Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Mothers are the unsung heroines of our lives

On this special day, we should take time to appreciate the women who have nurtured us

Clara with mother Lizette in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Victor Besa / The National 
Clara with mother Lizette in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Victor Besa / The National 

In a nation with some 200 nationalities, coming from vastly different backgrounds, cultures and religions, the childhood experiences of UAE residents cover a broad spectrum.

But if there is one common denominator that unites the millions who were either born here or choose to make the UAE their home, it is the impact our mothers have on many of our lives.

That was poignantly evident in much of the footage from the Special Olympics World Games, in which, alongside the athletes competing in arenas, their proud parents could be seen rallying them from the sidelines.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, paid tribute to those women to mark Mothers’ Day, traditionally celebrated on March 21 in the UAE, praising the unsung heroines who battle to give their children every opportunity in life and watch them thrive.

“We would like to dedicate this day in the Emirates to mothers whose children have special needs,” he tweeted. In an uplifting video accompanying his message could be seen the mothers of athletes cheering them on during the competition.

Mothers’ Day is celebrated on different days in different countries – in the UK, it is usually the last Sunday in March; in other parts of the world, it falls in May – but for all, it is a reminder to honour those who rear us, nurture us and encourage us, without expecting thanks or reward.

Often, they know us better than we know ourselves. Take Clara Lehmkuhl, a tennis player with Down syndrome who competed for the UAE national team at the Games. Miss Lehmkuhl’s mother had to teach her how to read and write before a mainstream school would accept her.

Nor did she let her daughter’s condition isolate her from her peers or hold her back; indeed, it was with her constant support that Miss Lehmkuhl rose to her current star status.

The Special Olympics World Games were filled with similar stories of parental love and encouragement in the face of adversity.

As the closing ceremony for these Games takes place tonight, we should all take a moment to remember the mothers standing behind the proud winning athletes – and our own.

They might not always be as visible but their impact is felt throughout all our lives.

Updated: March 21, 2019 01:17 PM

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