My Sister, Mother’s Day, & The Untraditional Role Model

by Catherine Nicholls

The first mobile phone number I ever memorised was that of my big sister. I was eight when I was bought a pink, brick-like Nokia, and every day when I ran home from school, I’d text her the latest playground gossip. She replied every single time. She was off living her own life counties away, but still responded with patience and countless emojis and cool new slang to teach me. 

Eleven years later and not much has changed. Now at university myself, I get the train down to her family home and we catch up, and I play with her kids, and she gives me much-needed advice on how to deal with my slightly-too-much-of-a-whirlwind life. 

I don’t know what I’d do without her. 

Our mum died just before I turned a year old, so I’ve never really had that kind of maternal figure. My sister stepped into that role for me at just 16, and I’ll never be able to thank her enough for it.

I think on days like Mother’s Day it’s important to not just focus on mothers, but also on those who have difficulty with the whole maternal thing, and those who have maternal figures who aren’t necessarily mothers.

It can be hard for those who have lost mothers. Mothers who have lost children. Those who have complicated, strained relationships with their mum or child. 

Of course, it’s so wonderful that so many people have experienced that idyllic, Gilmore Girls, mother-daughter relationship. This isn’t in any way a condemnation of those lucky enough to have had that.

It’s just a little reminder that sometimes, it’s hard to have a glaring reminder of what you’re missing out on. A reminder that role models and maternal figures can come from untraditional sources. 

That we’re so lucky to have a sister, an aunt, a friend to celebrate today, even if that’s not what Mother’s Day was originally set out to be.

No matter who or what you have this Mother’s Day, know you have someone who loves you, and that you’ve made it this far. Who cares if you can’t put it on a Hallmark card?

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