I got in trouble at school once for "show and telling" about 'how my mum shot an emu through the eye at 300 yards'. With emus being a protected species it was one of those little "in-house" stories best discussed around the kitchen table. Mum was without doubt a crack-shot. With her old 22 'Betsy' by her side, there were no pesky wabbits, snakes or other vermin safe around our place.
But then, there aren't too many tasks that Mum set her hand to, that she didn't master. Whether it be whipping up a sponge, a cheesecake, a gourmet meal for 12 when the freezer seemed empty, to ploughing, tordoning, milking, mustering, dozer-driving, dressmaking, growing the most beautiful roses you'd ever wish to see, and now running Dad's building office whilst caring for her own mother, nothing's ever been too much bother for Mum. And through all this, her and Dad have been together. Grafted at the hip, as she jokes.
And this week it nearly all came crashing down.
Mum suffers from a condition called Crohn's Disease, and I shouldn't say suffers. She manages it with medication and a slightly modified diet, with the condition rearing its ugly head not too often, with attacks of severe abdominal pain that often result in a hospital visit for some pethedine treatment, which eases the pain and allows her to recuperate at home for a day or so, until it passes.
Last Sunday night the pain came. She made it through the night and worked through Monday. Monday evening though, the pain reached a point where Dad took her up to the hospital for some relief. They admitted her and administered morphine. By nine o'clock the following morning when Dad went up they were giving her her sixth shot of morphine, with still no relief. By Tuesday evening, they took her in for emergency life-saving surgery. And it had nothing to do with Crohn's. Scar tissue from a surgery some thirty odd years ago had adhered to the bowel, and was strangling and twisting the bowel to such an extent that it was discolouring and dying. The wonderful young Dr Andrews was able to succesfully extricate the scar tissue from the intestine and restore it to its proper condition. She explained to us had the surgery been left until the following day, as discussed, we would have been telling a different story, one a little hard for me to grasp at this point.
So, after four very sick days, Mum rang last night to say "I'm better".
And now, so are we all.
We don't need weeks like these to appreciate our Mum. We, as a family, value her everyday. Her kindness, her caring nature, her many abilities. Like many mums, she is the glue that keeps our family together.
And I will continue to treasure her everyday.