An ode to our mothers

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

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You can write ballads for them, get their name tattooed on your chest, or simply make a video. For Mother's Day, the Lëtzebuerger Journal lets mothers and their sons and daughters have their say, because no one can express the love between mum and child like they do.

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Mammendag

*in Luxembourgish

An inseparable duo

Mamma, Mammeli, Mami – Aline has many pet names for her mother, because hardly anyone is as close to her as the 65-year-old. The youngest of three children loves to chat with Mama Suzette – no matter what time of the day: “Kachs de or kachs de net, et ass egal, hatt schwätzt einfach nëmme virun!” In order to be able to continue the conversations, which sometimes last for hours, while doing the housework, Aline got Suzette a headset – quite unselfishly, of course. “After all, it's not just one child who calls, but sometimes three”, the 27-year-old explains with a grin. The family of five would tell each other anything, there are no taboos. “My mother taught us early on that we can always tell her anything, no matter how bad it is”, Aline explains.

The fact that the relationship between mother and kids is so sincere is probably also due to the calmness that Suzette displayed from the very beginning. “You could always do anything around my mother. If my friends and I came home from a party at three o'clock in the morning, she would make pasta for us. Nothing was ever too much for her.” Even when Aline and her siblings were little, there was usually a “full house” at home: Whether it's baking biscuits far beyond the thousand mark, throwing home parties for birthdays or just sitting at the lunch table with a whole gang of hungry mouths to feed – Suzette loves her children and their friends, and they love her.

“My mother has accompanied me on every path of life so far, no matter how many detours I've taken, and I wish that one day I will be a mother like her too.”

Aline Stracks

It is therefore only usual that Aline's closest circle attends the Relais pour la Vie every year to commemorate her mother's overcoming of her illness: “She had breast cancer years ago, it was a very difficult time for all of us. But she never let herself down and I admire her for how much she was always there for us despite everything.” Suzette also appreciates the mutual support, as it has already got her through numerous unpleasant phases in life. “You don't notice it so much at the time, but in retrospect you realise that your family has always been there for you”, says the 65-year-old.

For her, her “grouss Maus”, her “Tricki” and her “klenge Schockela” are the most important things in the world, because Suzette is a mother with all her heart and soul. A trait that Aline also wants to bring out in her own relationship with her children later on: “My mother has accompanied me on every path of life so far, no matter how many detours I've taken, and I wish that one day I will be a mother like her too.”

Mamma's best

“Kike, vieni qua!” – laughing, mum Delia lists the many nicknames she has given her son Kiko for the past 28 years. The name itself is already a pet name, because her youngest is actually called Federico. “In German Friedreich, Friedrich. So I gave him this name, because he should be full of peace and radiate calm”, Delia explains. However, the Luxembourgish guy with Italian roots did not expect that her son would be anything but peaceful: “He was the exact opposite, a true revolution!” Not a quiet night, kicking out of defiance and lots of excess energy instead of calm – that was Kiko until he turned nine.

Today, however, Delia sees in the 28-year-old exactly what she had always wanted for him: “He is my son, but also my advisor and my right hand. When I see him, we laugh a lot because Kiko always has something funny to say.” Even as a fresh adult, Delia knew she wanted to be a mother of two one day. “There is a somewhat special anecdote about that”, the former teacher reveals. “I bought two little boxes at some point – I must have been about 18 – the ones you take to put your teeth in when they fall out and want the little mouse to get them. I just knew that when I grew up I would have children.”

The retired teacher describes being a mother as “just mega cool” and that's exactly how she raised son Kiko and daughter Martina. “We never had any discussions and there were never any arguments. Even when it came to drinking, of course I always saw it directly in Kiko's eyes, but then I just had barf bags in the back of the car. Somehow I always understood all that, because if you forbid too much, it doesn't really do any good. So he never had a reason to lie to me.” With the method “les mains de fer dans des gants de velours”, Delia often had to outsmart her somewhat wilder son in a pedagogical way, but the fruits of her education could already be seen in his school days.

“He is my son, but also my advisor and my right hand. When I see him, we laugh a lot because Kiko always has something funny to say.”

Delia Pifarotti

The Italian mum particularly remembers the story of the family's piggy bank. “I don't think much of pocket money and that's why I never gave Kiko any. At home, however, there was a small 'cagnotte' in a drawer, which was more or less the family's money”, Delia explains. While Kiko always had access to the contents and his mum's Visa card – “Guitars don't buy themselves, after all”, says the 28-year-old – the amateur musician also puts the money from his first concert directly into the common piggy bank. “Of course, that was a huge achievement for me”, Delia says proudly.

