My mother never fell out of love with my father. He is her only love, the man she left their hometown with, both of them filled with the optimism of the young. He had a high-flying career in many foreign countries whilst she kept the home fires burning. Life had not been that easy or ideal for her, but she always smiled her big, beaming smile that made us all feel loved and important. We have always known that we were very important to her. Though she was a shining star before she fell in love with him, she shone only for him from the moment they met, and not the world. To the rest of the world, she was just an extension of him, the appendage, the stay-at-home wife.
Many modern women would scorn her – she could have been so much more – but she is my inspiration. If I am 1/100th the woman my mother is, I would be honoured. I have always wanted to love only one man, to bear his children (pieces of him), to put all my emotional investment in the family we build together and to grow old with the one I started my journey with. My mother has taught me over many decades that the only true love is one that is tempered by the years and forged in selfless love, and that being in love means waking up with the same person, looking forward to the new day together. My mother taught me too that excitement is seeing the world through the eyes of my children, not through exciting idealised love that does not exist nor last. My mother, my role-model, I believe her.