Who Inspires You?

For me, it’s my Mum.  An obvious enough answer, but not one that I have expressed nearly enough in the past.  We’re very similar I think, sometimes too similar, and that can make it difficult, some times.  It hit me this weekend why she inspires me, and it started with a cake ….

She and my father had driven 2 hours to come to Bean’s party and Mum really wanted was to see the cake I had made because I’d mentioned it so many times.  When I was little, my mum made all our birthday cakes.  I still remember the cake for my own 4th birthday.  It was made into a cottage, with a chocolate finger roof.  It had windows and a door, all made with various confectionary.  It had a path, lined with flowers and the people from my FisherPrice village.  I loved it.  Because of this cake, and because of the parties we had, my own son has homemade cakes and homemade parties, which hopefully he will remember in 30 odd years time.

Aside from this, she has always supported me.  She hasn’t always agreed with me (oh, how we have disagreed).  When I was almost sued by the UK government while I was at uni (for campaigning against them taking the pill off the NHS list), she supported me and told me how proud she was of me, even though it was completely against her own beliefs.

When the person I thought (at the time) was the love of my life dumped me unceremoniously, she stayed on the phone listening to me sob for hours when I lived 300 miles away and just wanted my Mum.

She’s always been a pioneer, but I didn’t always know it.  When I was at school, she set up a play group from nothing, offering free places for families who had a need for an emergency place; quietly writing off unpaid fees from parents who just couldn’t find the £2.50 a session that week.  She found funding for toys, a venue, funding for the transformation of that venue so that it met regulations.

When I began uni, my Mum did too, except that she was commencing her training as a priest for the Church of England, whereas I moved 300 miles away to study world religion, having renounced Christianity several years before.  When I found uni hard, I thought of my Mum doing the same thing, and it kept me going.  She later told me that the thought of me doing it 300 miles from home kept her going too.  She was among the first women in the UK to be ordained as priests in the Church of England.

It’s fair to say that I’ve done a fair few things that have disappointed her or made her angry, but she’s still always there for me, and still always pushing the boundaries for herself too (even though I wish she would start taking it easier these days).

Why am I telling you this?  Well, because I should, really.  But what pushed me to do it today was reading about a fundarising attempt – to publish a book about inspiring women, to raise money for cancer research.  Cancer Research UK are backing the project but your stories are needed.  Head over to CallingAllLadies and read more about it.

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