1. Hug the unghuggable and love the unlovable. Its taken twenty years, but I finally understand why my mum kept telling me she loved me even when I didn’t tell her back, or rolled my eyes, or gritted my teeth. Or hugged me when I was as approachable as a sandpaper-smothered piranha. Because the message reached home and is so much a part of me that I’m passing it on. Thanks Mum.
2. Family matters.
3. Listen with your heart, and your eyes. Take the time to hear what is not being said.
4. Sometimes the best gift is to do the thing that needs doing. She once threw a kiddy party for a friend’s 40th because her friend had never had a proper party as a child. Have you ever seen a bunch of middle-aged women playing musical statues?
5. If you’re going to be a loser, be good at it. I could never run very fast, but every year we had to have a race at school. For a few years I would be bitterly disappointed because I had tried so hard and done so badly, but then she said I should lose well. If I came last, it saved somebody else the embarrassment of coming last.
6. There’s always room for encouragement. Proper “I believe in you, your life matters” not this “I am telling you this to help you” stuff.
7. Be thankful. She also tried to teach me to say please, but it didn’t take quite so well.
8. Be the friend you want to have.
9. It’s okay to be a non-conformist. It’s not okay to be a rebel. The difference? Your heart.
10. You’re stronger than you think you are.
My mum. She’s the strongest woman I know.