A Mother’s Day Dedication

My mum, in 10 words: elegant, beautiful, warm hearted, creative, caring, humanitarian, shopaholic, pet collector.

My mum – mama, in Russian – loves animals and got attached to each pet any of us kids ever owned. At one stage, a dwarf rabbit, a couple of guinea pigs, two cats, a dog, goldfish, and (caged) mice were under our care. You can imagine what a lively and entertaining household this turned out to be: I walked the rabbit on a leash, the dog stood guard by the guinea pig cage, the cats kept an eye on the fish, while mum would play midwife to the crazy-breeding mice.

Despite the oceans and lands that temporarily separate us, I know my mama is someone I can always count on, no matter what.

I never met my paternal grandmother as she passed away a few months before I was born. I did spend some time with my maternal grandmother (she passed away when I was about 7) and can remember when she’d babysit us. Baba, as we called her (grandmother in Russian), would walk us to the supermarket near her apartment, place a few coins into our outstretched palms, and allow us to buy whatever sweets we wanted. To me, this was one of the coolest perks ever and I’d always select the ‘Milo’ bar. Thankfully, it is still available in Australia and I associate its green wrapper, the swoosh of its logo, and the chocolaty crumbly goodness inside, with those times.

My mama, baba, and me. This was photographed around 1979, most likely by my dad.

Mother’s Day is a good reminder to pause, think, and thank all the mothers, grandmothers, “aunties,” godmothers, sisters, friends, and mothers-in-law for being such inspiring souls.

I asked a few friends and readers around the globe to share something special about their mums; I so appreciate them taking part in this tribute. Their reflections and words are full of heart, emotion, and positive energy.

Here’s a toast to mums ~ raise a glass of something bubbly as you read through these sentiments. Please leave a comment about a favourite memory or lesson learned from your mum, if you are able to. Enjoy!

NB: the pictures look alot better when clicked on and enlarged.

Miri Fridman, 34, Sydney, Australia

How has being a mother changed you? Well, apart from the fact that these days 6am is considered a mega ‘sleep in’ – and my body wobbles in more places than it did before – being a mum has made me more emotional and sensitive to issues affecting kids around the world. I now cry at any news of neglect or abuse; I never used to feel so deeply about it prior to having kids. With my children, knowing in my heart that I would actually die for them is such a powerful feeling – it is something I never thought possible.

Miri with Jamie (5) and Mikey (2) in Sydney this year.

What is the best lesson your mum taught you about motherhood?
I know its cliche, but you can never, ever, ever understand the unconditional love and devotion your parents have for you until you become a parent yourself.

I think about my kids every second that they are not with me. I wonder if they are happy, if they feel sad about something, if I packed enough changes of clothes in case of little ‘accidents’, if they are safe, if they miss me…. And we’re only talking about a couple of hours at the grandparents or kindergarten school here! Imagine when they grow up!

I actually sometimes find myself lost in thought, with tears welling up in my eyes, imagining what I would do if something happened to them. It’s crazy how powerful the love is.

Author’s note: This is a pic I love. It is of me, Marina, and my mum, Natasha, with Jamie. We were visiting Miri and her family on my trip home to Sydney in 2010.

Laura Cook, 30, Essex, UK

Favourite childhood memory about your mum: I have many of them with my wonderful mum but I would say the winner has to be a really simple one. I remember ‘helping’ my mum make cakes (I really did not help that much!) when I was about six or seven years old. She would be so patient with me and let me use the exciting electric whisk to churn up the ingredients. If I was lucky she would also let me lick the left over icing off the spoon! She didn’t mind that I made a mess and it was just a great time to spend together.

What’s the best lesson your mum taught you? Mum taught me to always go for the things you want to achieve because life is short! She sighs a bit when I tell her I am off to Sierra Leone on holiday or I have started a project that will require me to be somewhere hot, sticky, and crawling with spiders, but she has always encouraged me to try everything and for that I am really grateful.

