To help recognise Mother’s Day, the Caymanian Compass asked three prominent and successful local women how their mothers helped influence their lives and make them what they are today.
National Drug Council Chief Executive Officer Catherine Chesnut on her mother Cicily ‘Cissy’ Delapenha
My mom started life from humble beginnings.
She was afforded an education through a scholarship as it was not the ‘Chinese way’ to educate girls. When her father died suddenly at the age of 56, she was able to rely on her education to help her mom – my grandmother – raise eight siblings, all of whom she insisted get an education.
Bearing responsibility from an early age prepared my mom for what would become for her a successful life, both personally and in business.
Growing up I can remember admiring her devotion to her family, her business acumen and civic mindedness.
My mom was always on the move and getting involved with some worthy cause; Hurricane Cissy they used to call her.
Whether it was her family, business, Innerwheel, Business and Professional Women’s Club, Credit Union or advocacy for the Crisis Centre, she was always rushing around getting things done.
As witness to many of her accomplishments and even some of her failures, I never saw her falter. She was determined to succeed, passionate about a cause and always had a little joke to share with someone.
So when anyone asks me ‘how do you manage to juggle all you do?’ I simply smile and say ‘This is nothing compared to what my mom did at my age’.
Today, going on 75 years old, she still exudes her special brand of charm and charisma. Yes, indeed, she has shaped my life in so many positive ways.
Happy Mother’s Day mom….. I love you.
National Gallery Director Nancy Barnard on her mother, Angela Kirkaldy
My mother was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and moved to Cayman with my father, Hugh (who had an equally positive influence on me), big brother David, and me, in 1970.
I do not remember our mother speaking ill of anyone. When pressed to, she would shake her head, smiling. My mother taught us the value of equality for all.
I do not remember her ever losing her temper. She is a lovely, angelic and caring soul and just attempting to be somewhat like her, improves me.
The Toltec wisdom of ‘The Four Agreements’ seems an embodiment of my mother. Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best.
Seven years ago when I was living abroad, she and dad sent an advertisement for my current position at the National Gallery, then in its embryonic stage.
It was thanks to them that I heard about this opportunity to make a career of helping develop and promote the arts in Cayman.
Now a grandmother and passing on the quixotic ‘Bobby Ant’ stories she makes up to David and Christina’s kids Ryan and Taylor, and I and my kids Luke and Jade, my mother continues to influence young lives with her own special magic.
When I try to think of something unsavoury in the character of my mother, I can think of only two things.
The first is that it is a struggle to think of anything, as she is possibly too good: generous, warm, loving, innocent, naïve and almost Buddhist Zen-like (which is ironic because she is such a devout Catholic) in her ability to just be with her gentle, calm, unassuming nature.
The second is that she has been known to give the occasional stubborn frog at her home in Batabano the Pine Sol treatment.
Cayman Islands Water Authority Director Gelia Frederick-van Genderen on her mother Ruth Veta Louise Frederick
My mother was born in the 1930s to a teenage mother and was fathered by a young man from a prominent family who refused to acknowledge her as his child.
My mother had a difficult childhood and as a young woman seized a wonderful opportunity to work in far away Austria and later in the United Kingdom.
There are many experiences I could write about to describe how my mother helped me become the person I am today. However, there are two that mean a lot to me.
While I was growing up, she often repeated the exciting stories of her journeys and the lessons she learned during her travels.
This instilled in me the desire to expand my horizons beyond the Cayman Islands and travel to as many other countries as I could.
As a result, I believe that I have a better appreciation and understanding of other cultures and people than I would have otherwise.
Another influence my mother had on me was the desire to achieve academically.
Her experiences as a mother and wife were very challenging and difficult. As a child, seeing her live through these challenges, and with her encouragement, she helped me to clearly understand the value of being able to support yourself independent of others.
Get a good education was the theme in my ears from as early as I can remember that it became natural for me.
My mother’s support and encouragement throughout my academic life were priceless in helping me become the person I am today
I truly appreciate the positive influences my mother has had on my life and I hope that I will in turn be able to positively influence my own daughter’s life as she grows up.