— by Nikki Bray
Many years ago I was encouraged to write a tribute to my Mum. This was by far the greatest gift I have ever given her.
A tribute is basically a written letter acknowledging your Mum for the things that she did right. Every Mum knows she made mistakes so a tribute provides the opportunity to express your appreciation for all the things she did right, as well as recognising the years of sacrifice she gave in raising you. Even if your mum didn’t necessarily do a great job it’s a chance to fulfill the 5th commandment of honouring our parents in a practical way.
It’s a time to recall your memories of your childhood, lessons learned, values expressed, and to thank her for all the unseen acts of love and sacrifice she poured into your life.
Andy and I each wrote one in 1993 – we then framed them, read them to our Mums and they each now hang in their respective homes for all to read. My Mum said it’s like I gave her a huge piece of my heart – words of appreciation have to be the ultimate gift.
So this Mother’s Day, may I encourage you to forget the garden vouchers, the flowers or the perfume and give a gift from the heart.
Write your mum a tribute, and read it out loud to her. You’ll be so glad you did.
If you’re thinking ‘I’d really like to do that but don’t know where to start’ I’ve included mine below to give you an idea. Happy writing!
My Tribute to my Mum
“You gave me many many things but it seems appropriate to start with your first gift – the gift of life. I don’t think I ever realized what a mother truly gives until I became a mother myself. Thank you Mum – not only for my life, but also for giving me yours.
When I look back at my childhood it seems fragmented, bitty, busy, mobile, fearful at times, joyful, happy and hurtful. And then there’s you – I loved you so much I think I ached when you weren’t there – I loved you so deeply I thought my heart would break when yours was doing so. I loved you so very much that I trusted you when everyone failed us as a family – you alone gave me the security I needed as a child to enable me to grow up into a happy, stable, happy, contented, mature adult.
It won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that one of my most vivid memories is living at Butterwick. I enjoyed living in the caravan while we were preparing the land to build our house – it was going to be our first. I remember every Sunday as Mark and I relentlessly weeded to prepare that soil – I hated it at the time but it as one of the many lessons you used to teach us that life isn’t easy and that anything worth having has to be worked for. And of course I always enjoyed the ice creams that were bought for the workers!
I also appreciated being included in building our home – it made us much more of a family and I believe I valued it more as a result.
Through washing dishes, ironing, cleaning the bathroom, hovering, peeling potatoes, you gave me a string work ethic – I think I’m still learning this today! It doesn’t come easy to me but even now you are the perfect role model in this area.
I have many memories engraved in my mind of you and my childhood – the silver jubilee, shipwreck parties, train trips to Lincoln, Butterwick school sports day, having my appendix out, Christmas chicken pox, summer holidays to Cornwall, your many driving tests, Ron leaving, passing my 11+, winning the badminton championship, working at Enderby’s, Elvis Presley, singing duets and so many many more – along with a wonderful assortment of emotions..
Because you loved me you tidied my room, picked up after me, disciplined me and you let me go : to Philip and Bridget, To Dad, to University and to Andy. All of these wouldn’t have been easy for you but you never let your own feelings or lack of them, stand in the way of my personal growth – you only wanted the best for me.
Though many details are long forgotten, through your example and your correction I believe the Lord would be proud of what you gave and taught me. Through traumas and hardships you gritted your teeth, believed in yourself and plodded on – you taught me to survive. I learnt to laugh at myself and not take life too seriously – and I learnt to take chances and risks, to be vulnerable and to keep giving even when I didn’t feel like it.
I struggled to find something to give you this Christmas – after you’ve given me so much I wanted to give you something to show how grateful I am, but I couldn’t materialize what’s in my heart, so I give you my feelings.
In this tribute with a sincere and grateful heart I give you my appreciation, my admiration, my thanks and my love.
Your loving daughter,