Laura with her mum, Evelyn, and niece, Florence, walking up the Southend-on-Sea Pier. This is the longest pleasure pier in the world and you can walk over a mile out to sea along the Victorian board walk.  Photograph: lauracookphotography.net

Scott Karavlan, 33, Pittsburgh, USA

Favourite childhood memory about your mum: Growing up, mum would take me to the Carnegie Library and then the History Museum on Saturday afternoons. This created a lifelong love of reading and history.

My mum, in 10 words: an inspiration, a talented, beautiful, intelligent, articulate, and beyond patient woman.

Best lesson my mum taught me: By example, she has shown me how to treat those I love with compassion and patience.

Scott (far left) and his mum, Judy, along with the extended Karavlan family at Walt Disney World in 2011. Scott has 3 children with his wife, Amy.

Barbara Iliopoulos, 34, Sydney, Australia

How do you remember your mum on Mother’s Day? Mother’s Day is bittersweet for a motherless mother. My kids are so excited to show me the love on Mother’s Day, and I don’t have my mum to share it with her. I try not to get too emotional in front of the boys because it is a happy day, but we will always take the time to remember yiayia Maria (yiayia is grandmother in Greek). We will go to my mum’s grave – which the boys call yiayia’s little house, lay flowers, say a special prayer and light her candle. We will then go and visit my maternal grandmother (88), and we will always share stories about mum.

Funny story about my mum was showing my granny how to do a nice smile without her dentures. They were in for repairs during my wedding so mum was teaching her how to pose for the photos.

Barbara’s mum, Maria

What is the best lesson your mum taught you? Losing my mum before I had kids initially brought on an anxiety that I would not have her there to guide me with my parenting, especially through my first pregnancy. However, as I go through the process I realise that she has taught me so much – others might call it instinct. The best lesson she taught me was to give my kids a hug and a big kiss first thing every morning and the last thing at night, and to continue doing this every single day not matter how old the boys get.

Barbara, William (2), and Steven (5) on vacation in London, 2011.

Stephanie Laoaraya, 34, Nan, Thailand

The best thing about motherhood is… watching your baby grow up in front of your eyes and being with them as they share their funny thoughts on the world with you!

My mum taught me to… enjoy the moments as the kids grow up very fast.

Stephanie with Achira (3) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This photo was taken earlier this year at the Royal Gardens; the whole background is made up from flowers.

Lauren Paris, 29, Gold Coast, Australia

What is the best thing about motherhood? For me, it is the overwhelming and unconditional love I have for my son and daughter. No matter how sleep deprived, I consider it to be an absolute reward each and every day to get up to my babies and see their smiling faces. Life is one huge smile. Being a mum is the most rewarding role ever!

My son is always giggling; my daughter melts my heart every time she wraps her arms around me. She gives me slobbery smooches and says, “I love you mummy” just like she did tonight – it was the best (early) mother’s day present anyone could ask for. It’s true that the best things in life are free!

Lauren along with her grandmother (nanna), mum, and daughter Jacinta (2). They are at Q1 skyscraper on the Gold Coast for her nanna’s 75th birthday. At the time, Lauren was pregnant with her second baby; Jordan is now 4 months.

My mum, in 10 words: kind, generous, thoughtful, strong, and inspirational! She always gives great advice.

Now that I’m a mum, I value my mum and nanna even more. I am so thankful for all the opportunities they’ve given me and am so fortunate to have two such wonderful women in my life as role models. It’s beautiful to see the relationships they have with my two children.
I love them very much and can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.

Jacinta and her baby brother, Jordan, with their nan nan and great nanna

Brendan Comey, 33, Dublin, Ireland

“The photo below was taken in Dublin last October.

I am not certain what my Mothers full name is; we always just called her “Ma”. I have reason to believe that she will answer to the name Patricia or Pat, or in more recent years, Nana or Granny.

