It is Mothering Sunday today, although we are not really celebrating it. Having spent the last 18 years abroad, all of my Mother’s Days have been celebrated on a different day. It is getting very complicated now as UK celebrate on one day, the Swiss and the Germans on another and the French on yet another day. So it happens that I can be wandering around a town centre and am struck by the cards and signs in the shop windows advertising the approaching Mother’s Day. At which point I fall into a short-lived panic that I have forgotten before realising that it is the wrong country.
My mum should be receiving a delivery today, I hope she is home when it arrives. Sometimes the whole point of Mothering Sunday is forgotten in the hectic of buying a present and having it sent, remembering to phone if one lives far away or arranging the perfect lunch for our mothers. We celebrate Mothering Sunday to celebrate our mothers, not to show off our ideal gift buying talents or to send the biggest bunch of flowers or the most extravagant box of chocolates.
We simply want to say Thank You to our mothers. Thank you for being there, for giving birth to us, for struggling through the first stressful years when you did not know why on earth baby was crying, and you had tried everything to stop us. For the terrible twos when we lay on the floor and wailed because the new buggy just would not go over the threshold of the door, causing you to threaten to take the buggy “straight back to the shop”. For the school years, when you had to help us with out homework and surely had to resist swigging a bottle of wine in the airing cupboard when we just could not understand fractions.
In my case, I have to thank my mother for bearing me through the teenage years – surely the worst? – when I spent the O-level revising break lying in the garden with a Mills and Boons book hiding between the pages of my English worksheets. For the worry when I did eventually leave home, had my hearts broken for the first time and came home to be comforted. For the encouragement to go out again in the world, to have the courage to go to Germany and work as an au pair. For the joy and happiness you shared with me when I finally fell in love with someone who loved me back and treated me well. For not throwing things at my head as we planned the wedding, even if you did insist that it was The Done Thing to Have a Bus. For sharing the day of my wedding and making it one of the best of my life. For being there when I had a miscarriage, and telling me that it would be all right. For worrying and praying with and for me when I got pregnant and gave birth to your first grandchild, then two years later your second. For the babysitting that is done not out of a sense of duty, but with love and affection and much messy baking.
When I became a mother, I realised what my poor mother went through all those years and was grateful. If this is the day of the year to show that then I am happy to send her flowers and chocolates. It does not mean that I do not feel the same way the rest of the year – even when I roll my eyes like the teenager still buried deep inside me who only comes out to be exasperated at my parents.
So, Mum. This post is for you. Thank You.