In celebration of Mother's Day this coming Sunday and in appreciation of mothers everywhere, we share a letter from Grace Mothers: Letters To Our Children, a collection of letters written by over 60 mothers from different fields worldwide to their children.
Camilla Freeman-Topper, co-founder of Camilla and Marc and mother to Leudi, Missy and Wolfie
“I love what I do, but my family is my absolute number-one priority. What I’ve sacrificed is sleep, but I’m ok with that,” says Camilla Freeman-Topper, one of the most recognised names in Australian fashion. She founded Camilla and Marc with brother Marc Freeman in 2003, and they’ve grown it into one of the country’s most successful luxury fashion brands.
Known for their timeless, elegant ‘forever pieces’, the duo’s aim has always been to enrich women’s lives through their designs. Camilla is ample proof that with a little organisation, a good work ethic and getting your priorities straight, you can have the best of both worlds – a thriving business and happy, contented children.
A letter to Leudi, Missy and Wolfie:
I always knew I wanted you. I feel so lucky that I met your father at a young age and settled down so I could become a young mum. We both wanted the same thing and the stars aligned beautifully for your creation. I couldn’t wait to meet you.
Being your mother has been a whirlwind, the most incredible thing I’ve ever done. You’ve taught me so much. The moment I found out I was going to be a mother for the first time, with you, Leudi, there were a lot of mixed emotions: Joy, excitement, fear. Close friends and family shared their opinions and advice on being a new mother but nothing prepares you for it until it happens!
I became a mother early on in our business and caring for you has taught me how to be productive and enabled me to get things done in a meaningful, purposeful way. What I can achieve in a day now as opposed to ten years ago is completely different. It takes a village to raise a child and learning to lean on loved ones has been one of the most liberating lessons.
But what amazed me the most, Leudi, was that I felt connected to you straight away, almost spiritually. The birth didn’t go to plan. You were born suddenly and as a C-section. It gave me insight into the next ten years of being a mother to you and your siblings: It’s not always going to go by the book, and that’s okay. For example, sometimes when I’m trying to dress Wolfie and all he wants to do is chat, it reminds me that you all have your own little timetables, your own perspectives and desires and you’ve given me permission to be wholly, 100% present with you.
My favourite moments with you are the most random ones. Mornings when you all jump into bed with us for cuddles, when we’re in the car together and you tell me what’s important to you in your little worlds. Like you, Missy, you are the best mother to Wolfie. You show me how to be patient with him and watching your love for him is beautiful.
I love to watch you all experience things for the first time that excite you, watch you interact with your friends, showing how much you care for people and how they view the world. Your curiosity for my work gives me confidence and your curiosity for the world inspires me every day. I love nothing more than coming home to you all.
But I won’t lie, there have been tough moments! That’s life, after all. Wolfie, learning to be a good mother to a strong, determined young man was definitely something that challenged me and made me grow. And it was always hard to go to work and leave you all when you didn’t want me to – when I didn't want to leave you - to help you understand that mummy will come home, mummy will always come home to you. I felt a lot of guilt in those first six months in the schoolyard, Leudi and Missy, running off to work while other mums could stick around. But going to work, being inspired and working hard with my team and then coming back to you empowered me, and I’ll always be grateful to you guys for helping me learn that.
My childhood was very different to yours; My mother passed away when I was eleven and my time with you makes me cherish the moments I didn’t have with my mum. It made me appreciate all these moments so very much more and made me want to instil that love and presence into every moment with you I could. When we were growing up, my father was running a law firm and being a single parent. Grandpa raised us strict but your father was raised much more freely. Needless to say, we had two very different approaches to parenting when it came to you! We’ve overcome various challenges, I’ve loosened up and he’s become firmer, but through our experience raising you, we’ve come to understand each other in deep, beautiful ways we otherwise might not have.
I want for you to have an adventurous, fun, culture-rich future that allows you to learn and have different worldly experiences, to be aware of what is going on around you in the world. You know how much I love to travel and taking you all on adventures with us. Seeing the world through your eyes as you soak up the many different cultures of the world is one of the most beautiful things to behold. You allow us to appreciate things we at times take for granted.
This world is a crazy place, my loves, and I hope you are always safe and happy – but live with your eyes open. I want you to be healthy and have beautiful, meaningful relationships.
As you continue to grow and love and evolve, you will have happiness and disappointment, love and heartbreak, ups and downs. It’s not always fair but you all have such strength and resilience that will see you through.
Live your life with pride in your actions and strength in your decisions; Understand your morals and ethics and check in with them often. If you have dreams, you can do anything you want, just focus. Know your worth and how incredibly precious you are. Great values, amazing friends, incredible family, a beautiful life are all you’ll ever need - the world is at your feet and I will always be here, behind you.
This is an extract from Grace Mothers: Letters To Our Children by Georgie Abay, Julie Adams and Claire Brayford, $65