• Leatitia Coetzee

A homage to my Mother and all mothers

For as long as I can remember, my relationship with my mother has been rocky, to say the least.

Some back ground so that you may understand my statement.


There is a 21-year difference between us, she had me out of wedlock and had to marry my biological father. Her adoptive family did not approve of their relationship, but in order to save face, they had them married, so society would approve and accept me.

So life for her at 21 changed very rapidly. She went from being a carefree student to having more responsibilities than she ever thought possible.

No more fun and relaxed 20's. She was a new wife, and mother and learning to navigate her new life.


Then when I was 5 years old and my sister 3 years old my biological father left this world, leaving her with two very young children and a mountain of problems and debt.

So once again she had to navigate life, she had two jobs to survive, and a lot of anger and insecurities to boot as well. Our story has always been filled with a lot of regrets, misunderstandings, and miscommunication. We never seem to get along, unless we are very very far from each other. Do not misunderstand me, I adore my mother. I would kill for her and sometimes feel like I want to kill her and vice versa. I have never understood her and neither does she understand me. But this is our pattern in life. We are both stubborn and willful. We have very good days and very bad days. We try to learn about each other as we get older, but some habits are harder to get rid of than others. She is who she is because of the life she had, the choices she made, and those that were made for her. My mother is the strongest woman I know, with a faith that it seems nothing can break. She always speaks to "Pappa" as she calls God. She will sit in her garden, cross-legged on the grass, holding her bible and she would openly sit and have a chat with him. Just like two very old friends would. And this is a memory of my mother I will always treasure, as she taught me what it means to be, not a Christian...but a child of God. Because she says a child has a father, who teaches and guides them in life. A child is imperfect and makes mistakes... and being a Christian comes with a lot of responsibility to "try" and live a life as Christ did. (Christian /ˈkrɪstʃ(ə)n,ˈkrɪstɪən/ adjective: Christian relating to or professing Christianity or its teachings. noun: Christian; plural noun: Christians a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Christianity. "a born-again Christian") I used to wish I could have had a different relationship with my mother, like the ones I saw in my friends' lives or in the movies. But that was not our path. When I was younger we butted heads all the time, I took the brunt of her frustrations and anger (as the eldest), and I resented her for that for years. As I got older things just soured more. To the point where I stopped talking to her altogether for some time. I needed to find myself, who I was and I needed to understand myself first before I could attempt to understand my mother. So fast forward to today, after a lot of introspection, and living independently from her, learning about not only myself but about the woman I call "mother", I have come to realize just how much time I wasted—believing something that was not true.

Focusing only on the negative things, and missing all the sacrifices my mother had made. Looking past all the good times we had together and everything she had done for me...even when I did not deserve it, she has always been there, by my side, fighting tooth and nail for me. Protecting me (even though I thought she was smothering, demanding, and dramatic). But I realized that she did what she thought was right at the time. And did what she knew to do. She did not have a guidebook on how to be a young, single mom and how to raise two young girls alone. It took me literally twenty years to realize this and to have a relationship with my mother. One where I can look at her not only as my mother but as a person. Someone who has faced insurmountable pain, loss, and trials in her life, but remains a kind-hearted, loyal to a fault, fierce mother and friend, and a wife that will always stand firmly next to, not behind, her husband. A woman whose door is always open to anyone who needs a friend, a woman who is imperfect but true to who she is. A woman who has learned to be herself, love herself, accept herself, and who has started to live life on her own term, and can look the world square in the eyes, without fear or shame. A woman who loves openly holds nothing back (good or bad) and shares her world with those she loves. I have realized that my mother, although imperfect, is perfect to me. She is the reason I can boldly and fearlessly live my life. She is the reason I work so hard, live my life alongside God, why I believe so fiercely and why I can love with all that I am. A wild woman raised a wild child who will one day raise a wild child...to live a life filled with every moment under the sun, but raise them to live in every sense of the word. My mother is my best friend, my mentor, my true north, my "moskombersie" person. I hope you don't wait as long as me to miss the incredible moments you can have with your mother. I hope you realize sooner than I did, that a mother is not supposed to be perfect, she is only supposed to be a student of life, a daughter of God, a queen in her life, a warrior in her own right, and everything else God designed her to be...all the while being authentically imperfect and unique. I hope you never stop telling her you love her, thank her for what she taught you, share the memories you hold onto from her, and that you are never too old or busy to have a cup of coffee with her every now and then. One day she won't be there anymore, there won't be a message from her every 10 minutes to ask if you are okay, and there won't be a daily phone call just to check on you or the grandkids. There won't be surprise packages in the post filled with home-baked goods and gifts. Time is something that we have so little off and waste so much off. But it remains our most precious gift to share. So take it from a stubborn wild child...don't waste time. Embrace it and make the most of it. Because whether you want to know it or not, we will face the same things with our own children one day. What is the old saying our moms always use "one day you will be a parent and your kid will do the same to you too". Haha wise and very true words indeed, right? So go on Mooistevrou and show your mom some extra love while you are blessed enough to do it. Love Leatitia

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