I recently completed the MAAP program at Melbourne University. During that time my mother would occasionally cook meals for me knowing I was working hard, I live alone and I did not have much time to look after myself very well. My relationship with my mother has sometimes been strained, but I began to make sure I made the effort to thank my mother for the meals. I told her how they made a difference to my stress levels and how helpful they were when I was so tired.

When I completed my Masters, I asked her to come to my graduation because she, along with my adult son, had helped me so much during my two years of studying and working full-time in a stressful job. She came to my graduation and after a long drive home, I stopped to drop her off. She gave me a cuddle and told me how proud she was of me. My mother finds it difficult to express herself emotionally and is not a positive person. It was a special moment which I don’t think would have ever happened had I not made the initial effort to express my gratitude so that she understood how much the meals meant to me …

My relationship with both my parents has improved immensely, I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time as they are now in their 80s. Now at 56, I feel as if I have been given a very special gift of love that I did not have an open heart to see for most of my life.