Turia Pitt is one of the most wonderful, inspirational women I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I interviewed her a few years ago when she was the face of Avene sunscreen. We spoke for ages and she had me in stitches. She’s whip-smart, super-funny and has the heart of a lioness. Not to mention, her determination – it radiates. Turia Pitt is also utterly beautiful, both on the outside and within her soul. And she is an amazing mother and daughter.
So, when her weekly newsletter landed in my inbox today, I had to share it here, because with Turia Pitt, every word she speak or writes lifts your mood higher (I encourage you to sign up – you will love reading her words).
It’s a beautiful letter to her Mum, which will be featured in Samuel Johnson’s new book Dear Mum.
I’ll hand over now to Turia Pitt, who strings words together in a way like no other.
Turia says, “I leapt at the chance [to be in the book], because you know I like writing letters, and Dear Mum helps raise money for cancer research!
So, because Mother’s Day is this weekend in Aus, I thought I’d share the letter I included in the book (alongside Patti Newton, Guy Pearce, Amanda Keller, Rebecca Gibney, Peter Helliar, Shane Jacobson, Adam Spencer, Lehmo, Georgie Parker, Jacqui Lambie, Stephanie Alexander and Shannon Noll!).
It’s a cracking book. It celebrates mums. And it raises money for cancer research. So, go get your mitts on a copy!!
Here’s my letter:
Remember when I went away for work with my son Hakavai, and you came along to help out?
It was the end of a three week trip and I was exhausted, Hakavai was irritated, and your perpetual enthusiasm was excruciating.
We were slowly walking up the boardwalk, only one plane ride away until touch down in Sydney.
“Mum, where are our seats?” I asked.
“How should I know?!”, you replied in a haughty tone.
“Um…. you’ve got the boarding passes.”
You peered down through your glasses (bought at the chemist down the road). I knew you couldn’t read our seat numbers.
“Here, give it to me,” I said.
“No”, you huffed back. As if to prove to me that you could indeed read, you made the following announcement in your boombox supersonic circus ringmaster voice.
“Masterrrrr Hakavai Hoskin – seatttttttt 25aaaaaaaaaaa!!!”.
The other passengers jumped, startled by your announcement.
We moved to our seats and while I got Hakavai settled, I saw you had spotted a new friend in the flight attendant (not the same one that you were talking to earlier, the one you thought was Polish, but was actually from Serbia).
I tuned into your conversation in time and heard you playfully admonish him “I’m not from New Zealand, I’m from Tahiti!”. Your face has that focused intensity I know so well.
“That is fascinating, Madam”.
His body language, tone of voice and lack of any expression indicated that he was anything but fascinated.
“Ah, so where is that?”, he said with a modicum of polite interest.
“In French Polynesia of course! Everybody should know where French Polynesia is!”
(Because of COURSE everyone should know the exact location of some islands sprinkled around the Pacific Ocean!).
“My uncle was president of Tahiti. Three times!” you exclaimed, with a knowing smile.
(I’m still not sure if this is factually correct as you seem to find an ancestral connection to almost everyone from Tahiti).
“Ahhhhhh” … he looked at me through ‘Help me!’ eyes and I pretended to be busy reading. I wanted to see how this was going to play out.
“Yes!”, you proclaimed. “Us Tahitians, we’re proud of our culture!”
Then, just as I saw you draw a big breath, ready to launch into your next verbal barrage, there was an announcement over the PA and the flight attendant’s shoulders sank with relief.
“Please excuse me Madam, we’re about to take off”.
“Oh! No worries darling!” You stood to kiss him but he was already moving quickly down the aisle.
“Māuruuru Māuruuru roa!” you called after him, quickly adding “That means Thank You in Tahitian!”.
You settled back in your seat and started tickling my son’s feet. He giggled, enraptured by your clinking shell necklaces and the daisies in your hair. Your chignon was held up with an old ballpoint pen, you were wearing a vibrant floral shirt, and psychedelic patterned tights.
I was suddenly overwhelmed by feelings of love and gratitude for you. I was a bit of a bitch to you on that trip. I thought about when I was a kid, and you took me to a big running race. I thought of the time when I won an award for my “Colourful Imagination” and you bought me an old clunky typewriter to celebrate. I remembered when I was in hospital, and you were there every day, brightening up the place with your bright colours and raucous laughter.
I grabbed your hand and kissed it.
“Love ya mum”.
You smiled at me, and kissed my hand too.
Happy Mother’s Day to you, my friend, wherever and however this letter finds you.