Mother’s day is almost upon us and I’m sitting here in my office reflecting on the life of my own mother, as well as my role as a mother in the Kirwan family.
My mother (Kitty) is a walking miracle.
She was widowed at the age of 42 when she was seven months pregnant with her 10th child. She had nine other children under the age of 14 to feed and educate.
Another tragedy stuck the family two years later when my little brother and buddy Jack, died of measles at the age of 10.
A few years after that my mother survived a very serious car crash and spent months in hospital having broken every bone in her body. She lived to tell the tale and even suggests her scars make her more interesting! How did she cope one could ask? Eleanor Roosevelt once said
“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”
This proved so true in the case of my mother.
My mother spent her life growing the family business of marketing horses. Goresbridge Horse Sales, now run by my brother Martin, is thriving. Kitty is a very young 80 year old still actively working alongside him.
What I admire most of all about my mother was her ability to let go and allow us to make our own decisions and ultimately mistakes from time to time. I remember vividly not having to ask permission to go out once I reached my 18th birthday. So many parents never let go and succession can be a big issue in many family businesses.
All that I am or hope to be I owe to my mother.
My mother taught me about perseverance and courage and she raised us with strength and a passion that I wish could be bottled. She taught by example and has always encouraged me in my own life as a mother to be good to myself and not to try and be a hero. I stop in my track sometimes when I hear my mother in my voice as I engage with my own kids. I do not think they fear me as we feared our mother when she told us she would “cut the snot off us”!!! She always knew, and still does, where each of us are at any one moment in time and you dare not tell her you have not been to mass.
I am sure if all mothers could meet around the world there would be no more war.
So here is a thought to strong women; may we know them, support them, raise them and ultimately be them .