To celebrate Mother’s Day, Team Image gathered some of thoughts and anecdotes about our mums. You can read them all here – try to get through the entire post without welling up! – and hit ‘read more’ to read mine. That’s her and I in Mexico in the top pic, and her at 21 in the bottom one.
My mother Carol has led an extraordinary life – travelling the world as a circus performer, sharing a ring with elephants and lions, learning the trapeze in her 20s, being a ringmistress – but it’s the most banal acts of loving motherliness than stick with me the most. I don’t think I can or will ever fully grasp just how much mum has sacrificed for my sister and I. She left Mexico (sunny, warm Mexico where she had lived for years and made a life) to return to Ireland (early 90s Ireland, grim and grey, still in financial crisis) so that my sister and I could go to school. I tear up just thinking about how tough it must have been, being a single parent to two boisterous, often scrappy little girls, who didn’t even come close to understanding just how hard life was for her. Every pound she earned went to making sure that we got the quality education that she had missed out on due to travelling. It meant sending us to boarding school from age seven, and trying to fight back tears as she waved goodbye, sometimes not seeing us for weeks or even months.
While our carefree summers on the circus were spent jumping on trampolines, learning dance routines, and earning pocket money by selling souvenirs, hers were spent working tirelessly in the circus shop, cleaning candy floss and popcorn machines, being the circus ringmistress, hand-sewing elaborate costumes, and saving so that we could have books, shoes and a new uniform come September. These days, I tease my mum a lot. At a family fancy dress, I joked that she should go as Cinderella, because she’s always cleaning (on a recent visit, we woke to find her washing our walls). Working is hard-wired into her being, and it’s not easy to get her to stop and relax.
I’m often told that I’m very like my father – a lover of photography, history, and language. But being raised by mum has made me who I am. Without learning a thing or two from her insane work ethic, drive and determination, I know I wouldn’t have gotten very far. Her selflessness leaves me teary eyed and humbled. Happy Mother’s Day mum, I love you.