It was wonderful and horrifying all at the same time! I felt the pain of losing a child thirty years ago, my struggle to create something good of it, and now the elation of being honored in the presence of the Queens' representative.
As the tears formed, Janice mouthed comforting words to me. She knew what I was going through, she too had lost a daughter. When she embraced me, she whispered. "Mother to Mother."
Yes - that is what this is all about.
Half of the beauty of the celebration was watching her preside with exceptional elegant grace at what she called her "house warming" party - her first official event in her new home the Government House. She was "mother" to all of us.
Mothering doesn't have to end with the responsibility of loving our own children, it can extend to include everyone that comes into our presence, because in the final end we are all children of someone.
I kept thinking that I hadn't done anything exceptional to deserve this Order of Manitoba - not like the others. It had been my calling to be a "mother" that had sent me on my life's path - and still determines a great deal of my life.
(I am very aware that my other two adult children, Syras and Odia are sitting with my husband in the audience. And even though they are adults, I am still mothering - delighted that I have just brought them along with me on the perfect field trip into the legislative buildings, right into the Manitoban Room - and later into the banquet room of the Government House where only a very selected few are ever entertained. This is all worth it just to give them an insight into another world.)
But it isn't about only mothering my children, it is about mothering, or parenting, all children - all peoples. Accepting this award, says that mothering is truly worth honoring,celebrating and promoting..
Redefined mothering is about making sure that everyone within our sphere of influence feels protected, loved, and cared for. It is about being an honest reflection - to hold and promote the values that will make us better people. It is about supporting and healing the broken. It is about setting a lovely table, saying a kind word, and honoring everyone who passes in and out of the doors of our lives. And to do all of that with a royal style is to be in the presence of a Queen Mother.
As the evening progressed, I noticed that many of the recipients were already talking about how the Order of Manitoba could and would enhance their work. They were already networking, planning and dreaming, as they touched their medal with pride.
I think it will make all of us better people.
It was truly inspiring.
I feel incredibly grateful to have this moment, feelings and all.
And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too.
― Elizabeth I Tudor
Top photograph: L to R. Syras Derksen, (son) Cliff Derksen, Wilma Derksen, Odia Reimer, (daughter) Veronica Gagnon, (family friend)
Bottom photo: Tiramisu Charlotte with a Raspberry Coulis garnished with a Trio of Berries, a Cluster of Fresh Mint and a Tuile Bisuit.