It's good to realise that one of the women I admire most is my own mother.
This is not to say that Mum and I have some sort of cloying, mutual-worshipping relationship. We are quite different personalities, and sometimes we frustrate each other. It is never very much, though, and never for long.
Earlier this week, Mum stayed at our place overnight. In the morning, Fatty reported to me solemnly that the car I usually drive had a flat tyre. Fatty was running late for work, but he offered tentatively, "I guess I should change it for you now?" I motioned him away with my hand, " No, you go. Mum and I will change the tyre."
I don't know whether to be proud or ashamed to admit that I have never changed a tyre unassisted. I am a feminist, and have always aimed to be a woman who is independent and self-sufficient. However, every time I have bravely and briskly begun to change a tyre, a delightful MAN has come along and changed the tyre for me! In general, men in Australia are quite gallant, in a flannel-shirted, beer-drinking sort of way. They may be sexist and macho at times, but they will always stop to help someone in need. I believe in encouraging this honourable behaviour, so I have never turned away a knight in shining armour. Also, it is much easier and faster than doing it myself. So much for my independent streak.
After Fatty tore off in his hatchback, making haste before I could change my tyre-changing mind, Mum and I headed for the flaccid-tyred car. First step - loosen the bolts. I stepped up to the fray, because after all I am 25 years younger, and I lift weights in the gym, OK.
Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngh. Oooooff! Unnnngh. Uh!!
After much straining and striving, I had 2 of the 5 bolts loose, but the others were holding fast. Mum slowly moved into position. I didn't see much point. After all, if I, Superstrong Jelly couldn't loosen the bolts, what hope would a grey-haired, ancient.....HUH?? Mum performed the whole operation with brains as well as brawn. She held the tool (don't ask me the name of it) at the horizontal, so that she could lever her weight onto it; she bore down with her body and her farm-strong arms, and BEHOLD the bolts loosened. Wow.
This woman, my mother, has been a kind and accepting mother to her three children. She has worked as a special education teacher and achieved success with children who no other teacher had been able to help. Mum can sew (she made the Senior Formal dresses for my sister and I), she can knit (she recently made throw rugs for all three of her children's homes), she can cook anything and everything. Mum can herd cattle, repair water pumps, plant trees. She paints, she concretes. Mum is involved in community charity groups. And now, she changes tyres for her daughter, too.
My hat is off to you, Mum. You are the quiet achiever, but I've noticed, and I couldn't be more proud.