I have so many fond memories from my childhood that to pick one would be an injustice. I do have some very vivid memories from my recent past: a few years ago, my Mother had a fairly routine operation that went badly wrong. For weeks she lay in a coma in an intensive care ward surrounded by her family. Her doctors were very non committal about her chances and we were told that she will either recover and survive, or she would die.  I have decided that this is a childhood memory because I am still her child even at the ripe age of 33.

Thankfully she survived with her lust for life and wicked sense of humor intact. She is currently gallivanting on the Sicilian coast.”

Brendan’s “Ma” ~ Photograph: Brendan Comey

Andrew Galea, 33, Toronto, Canada

What do you love most about your mum? As a child, my mum was so entertaining. I cherish her everyday and she is the second most important person in my life besides my wife.

My favorite childhood memory… is when mum, dad, my sister, and I went to Disneyland Florida – one of our first family vacations. We were standing alongside some Disney characters and seeing the smile on my parents’ face at that moment was priceless! My father and mother are always more concerned about our happiness than their own.

Andrew dancing with his mum, Monica, on his wedding day in 2011.

Author’s Note: The end of this post is in honour of my mum, Natasha, from the rest of her kids. They are all based in Sydney, Australia. ( I didn’t give my older brother, Michael, enough time to respond to this post. With two little ones, he and his wife, Karen, have their hands full. Luckily, he’s seeing mum personally on Mother’s Day.)

Alana, 29

My mum, in 10 words: Mama is giving and kind, and devoted to helping others.

My favourite childhood memory about mum… I have two: shopping with her on Friday nights in our local shopping mall in Chatswood, and accompanying her to the hairdresser on Saturday mornings. Random I know!

Alex, 22

My mum, in 10 words: Caring, emotional, humanitarian, strong, traditional, beautiful, sincere, devoted, disciplined, Russian.

The things I love most about my mum… her strength of character, physically and mentally; her willingness to help people; her love for her culture; and lastly, the fact that she will always love her children even during the most difficult times.

Katherine, 19

My mum, in 10 words: beautiful, loving, caring, adventurous, smart, and the world’s best mum.

What I love most about my mum..  she will always be there for me no matter what; she always puts others before herself; and, she has a big heart.

The last time we were all together was at my wedding in Australia last year. From left: My brother Michael and his wife, Karen; my sister, Alana; my dad and mum; me and Ali; my sister, Katherine and my brother, Alex.


53 thoughts on “A Mother’s Day Dedication

  1. Hi Marina – Yummy post. Thank you.
    Like you, I’m in a different country to my Mum, and we speak almost every day on the phone. For me, being away from family is the most difficult part of choosing to live in another country. It’s good to have a day dedicated to our Mums! 🙂

    • Hi Syders! I am so glad you enjoyed the post – it is a great day to have the time dedicated to mums. I can’t be with mine but writing this post had me laughing quite a few times over memories, especially the ones including our pets! Ahhh, funny times. I wish I spoke to mum every day – time zones and schedules make it so impossible! I have yet to speak with her today; she’s on a picnic 🙂 Thank you!

  2. Fabulous post Marina – so thoughtful and a wonderful way to acknowledge and honor mothers of all ages and background. Thank you for putting this together, and I enjoyed learning a little bit more about you 🙂 I always love Mother’s Day – for the moments and memories that last forever! xo

    • Shira! Thanks for your comment and I am happy that you enjoyed the read. Happy Mother’s Day to you! I find it so hard to write posts like this and not get personal, so I just wrote about what made the day special for me. And I found that there are so many similar sentiments across the world. The world seems smaller after writing this post 🙂

    • Shimon, thank you for reading this post. To learn a little more about each of these people through their a common theme: their mothers, was so interesting and inspiring. I am glad you felt the same way, in that there is much to think about. Every story is different, yet similar. It’s interesting to note, and also a good way for all of us to scroll back to our memories. I am so grateful that I was able to share all these sentiments, as they are so personal.

