It’s mothering sunday here in the UK, so what better day to recognise my biggest influencer, my Mum, Rose Boorman. This post is my mothers day gift. I know my mum will see it on Facebook because she is busy building up her mafia family as Big Ma Boorman!
If I could award a klout score to the influence she has had on me, you’d need a score bigger than 100. If I think about the strengths I have, I can see where I inherited them. It is without doubt nurture over nature.
My mum is 83. and has been a widow for 46 years. My dad died in a road accident when I was 3 months old. Her attitude to this terrible event in her life was that given my age, and the young age of my 3 brothers and sister, she had to get on with it and move on in life, and she did. Growing up, I always knew that I didnt;t have a Dad around, but I never felt I was missing out on anything. As a parent myself now, I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. Holidays were packed with adventure. We were the first kids I know to go abroad for holidays each year, travelling to places like Ibiza, driving over the Alps between France and Spain, Benidorm and other places. When I was about 9 or 10 my Mum bought a camper van and drove all across Europe with the boys in the back. It’s how we spent our time away from school, together as a family in the back of the van travelling to new destinations, sleeping on the roadside and exploring life. I never felt unlucky to only have one parent because my Mum never made me feel that way. We had the life we had because that’s what we had, and we enjoyed what we had rather that what we had lost.
I’ve heard my Mum moan about many things, usually me or one of my Brothers, but never about how unfair her life had been. This is remarkable considering she was raised an orphan and became a widow with a young family. She taught me that when things happen in life, you deal with them and move on. I sometimes see envy or bitterness in others, a sense of the not fair. Because I was never raised in this type of environment, I’ve never felt this way. If others have more than me, or good fortune, I’m pleased for them. If life serves up shit for a while, accept it and move on. Life should be lived in the future not in the past.
My Mum has never allowed a feeling of not being able to do something because of circumstances get in the way of living life. She raised all of us Boorman’s with a belief that you can be anything you want to be. When someone tells you that you can’t do or be something, it is all the motivation you need to get on and do it. She never conformed to what people were supposed to be or how they were supposed to act, and I think that is one of the big things that has enabled me to have 3 careers, as a recruiter, a trainer and now doing whatever it is I do now.
One of the other things that stand out in my memory is my Mum as a very committed Cub and Scout leader. Despite having a hard enough job raising the 4 of us who were at home, she found lots of time and energy to help others. She has always been committed to helping and making the lives of others better. I’m sure it is this spirit of helping where you can without expectation of return or recognition, that has helped shape my success in the social world we live in now. Her times in Scouts also leaves me with plenty of memories of my Mum abseiling, climbing, rafting and plenty of other things that you wouldn’t expect of a women of her age. Why conform? Why not push the boundaries and challenge yourself from time to time? Work out how you can do things, rather than looking at all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t, or the barriers that are going to get in the way. Do what you want to do. Be who you want to be. My Mum taught me that.
I spent my school years mostly at boarding school, as did my brothers. It wasn’t because it was easier for my Mum, it must have been quite difficult and lonely as a widow, but because she believed that it was the best way for us to get educated and have male influences. It made us independent and must have been hard for her, but looking back, set me up for the life I have subsequently led. I hope as a parent, I will always be able to do the same, and put the needs of my Children first, regardless of impact on me, and do what is right for them.
When my Mum had retired from her later career as not surprisingly a carer, (she was about 68 at the time), and with all of us kids having moved away having our own lives, she decided that the family home was too big for one person and sold up, as she approached her 72’nd year. Despite having lived in the same area for the best part of 35 years, she chose to move several 100 miles to be closer to me, my brother and one of her Grandchildren. Leaving behind a community in which she was well established with plenty of close friends, at her age looked like a mammoth task. Not for my Mum. Within weeks of moving to a new area, she was already joining community groups like 3i, the short bowls club, etc and making plenty of new friends. She is rarely in and always busy. She inspires me with a sense that community doesn’t come to you, and you can move between communities if you put yourself out there and contribute. Anyone can establish themselves anywhere if they make the effort and reach out. Coming in to some disposable cash for the first time, and wishing to see family in australia she booked a trip. Typical of my Mum, not an ordinary trip. A 3 week coach trip with back-packers around Australia, that included diving at the Great Barrier Reef, taking a hot air balloon over Red Rock, all the usual things you would expect of a women in her 70’s.
Today she is 83, still drives most places, and despite some of the medical ailments that come with age and the need to slow down (though just a bit), my Mum continues to be an inspirational parent, grand parent and great grand parent, as well as aunt , relative and friend. She has inspired us all to be who we want to be, and to deal with whatever life might throw at us, and get on with the future rather than dwelling in the past. Thats a lesson and inspiration that has been invaluable to me over the last few years in particular. If I can match up and be half as good a parent then it will be a job well done. The biggest thing I can give my children is that anything is possible, to believe in themselves and make the most of the opportunities life brings, no set back is insurmountable to a happy and fulfilled life.
I don’t say it anywhere near enough, but I love you Mum. Happy Mothers Day.