Queen Victoria sends Birthday Greetings

My Birthday Card from Queen Victoria

Next to my coffee cup this morning was a card from Queen Victoria wishing me a very happy birthday.

Queen Victoria runs the castle for me and makes sure the food is on the table.  I have never been very domestic and if it wasn’t for her, we would live on peanut butter sandwiches.

She wasn’t always known as Queen Victoria.  When she came to work for us I told Susan her name was Maria Victoria and since my kids go to a British school I added, “You know – like Queen Victoria.”

“Hello Queen Victoria.  I’m Susan,” said Susan.  And from that moment the tone was set.

Queen Victoria calls Susan “Princess” and Susan secretly tells me “I’d rather be called rock star.”

Queen Victoria is one of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of mothers who leave their children to find paid work overseas.  Like her namesake, she is a widow.  She supports her four children who are making their way through school.

On the one hand I think she’s lucky to be a widow because when she sends money home it is going towards her children.  All the other women who have worked for me have sent their hard earned money back to their country.  When they returned home, the house was empty, the money was completely spent on drink and other woman and their mothers were taking care of the children.  Penniless, again they leave to work far away from their families in a country where they don’t speak the language and have few, if any, rights.

Queen Victoria, the Empress of India, also felt “sick at heart” to see her 17 year old daughter leave England for Germany to marry Prince Friedrich Wilhelm.  “It really makes me shudder”, she wrote to Princess Victoria “when I look round to all your sweet, happy, unconscious sisters, and think I must give them up too – one by one.”

The word Courage conjures up images of soldiers fighting in battle.  But whether villagers or royalty, throughout history women have had the Courage to leave everything they know to go live under the roof of a man whose control over their lives is extensive.  And every day, even today, women around the world do this.   Yet their courage is hardly written about.

So receiving these birthday blessings from my Queen Victoria makes me pause.

I wrote about the Graeaes for the first time in Preparing Ourselves for Perseus’ Visit.  And two days later I am given this card.  The picture alludes to the original description of the Graeae.  As members of the Phorcys family they were marine divinities, emerging as the white foam seen on the waves of the sea.

Perhaps Queen Victoria is a messenger for the Graeae who are telling me women don’t need to wait until God or someone else gives us wings to fly.  All the courage we need is already within us.

And if I am ever afraid to follow my dreams all I have to do is glance across the kitchen at Queen Victoria who sings as she cuts vegetables.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. goldi
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 04:09:59

    What a beautiful tribute to women, to Queen Victoria, and to you – by way of the royalty in your home.


  2. Seana mallen
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 04:13:57

    HAppy Birthday Eva!!!
    I love what you wrote today. Very moving and SO true. All the housemaids who are working here in Bahrain, so often overlooked and under appreciated ARE incredibly brave and strong.
    My Filipina maid, Baby, (her real name is Conchita, but she prefers Baby!) is unusual in that she lives with her very nice husband here in Bahrain. But her mum has raised her family and she like so many others sees her children once every 2 years.
    But her daughter has just graduated from nursing school, and her pride makes the sacrifice so worth it. This is a woman who has real meaning in her life and knows she’s made the world a better place.
    How many of us can say that!.


  3. Eva the Dragon
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 07:24:10

    Thanks for the greetings. It’s nice to hear when something resonates.

    We are all mothers just trying to do our best to raise our children. If we would just recognize that common element perhaps the distance between us would lessen.


  4. Deborah
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 07:54:09

    Happy birthday Eva! And Ace and Mark as well! I hope you have been celebrating in your usual style. I’ll drink a glass of champagne to you, but tomorrow night rather than tonight. We’ll be out with friends in Canberra at a swank Italian restaurant. We’re driving down to Canberra (three house away) to see a retrospective of paintings by the late, very great Australian painter Fred Williams. It’s raining here, and I am tired out for days of unpacking and generally trying to get our house sorted. We move in on the weekend. Hooray! Love from Deborah xxx


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