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Monday Moment: the woman who always got back up

Emma Grey

My grandmother died when I was two, but she’s still teaching me lessons.

Here she is with my dad (on the left) and his brother back in 1938. What I love about this photo—LOVE—is how ‘chilled’ she looks about appearances. I mean, look at my dad: sock at half mast, coat button in the wrong hole, tie askew… and my grandmother is all ‘whatevs’ about it.

Dad, Grant

I read a wonderful piece of advice on the internet last week, from a site called ‘Soul-fully Beautiful’:

When my children remember their childhood, I want only for them to remember that their mother gave it her all. She worried too much, she failed at times and she did not always get it right… but she tried her hardest to teach them about kindness, love, compassion and honesty. Even if she had to learn it from her own mistakes, she loved them enough to keep going—even when things seemed hopeless. Even when life knocked her down. I want them to remember me as the woman who always got back up.

The woman who always got back up.

That line really got to me, because that’s who I am. It’s who every single one of us is—because we’re all still here: living proof that we’ve survived every challenge we’ve ever faced. Every fall. Every knock down. Every knock back.

Life isn’t about having perfectly-hoisted socks and always buttoning your jacket properly. It’s not about curating a version of your world on social media that’s impossible to live up to. It’s not about putting things off until you know more or you’ve done more or you’ve lost weight or tidied the house any of the other caveats that we place on truly living.

It’s about showing up as we are, before we’re ready, with what we have. It’s about owning our quirks and imperfections because, at the risk of quoting One Direction—they’re what make us beautiful. Warped jackets, odd socks, messy houses, yo-yo weight, not getting the job, losing our patience… and getting back up.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

  • Lydia Davis

    Quote written by Erin James of Soul-Fully Beautiful