The mother and her children still have a close bond today, when they have all moved out of home and each one leads their own life. “We just need to hear from each other and know what everyone is doing”, says Kiko. In the family WhatsApp group, short messages, silly photos or smileys are exchanged almost daily, and Delia takes care of the administrative side of Kiko's band Zero Point Five. As a mother, you're just proud of your children, because they give you more than anything else in the world, says Delia: “I'm very grateful to be allowed to be a mum, because Kiko and Martina just make me feel fulfilled.”

A true lion mother

Two women, the same character: That's how Carmen and her daughter can be described. The day Tiziana was born, her mother knew that she would become an independent girl who can also say no sometimes. “That was the first thing I told her and that's what she did from an early age, ” Carmen says proudly. She learned from her mother what it means to be a strong woman and that's exactly what she wanted to pass on to her daughter.

Two self-determined personalities under one roof, that leads to dissertation-style discussions on the one hand, but also to a lot of mother-daughter bonding on the other, because Carmen and Tiziana are usually on the same wavelength. “To me it was always important that we have a very open relationship, especially in our conversations, and that from both sides. After all, I also like to share things with my daughter that I don't tell anyone else.” There are no taboos in the Paoletti household, confirms Tiziana, who herself still lives at home and enjoys the moments spent together with her mother – even if those moments can sometimes be a little embarrassing.

“I'm thinking of a scene at my graduation ceremony. My mother is a woman who likes to have a good time and doesn't care what anyone says. Her main motto is 'Je ne regrette rien'”, Tiziana explains. The former student didn't enjoy the fact that her mother's dancing promptly sent her flying across the wet floor, but today they can both laugh about it. “It was like Upps! – Die Pannenshow. Awer wierklech richteg op d'Schnëss gaang!” The list of mutual nicknames also shows that humour is very important to the Paolettis. Besides “Mudder” or “Muddi”, Tiziana has a very special nickname for her mother: “Sometimes I sing her the beautiful song by Sido: Für dich würd ich sterben Carmen.”

“To me it was always important that we have a very open relationship, especially in our conversations, and that from both sides. After all, I also like to share things with my daughter that I don't tell anyone else.”

Carmen Paoletti-Zeimet

Mum finds the analogy to the prostitute in the rap song somewhat less appealing, as she explains, half laughing, half gnashing her teeth: “That's the worst thing you could do with my first name! Before that I was always associated with the opera Carmen – and then Sido came along.” But on the other hand, the mother of two never misses an opportunity to call a spade a spade, because in Soleuvre, how you say something is as important as what you say and when the name “Tizia” rings through the hallway, even the youngest of the house knows. “It's like a root canal, it really hurts”, says Tiziana.

Carmen, however, knows how to balance the strict side with a good portion of motherly composure, because: “Many parents find the actions of their children quite bad, but if you look back a bit and remember what you did yourself, then most of it doesn't shock you so much anymore. Mir haten zwar fréier manner Méiglechkeeten, mee gestiicht hu mir der trotzdeem!”

Lovers' quarrels are the renewal of love

“Actually we don't really do much together, but when we are together we just sit in the kitchen and chat.” Yannick and mother Emilia are probably the one duo that could hardly be more different and yet so similar in so many ways. The 34-year-old and the 59-year-old tackle the Mother's Day interview with a lot of irony and humour, because if anyone can joke around, it's them. It's already clear from one of Mum Emilia's first childhood anecdotes that there won't be a dry eye in the house: “When Yannick was little and once didn't behave properly at my parents' house, I could punish him by taking him to a football match. That was an absolute horror for him. Then when we arrived at the field, my friends would ask directly if they should call Amnesty International for him again.”

Yannick returns his mother's jokes with an amused roll of eyes, because even if there are often proper spats between the two of them, the graphic designer knows that he always has her backing. “She taught me to be empathetic and she often recognised when I was about to go down the wrong path. The reason I am where I am today is mainly thanks to her”, says the 34-year-old. Although Emilia is not a mother who takes him to the cinema or goes shopping on saturdays, she always has an open ear and the necessary motherly instinct. “We have a very open relationship with each other and that has been very important to me from the very beginning, that no one has to hide anything from the other”, Emilia says.

“A gift – and every mother will tell you this – is not important. If your child is healthy and you are healthy, that is true happiness.”

Emilia Oliveira

The 59-year-old thinks it is only logical that her son called her by her first name when he was a little boy, after all, Yannick grew up almost entirely with his grandparents. However, Yannick has his own memories to share: “I can remember that the other mothers were always quite shocked by this in kindergarten. I just always called her Emilia and today I would say that Mamm is her nickname.” When it comes to Mother's Day, the two can also think of many funny anecdotes, whether it's the homemade tie for Father's Day that Emilia received or the blender that Yannick gave away for practical reasons. Mum’s answer to the question about the coolest “Kaddo”, however, is one that could probably have come from (almost) any mother, because: “A gift – and every mother will tell you this – is not important. If your child is healthy and you are healthy, that is true happiness.”