Well, what can I say? One thing I can say is that life is one hell of a journey. Many ups and many downs - with lots of fun and wild adventures in between. While growing up with you as a young boy, living with you in KWT, going with you to Pretoria and then settling in East London, you and I have certainly been on some wild adventures together. My life forever moulded, my character forever shaped and my destiny given direction by your love, your influence and your strength during those times.
What can I say? In a word: A LOT.
What words can I use to describe my mother, the one woman who has loved me unconditionally since birth...Strong. Graceful. Honest. Pancakes. Caring. Windsurfing. Firm. Morkels. Integrity. Loving. Leader. Gentle. Courageous. Soft. Resolute. I'll be here all day describing you. All I know is that you're beautiful. Inside and out. An inspiration to me. You always have been and you always will be; long into the afterlife.
I have some vivid memories and clear ones; all through out the years of growing up. Some funny ones, some scary ones, some sad ones, but mostly funny ones.
I distinctly remember the taste of your pancakes. You always knew how to put a smile on my face - pancakes. As you grew older, the harder it became for you to bake them. I can still picture you sitting on a stool by the stove, pouring the batter in the pan, flipping them, sprinkling cinnamon and sugar and stacking them up in the warming draw. My record of 17 in a row still stands. You still make the most delicious pancakes. Ever.
When we lived in KWT, I still remember you and I sitting in the lounge of our duplex, and you were doing the times tables with me. You fought with me to turn off KTV and I argued that it wasn't a distraction. I was right on this occasion Mom, as my maths marks were always good. Yay for KTV!!
I remember you going out late at night, still in KWT, because your store's alarm went off. I never understood the gravity of your bravery at the time. You had a torch and the store keys, venturing to into the heart of KWT's CBD with a security alarm company guy, hoping the intruders don't see you before you see them. If I think of those times now I can only say "Flip Mom, were you freaking mad??" But no, you weren't mad. You had a job. And looking after your stores was part of it. And you were always up for the challenges. The bravest and most courageous woman I know.
You broke into the world of management in Morkels. A fraternity that belonged to white Afrikaans men. And here you were, a woman. You never seemed to be scared or intimidated; even though I'm sure you were deep down, but you never showed it. Strength and a sharp tongue was always one of your strengths. You became Arthur Flemicks' bazooka in lot of regions. He knew you were a force to be reckoned with and so did your staff. I remember the respect you commanded from your staff - Noleen, Antoinette, Wilson....many of them were success stories because of how you believed in them, trained them and released them. It was no wonder that you, my Mom, was the first woman in the history of the Morkels company to win the annual prestigious Chairman's Award. There was an air of fear that carried when you visited your stores - not a scared fear, but a respectful "Oh shit, here she comes." Mom, did you ever see The Devil wears Prada with Meryl Streep playing the editor of a top magazine?? Watch the movie and you'll have an idea of the respect you commanded. You had this amazing ability to be firm and strong with your staff, while at the same time able to sympathize with them and understand them. That's what made you a GREAT leader. Inel and I both have that quality too Mom.
Coming from a sexually and physically abusive childhood, orphaned while still a toddler and adopted at a young age, you could have easily turned into a bitter, vengeful, nasty person who thought the world owed her something. But I never saw that. You were always prepared to work hard. You knew the value of treating people well; all people, not just the people who were good to you. You were a perfectionist, sometimes painfully so. But I saw the value in it - if I had the ability to do something well and right, then I should do it right and do it well. You drilled this mindset into me. Thank you. You even taught me to pray. I remember the one time my room was so untidy, you came in and said 'You better pray this room is clean by the time I come back.' You taught me to appreciate what I had. You bought me this mini hifi, 3 disc cd changer, once. I remember how I guarded this thing with my life. You taught me to never take things for granted and I suppose that why today I'm able work hard for the things in my life and really Appreciate them. I suppose if I was rich and everything was given to me without the sacrifice required I wouldn't have this quality. Thank you Mom.
You are an amazing woman. You always have been. Always game for a laugh, not afraid to laugh at yourself......or me :-) I will love you forever.