The love I have for my mother has only deepened with (my) age. My appreciation for the kind of person she is has also transformed with time. In the last two of my 28 years I have come to truly understand my mom and really know her – her habits, her reasoning skills, the way she treats people (with all the respect and compassion of a saint), and the way she views the world and what happens in it.

I get it, mom.

Now I do.

Maybe many women will know what I mean when I say this: until you’re a proper, functioning adult (which I wasn’t until I entered into a committed relationship that came with shared bank accounts, pets, bond applications and domestic responsibilities I didn’t even know about) it’s difficult to truly understand your mom, and to appreciate just how fucking great she really is. I finally identify with her on a whole new level, because I feel like I am walking in her shoes. Empathy is not a strong enough word to accurately describe what I mean. I feel like I just know, okay. I know now in my heart.

I remember during my raucous student days, when partying and being seen were at the top of my priority list, my dad used to say to me: ‘If you want to turn out to be an upstanding woman, look no further than your mother.’ I used to roll my eyes – not because I didn’t agree with the accuracy of what he said, but because I just never thought that that would ever be an actual goal in my books. Like, at 19, do I really desire to be an ‘upstanding woman’? Not really no. It was too far into the future, too removed from my current way of life to even contemplate.

Now, it’s a different story. Rather than the common saying ‘God, don’t let me turn into my mother’, I hope to turn out half as decent as my mother.

Mom, I know now why you say two glasses of wine is more than enough. I know now why you always think the best of people no matter your first impression. Mom, I now see why you never (ever ever) procrastinate; I now see why you placed so much importance on positive communication. Mom, I understand now that patience is 100% worth striving for. I see why you’re one of the best kind of people in the world: a teacher. The world needs many, many more like you to mould and develop our young people’s minds. With someone like you out there, there is hope always.

Because, not exaggerating, my mom is the most decent, kind, generous, wise, down-to-earth and honest person on this planet. She has been a high-school maths teacher for the past 31 years, and every school year she never fails to touch at least a handful of students’ hearts. Not because she is their favourite, fun teacher, but because they see in her a mother figure they may not have of their own; or because she notices they needed something from her that they aren’t getting elsewhere; or because she notices their potential when they don’t think they have any; or because she radiates honesty, integrity and trust with every step she takes.

What I am going to say next has the potential to come across as self-admiring, but I like to think that my mom’s kind-heartedness, efficient way of living life, values, EQ and all-round goodness are rubbing off on me. As I get older, closer to my thirties, I feel as though I’m carrying her values and her wisdom in my heart; I see her in me more and more every day – and that is something I will nurture until the day I die.  

Mom, know that every person you meet, you capture their hearts, because yours is the biggest one out there.