My mum told me when I was about twelve that she wanted a daughter who was her friend. My mum had lost her own mother at a very young age and I suspect she wanted to at least have some kind of mother-daughter relationship given that it had been denied her. Sadly I was not the kind of child who was a friend to their mother. I am told I was a troubled and difficult child. I used to try and run away at every chance I got. My mum recently told me that when we moved to Australia when I was 11, I was trying to escape from my parents at Heathrow airport. I was anxious and fussy. As a small child I was frustrated, angry, determined stubborn (of course most of those qualities form the reasons I have survived and a my successful self today but in a child they just made everyone;s life difficult.) I was an Asperkid in the days before there was a label for Asperkids. I had no support and I struggled to get by in the world.
When I was a teenager I was rebellious, contrary and brilliant. I was dux of the school but I was also a dope-smoking socialist who spent my spare moments with adult revolutionaries in Melbourne – 300 kilometres from where we lived. I moved out of home at seventeen – desperate to escape my family home and the country town we lived in, with what I saw as its bigots and countrified idiots. I got a job in Melbourne and started life as an independent adult. I struggled with relationships. Housemates annoyed me so I’d move every six months or so. Because I had such a hard time at school being bullied and mistreated and because I had experienced sexual abuse, I was quite an angry and confused young woman. I started going to protests with the sole wish to be arrested or fight with the police.At around this time I the met the person who changed my life and not in a good way. We shall call him David in the safety of this blog. David was an anarchist and an evil man. I was attracted to David because he liked the darker side of life but I soon became aware that he was a terrifying psychopath who would kill me – and anyone else – with barely a thought. I couldn’t get away from him so I became a reluctant accomplice in his criminal acts. At the age of 20 I found myself in prison. My mum found out about this by listening to a news report on the radio. Understandably she was devastated,
I was not my mum’s dream daughter who would be her friend, I was a dangerous, druggie criminal left-wing extremist who was so caught up in her misery that my mum and her feelings were not considered at all. The next fews years were similarly disturbing. On one occasion I lost contact with my parents for many months. They thought was dead. Now that I am older and can see beyond my own experience, I realise how terrible those years must have been for my mum, I was a hopeless case. But a strange thing happened in our family. When I first went to prison, an elderly and rather conservative relative said that if her daughter went to prison she would move overseas. My mum told me that this was not a sentiment that ever crossed her mind Abandoning me to my fate was not an option for my mum and dad. They stuck by me regardless. They moved my possessions to countless different addresses, they sent me money in prison, they visited me, they went to court on my behalf, and most importantly they loved me. I suppose they thought that even if I was not long for this world, I would at least have my parents’ love.
So when I was 25 and decided to make some changes in my life, my parents were right there beside me, encouraging ad supporting, I will flash through the last fifteen years or this will be a very long post, but I am now so far removed from my criminal, dug addled, socialist self that some people doubt that I am telling the truth when I speak of it. I am a public servant, an author, an Autism advocate and I am highly-regarded by a lot of influential people. I am happy, own my own home and I have a Master’s degree. I often send my mum and dad things I have written or speaking opportunities I have been given. My mum always responds with genuine enthusiasm.
I am truly the prodigal daughter. My life which was lost is now found. One of the things which makes me happiest about how my fortunes have changed is the impact it has had on my parents, particularly my mum. And yes, my mum is now my friend. I love her more than anyone and I am so glad that she now gets to support me through successes and not disasters. She is an amazing woman and I am eternally grateful to her and my dad for their support when I was in a bad place. I strongly believe that their love and support helped me to become the me I am today. So thank you mum and happy Mothers’ Day.