Stories To Share

Below is an excerpt from ‘Tink Positive’, my story of my mother, written in her 100th year. This is my way of sharing with those who love her (and me) what I have learned from her, what her presence in my life has gifted me, and where I’m at in the evolving journey of the dance of life.

Mom has always been an optimist, despite many challenging early life circumstances – the death of her mother at age 13, the deprivation and horror of the Second World War, up close in Holland, the move to Canada as a young woman where she embraced a new life, a new culture, and new love. Her positive outlook and determination coloured my entire childhood and indeed my whole attitude in life. 

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Excerpt from ‘Tink Positive’

A Mother Daughter Story, Summer 2020

During WW2 in Holland: Mrs. Daniels was pregnant and the only way to get her to the hospital in Ede was on a little wagon that Mom tied behind her bicycle for the 13 km journey. She had twin girls. Mom went with her bicycle and wagon to pick them up from the hospital and bring them back to Otterlo. Enroute, English spitfires came along the road, and attacked German troops and vehicles. They had to take quick refuge in a ditch to escape the barrage. All ended well.

Mom’s decision to come to Canada as a war bride, to a strange land where she barely spoke the language, with a man she had only known for six months before marrying, and join a Swedish-Canadian family with very different customs and cultural habits, was a brave one. It was literally a leap into the unknown. I have reflected for decades on her reasons and what it was like for her….

The coffee cups stand out in my memories. They offer a sense of the standards of the 1950s that Mom embodied – needing to do things right. There were mugs for everyday, and sometimes cups with saucers for the ladies. But what I really remember are the bone china cups which were brought out [and still are at my mother’s place!] for guests. There were many different designs and shapes. My favorite was a deep red with gold leaf design, always touted as a very special one, as it was a gift from Aunt Anna.

I have a lingering image of Mom and me in the sixties – me discovering a wider world at university and beyond. And her moving to a city for the first time and trying to figure out who she was as her own person. Like Mom, I embraced the possibilities of my time – like her I was a young educated woman with a mind of my own who made a choice to set off for new horizons and never looked back.

MAKING MEANING OF OUR STORY…

Fabric and patterns seem a helpful way to think of this weaving together of stories and meaning-making. They outlive us. And so, what is the fabric of a life? What is left at the end of the day? Where does she end and I begin? Whose story is this really? What happens to the fabric once she dies? Once I die? How do others who know and love her weave their memories and experiences together with mine?

I now understand that she lived with values that have been indelibly printed on the fabric of MY life. Her actions and attitudes have told a story of what she believes was and is important. As if the warp and weft of the fabrics of our lives were separating as I grew up, some key threads remained entwined – and continued to provide support to each of us over time, even though we lived far apart.

With each passing year, each visit, each phone call, I honour more deeply her resilience, and presence the grace with which she has faced adversities. I keep learning from her. And love her. Like any journey, this one has reached some sort of destination – a place of acceptance and peace and insight. A stop along the way on the continuing journey of our lives.

How do others who know and love her weave their memories and experiences together with mine?

What stories of mother and daughter do we share? Let’s connect.