Mother’s Day Message 2021

Celebrating across the generations

Celebrating Mother's Day 2021, I am reminded of the importance of grandmother's and the incredibly important role they have in the lives of their families and communities. The COVID pandemic, lockdowns and public restrictions have unfortunately resulted in many grandparents being separated from their children and grandchildren.

While people could connect with extended family through the use of technology, this was not possible for everyone. It also compounded the fact they could not ‘see' each other in person, and importantly couldn’t kiss and a hug their family.

Growing up, I was blessed to have a wonderful connection with my grandmother. She embodied the miracle of life in a very literal way, she was a midwife. I remember her working as a midwife and running her own private maternity hospital from her home in Dubbo, western NSW. Mayfair Private Maternity hospital was established when my own mother was a girl. The family home was extended by my grandfather, a builder, and the original family home became the hospital.

The role of a country town midwife in that era must have been very demanding, a call could come at any time of the day or night. My grandmother I realised looking back was a great teacher to me of the ethic of service, of strong resilience, and as the sole elder in our family she occupied the role of matriarch and leader. She was unusual for her time as a woman to own and run her own business, which all seemed quite normal to my family, and being what I saw later a strong figure in her community.  

My grandmother was a strong, resilient woman, with an Irish Catholic heritage that she claimed proudly, a deep faith, and a strong identification with rural life, the bush. She was also the midwife for her own daughter, my mother, at the home hospital, when my sisters and I were born. She literally brought us into the world. My mother would continue the tradition, becoming a midwife herself and also working at the home hospital for part of her life.

The people of my grandmother's generation experienced, directly and indirectly, the devastating impacts of the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Spanish flu, and their share of natural disasters of floods and drought among myriad other challenges. Her lessons in overcoming adversity and finding the joy in life continues to inspire me and give me strength.

For Mother’s Day this Sunday, let us particularly celebrate our elders, our grandmothers and the grandmother figures in our lives, providing the wisdom of experience, the continuity to family heritage and traditions, and the fun and reassuring love and presence to young children that only a grandmother can provide.

A big happy Mother’s Day to Mum’s, Grandmothers, step Mum's and Carers. I wish you all a joyful day with your families, a special day to be cherished, celebrated and surrounded with love.

Blessings all, Michael

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