Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Ode to Mum

Hello lovelies, it’s been too long! I have been busy with car accidents (well… just one), clay sculpture workshops and my mum’s 50th birthday party, which she had on Saturday. As part of my contribution I did a speech (eek!) in front of the 100-odd guests that attended. I’ve decided to post the speech here because I’d like you all to hear just how wonderful my mum is.

My adorable mother

I’m not going to go too far into mum’s life story, however there is one thing I must say: My mother was a deprived child. Unlike her highly privileged younger sister Tracy, mum did not attend kindergarten because her mother was caring for said sibling. Not being the one to hold the grudge, she stole Tracy’s sweet 16th birthday and used it to marry Paul. Mum, you have come so far, despite your disadvantage. You can barely tell that you’re behind!

Preaching to the choir: "It's all about me"

Now the business end of things is done, Mum, I would like to use this speech to thank you for the things that you have taught me and the things that you’ve passed down to me:

Your creativity, which is evident from all the work you have put into tonight. The place looks lovely and only you could pull off a stage show!

The hips, which will be great for child-bearing, but have also come in handy for lugging things around.

The ‘Imlay’ Shoulders: For those who have never seen my mother, aunt, grandmother or myself get worked up, essentially, the Imlay shoulders are what happens to a woman in mums family when they become really, really mad. They destroy everything in their path. If you are the cause of an explosion of the Imlay shoulders, put on a helmet and run. I remember being a kid and knowing just how much trouble I was in by the speed and viciousness of my mother’s shoulders. She never really had to tell me off, because I already knew.

Her way with words: My mother has a real strength in rhyming, displayed throughout the night, but not so much the ability to form a legitimate English sentence. She rarely finishes a… As someone who lives with the same problem, I’m going to say it’s because there are just so many intelligent thoughts running through her head at any one time and unfortunately only one mouth to get them all out with. My mother can also tell an entire story to another woman by speaking very loudly, using extreme hand gestures and replacing all her nouns with made up words. Thing. Whatsit. Thingamajig. Doo-be-flack. What’s-its-name. She sometimes gets her words mixed up. Growing up, whenever I had a chiropractor appointment, my mother would say, without fail “Ok Kate, it’s time for the vet!” The mixing up words is also evident in her relationship with her sister in-law Sue. Mum is always mistaking “friend” for “tart” and “buddy” for “Bogan”. Thankfully Aunty Susie is very understanding and just goes along with it to save her the embarrassment. I remember sitting around the kitchen table with Mum, Dad & Andrew, eating dinner. We were trialling the new diet coke with lime and my mother came out with one complete, adult sentence… “It’s subtle, isn’t it? I like it, it’s very subtle.” We nearly died. My mother used actual words to describe something, and she knew what they meant! It’s now an ongoing joke when mum says something intelligent, that we remind her of just how “subtle” it is.

Kym and I with the birthday princess

Her anal-control-freak-ness: Firstly, for the record, her name is Jill. NOT Jillian. This anal aspect of my mother is evident tonight. Every detail has been carefully sought out and ordered around by my mother. She is the queen of micro managing which is both strength and a weakness. Everything must be just so. This is really evident in her commitment to her work. When she does something she does it right. Along with mum’s anal-control-freak-ness is her brutal honesty. My mother has the opposite of poker face. She can’t possibly keep her feelings to herself. Most of the time I find this useful, because it’s easy to see how much she cares for people- her laughter and facial expressions are contagious. However, her honesty is not always welcome. One of the details that gripes mum is lack of outfit colour-coordination. “Navy & Black?” “Pink & Green should never be seen” “Orange & Pink”, well, orange and most colours. If you are not wearing appropriately colour matched attire, you will know. But she will always tell you when you’ve done something right. While we’re talking about colour… PURPLE. My mother HATES the colour purple. So why she is wearing purple tonight I HAVE NO IDEA!

Brother Andrew, the lovely Christine, Mum and Dad

Caring nature:
Something that I genuinely want to thank you for passing down to me is your caring nature. Mum, you are somebody who genuinely cares about others and sometimes more than you should. You cry in every movie. You worry for others so much it pains me. You obsessively treat everyone equally and fairly. But you also care deeply about every person in your life. You taught me the difference between right and wrong and to respect differences and value people no matter how different they are to me. There are very few people in life that can have so much going on and still make you feel like the conversation they are having with you is the most important thing in their day. Mum is one of those people. I would not be the person I am today if I didn’t have a mother who was so committed to fairness and showing that she cared for others.

Her generosity: My mother is incredibly generous. Sometimes to the point where I want to shake her. You wouldn’t believe it, but mum actually had to cut the number of people she invited tonight. That’s right, you, here tonight, are not the only ones she wanted to invite. As she said to me, “Kate there has to be a line” – apparently that line is somewhere over 100 people. But that’s mum. She just loves people and loves giving. One of the biggest things about her generosity is the over-catering. If you have ever been fed by her you will know that she makes sure you are well fed and have lunch for the next three days.

It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll.... Yew!

This really is a short list of all the things you have taught me but “there has to be a line somewhere”. Mum, the fact that you are surrounded by so many people tonight is a testament to your commitment to relationships and people. People here know that you care. Mum, thanks for making me those noodles every time I was sick. Every single time. I still crave them and they will never be the same, because they were always seasoned with love. In the last few years you have really settled into yourself- you seem a lot more relaxed and comfortable with who you are. I am incredibly proud of who you are and who you are becoming. Thank you, and thanks dad, for all the sacrifices you’ve made to look after Andrew and I. It’s fantastic to see you and dad doing something for yourselves and building the house after so many years of looking after us and the rest of the world. I hope that this season of life brings you more and more opportunities to be generous to yourself.

Happy birthday Mum! You are one of a kind and all the cool kids are jealous.

Kate xx

Mum and her sister Tracy with my blinged-up nanna!


  1. What a beautiful daughter I have... inside and out.... Love the speech in full! thanks sweetheart.... tears in my eyes now! xo

  2. what a great lady you have grown into Kate, I can see your mum is very proud of you.Your speak was great and truthful. The night was the best and most enjoyable {except for the special girls only nights} that I have had in a long time. Thanks Kate and Jill Love you heaps
    Raelene xxx

  3. Kate thats such a lovely blog post I'm glad you did an Ode to your Mum it was lovely.
    I especially like the photo of you, Kym and your mum and I sure as hell hope never to see these Imlay shoulders! The part about your mums generosity made me giggle because of our conversation the other day and how true your wish for them (parents) to have more opportunities to be generous to themselves.
    This blog makes me all warm and fuzzy and I dont even know your mum! But it definitely makes me think about my mum and how much you appreciate your mum's as an adult.
    Happy 50th Jill!

  4. Thanks Rae & Neen. My mum really is fabulous and she and Dad did a great job at raising us!I'll try to keep shoulders at bay... xx


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