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Happy birthday Mum.
Today you are 82.
I know you’re feeling tired and can’t do as much as you once did – or as much as you’d now like – but apart from the fact we’re going to get that sorted soon, you’re still more connected, informed and active than many half your age.
I know I’m not with you today, but I’m so glad we were together a few weeks ago and I’m very excited that the next time I see you, I’ll be able to introduce you to your long awaited [very long awaited] grandson.
But this post isn’t about him, it’s about you.
Maybe I don’t tell you enough, but I owe you so much.
I don’t mean that just because without you I wouldn’t exist, but because you – and Dad – taught me values and skills that have let me live a life that I probably don’t deserve to have.
But of all the things you taught me, there is one that I realise is the most important of all and that is to always be interested in what others are interested in.
It took me a long time to really understand what that meant but now I get it.
I used to think it was just about listening to others but it is so much more than that.
Now I realise that unless you are interested in what others are interested in, you’ll never truly understand their perspectives … their dreams … their pain.
Doing this lets you form a more informed view. Have a broader perspective. A greater level of empathy.
It basically helps you be a better human being and while I have a long way to go, I realise that is the best lesson you could ever be taught and why you are such a special person.
Once upon a time … a very long time ago … you asked me what I felt was the meaning of life.
It was a big question. A heavy question. And while I can’t remember exactly what I said, I am pretty sure I spouted some meaningless twaddle.
But I remember what you said.
I remember it with absolute clarity.
You said that you thought it was to leave the planet in a better place through the values, behaviour and ambitions you have encouraged your children to have.
And I hope I can make you feel you’ve achieved that, because not only is it the least that you deserve, I would never ever want to disappoint you.
You are wonderful.
Not just as a Mum – of which you are perfect – but as a person.
I could ask for nothing more and I just hope I can keep repaying you for the love, support and encouragement you have given – and continue to – give me, especially as the older I get, the more I realise how generous you have been. It’s been more than I deserve and more than many other parents would be to their kids.
I hope I can be half as good as that to my son and if I can, it’s the greatest gift you could give to him.
Happy, happy birthday my dear Mum, I love you so much.
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