  3. A very special post indeed Marina. Well done for putting it together and for reminding us all just what a pivotal and special role mums play and have played in most of our lives. On Mother’s Day I often think of those that don’t have a Mum either through neglect or circumstance and I think we should spare a thought for them. I just can’t imagine not having the relationship I have with my mum. What came through so powerfully from this post for me, was the unconditional nature of the love that mother’s have for their children. My mum still worries about me and as she frequently reminds me, she never stops being a mum no matter how old we are.

  4. Marina, this is such a fabulous post – thank you for thinking of me and for asking me to contribute. We had a great day and went to visit my yiayia and the stories about mum came out – I even mentioned the story about mum telling her how to smile on my wedding day. We had lots of laughs, some tears but most importantly lots of love. I know it’s hard being away from your mum – I hope that you had a great chat with her and i hope that she continues to inspire you xxx

    • Barb, I am so glad that you were open and shared your thoughts and experiences. Your words are so eloquent. I am so inspired by you; through the hard times, you still manage to smile and keep your mum’s memory alive. You’re such a strong person, and I know your words are helping others too. My mum and I spoke for a long while on Mother’s Day (I finally got through). Thanks x

  5. Such lovely pictures! I wish I had old pics of my mum but unfortunately she left when I was really young and I don’t remember how she looked like. Anyway, Happy Mother’s day to all mums and daughters out there. You have a good one too 🙂

    • Skybambi – I am sorry to hear about your mum, and that you don’t have any memories of her. I hope that this post may have helped or inspired you on Mother’s Day. All these stories are so personal yet we can relate to them. Thank you.

  6. This is am amazing tribute to mothers around the world. I really enjoyed reading each person’s account and seeing the pictures of the contributors. What a great celebration of life!

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  8. What a great post Marina, I lost my Mother some time ago, the only image I have left is a shot of her with me in the snow when I was about two years old. Hang on to those precious memories!

    • Andy, that photo must be such a treasure. I am glad you have a memory of your mum and I hope that this post may spoken to you in a way. ‘Hang on to those precious memories’ – so true. Thank you.

  9. Great post and lovely to be a part of it. I echo Andy’s words ‘hang on to those precious moments’ as we never really know what we have till it is gone and it is obvious from all the above stories that there are some special mums out there in our world. Happy Mothers Day to all women out there, even if we do not have our own children we can all be part of mothering others. Thanks for the words.

    • Thank you Laura, for being part of the post. I love your childhood memory 🙂 After I read your comment, I added the word “aunties” in the intro, as you’re right – many of us are “aunties” to others. thank you!

  10. My mother passed away from cancer Tuesday morning at 12:15 AM. I cared for her and she did not have to go to a nursing home. She lived in the apt. below me since 1988. We were very close. My sister lives in VA. and we were both at her bedside when she passed. I know she is in a better place. I’m so glad I was able to care for her. My sister and I posted pictures and her story. for family and friends to view. It was therapeutic looking at the old vintage photographs.i

    • Karen, I am so sorry for your loss. That’s lovely that you posted a story in your mum’s memory. The Internet is such a great medium for bringing us closer together. I hope you are doing as best as you can and I hope that reading the stories above may give you a little more peace. ~marina

  11. People really seem to like their moms, as they should.

    I gave mine a ring on the phone and beat boxed a song for her. Then we talked about the different types of lips dogs have. It was a pretty good phone call.

  12. awww this is a wonderful post Marina, I wish I had time to read it earlier 🙂 It made me to remember my childhood and think how much mums are missing their kids who live overseas… By the way, I call my grandmother ‘Baba’ 🙂

    • I am glad you took some time to read it now Kristina! My mum is now a baba! My little nephew calls her that – it seems so strange! Yes, absence makes the heart more sensitive to missing our families. thank you 🙂

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