mother was a drug addict. As a child, I never really had much to do with her and I didn't meet my father until I was 18 years old. While growing up, I never really felt that I didn't have a Mum or a Dad as my Nan and Pop and extended family gave me enough love and safety to feel that I wasn't missing out on much. I had my siblings and my cousins.
In our aboriginal culture my aunts are all my mothers, my uncles all my fathers, my cousins are my brothers and sisters.
Matthew 12 verses 48-50 ESV: 'But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."'
I was so blessed to have the childhood I had, when I hear how my husband Eddie grew up and how my step-children lived when they were out on the community. It truly makes me sad, I cry myself to sleep sometimes thinking of all the basic and simple things that I had as a child that these kids wouldn't even know about.
I was so lucky to have a Nan and Pop that never drank or smoked; as I child, the only time I would hear swearing was when my Mum would come to visit which would usually end in my Pop kicking her out because she would start trouble.
An adult daughter's need for a "mother"
Sometimes I think of how sad it is for me to not have ANY good memories my mother and me together. Now, as an adult I sometimes wish that I had a "normal" mum that I could just call up and ask for advice or just to say "hi"; I wish how my kids could have a "Nana" that was reliable and kind. And I still need someone to nag me and annoy me and check up on me.
I feel it more as an adult that I didn't really have a mother. As I child I was totally fine with my aunts filling that gap perfectly, but because I live so far away from my aunts now I can feel the gap even more.
Forgiveness is the way forward
My Mum treated me so badly on the occasions I did see her. At one time when I was 14 she had been into rehabilitation and wanted me to come and live with her. Unfortunately that didn't last long because she was back off the wagon within a year.
I had so much hurt and anger towards her, yet I still somehow sought her approval or her acceptance even though I eventually learnt that it was something I was never going to get from her.
As soon as I realised that, I knew I had to forgive her - not because she deserved it - but because I couldn't let her have that power over me to make me so angry and full of hate and hurt. Forgiving her set me free from all that.
I really miss her. Or perhaps I miss the "idea of her". Sometimes I try and pray to God, for Him to fill that gap and I feel peace and his love mostly all the time. But I still have my days of sadness and want of the comfort of a mother.
All I can do now is to be the best mother I can to my son and my step-children and foster children. I know they will be angry with me sometimes and pull away. I know I will nag too much sometimes about the wrong things. There will be times we misunderstand each other. There will be family feuds, I am sure (they are all very strong-willed kids).
But what I hope and pray for is that when they have their own families, they can come to me for comfort and we can laugh about the things we did together.
And eventually I can be that kind sweet "Nana" to their kids, the one they never had for themselves.
Tisha Williams is an indigenous home maker and mother on the Gold Coast / Tweed. He husband Edward is an indigenous painter, training to be a carpenter and teaches their children his language and dream time stories which have parallels in the Bible.
Tisha Williams' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tisha-williams.html