And the Award For Best Supporting Act Goes To…

The Story of Mum online exhibition is an international showcase celebrating motherhood.

This photo shows how one participant defined herself by finishing the phrase “I am a mum and ….”

I am a mum and a dreamer.

I am a mum and a dreamer.

This photo really resonated with me.  Motherhood is full of dreams – your hopes and dreams for your child start before they are even born. To be a dreamer, you need to believe in tomorrow and the possibilities it holds.  As a mother, you wouldn’t bring a child into the world unless you believed in in the future.  In so many ways, motherhood is a positive, life-affirming experience.

So what about me?  How would I finish the sentence?

I am a mum and a (best) supporting act.

In addition to the mundane activities of cooking, laundry etc., I also provide the following supportive services (by no means an exhaustive list):

  • doling out (im)partial advice
  • drying of tears and giving of hugs
  • helping with homework, such as drawing straight lines for art projects and finding the last known pencil in the house
  • doing odd jobs during playtime (colouring in boring bits, hauling the sled uphill, making snowballs for throwers etc.)
  • holding miscellaneous items of clothing the wearer takes off
  • hauling my own bodyweight in a bag full of sunscreen, snacks, bottles of water, books etc.
  • acting as a playmate (usually when no other child is available)
  • arbitrating arguments and meting out justice (loosely defined)

I don’t mind being a supporting act.  I am happy to help my children shine bright and be the stars of their own show.   Let’s get to some photos before I start singing that old classic “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

I am a supporting act just as my mother was before me.  Although my brother and I are now adults with our own families, she still helps me when I need her because motherhood is a lifetime job.  This fact became all too apparent to me three years ago.

I am a mum who is missing one child.  I have three children, 2 sons and 1 daughter.  Sadly one of my sons passed away when he was 5 weeks old.  The grief was overwhelming for all of us.  My other two children (twins who had just turned four) didn’t understand how someone can just disappear forever.  As a transatlantic family, we are used to partings.  This time, however, there was no Skype, no greeting cards and no plans to meet up again.

My mother was my biggest supporter because my husband was just as devastated as I was.  She let me wallow in my grief for a while.  Then, she told me to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get on with life.  She reminded me that I had two young children who still needed their mother.  I needed support but I also needed this harsh call to reality.

And, up I got.  My mamma didn’t raise no wilting flowers.

I am a mother blessed with two wonderful children but I am short one child. Having another child wouldn’t help the situation.  I have come to accept that I will always be missing one son.

I am, of course, more than scaffolding supporting my children’s growth and development.  Thanks to PicFrame I have created a collage because a picture is worth a thousand words, and all that.

mother collage

****

This post is part of an online exhibition set up by Story of Mum celebrating motherhood, exploring the impact of mothering on our identities and encouraging mums worldwide to share their stories in words, photos, collage and film.

story of mum exhibition

BritMums - Leading the Conversation

2 thoughts on “And the Award For Best Supporting Act Goes To…

  1. Pippa

    What a moving and insightful post. So sorry to hear of your loss, thank you for sharing your experience of being a mum who is missing one child.

    I love your I’m a mum and a… image, and oh how that list of supporting act tasks rings true! I relate to all of them… Let’s keep dreaming, and moving forward, and supporting ourselves and others. xx

    Reply

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