Monday, 4 April 2011
Yesterday was Mothering Sunday
(or the much more commercial Mother's Day). As my mother is no longer alive and I have no actual children of my own - just a collection of children I care about instead - the day might have passed unnoticed. We never made a fuss of Mothering Sunday anyway. My mother used to claim that "every day should be Mother's day" and that it had all become "too commercial". My mother detested the idea of "breakfast in bed" or anyone else in her kitchen. If we happened to be in the city we would be hauled off to visit her mother - a visit we children never enjoyed. It was also clearly a duty visit for our mother. We did try to give my mother breakfast in bed once. My father organised it. She accepted it because she knew he was behind it but it was clear to all of us that she did not want it. As children however we did not learn. Some years later when she had been saying that there was a book she wanted to read we children put our pocket money together and I bought the book. We gave it to her on the day. It was a mistake. My mother made her displeasure known. We felt awful. I do not know why my mother felt that way or why she behaved the way she did. I just know that the rejection of that gift, which we had saved our pocket money for, was one of the worst moments of my life. I felt responsible. I was the eldest, although my brother was certainly old enough to take part of the responsibility. My sisters were just upset. My father was upset for us. We never again so much as mentioned "Mother's Day" until my sister had boys who wanted to show their appreciation of their mother. Things changed then, at least in that our mother would accept telephone calls from absent members of the family and go to my sister's place for a meal. I do not think she liked it even then but she accepted it without comment. Mothering Sunday usually passes without comment now too but yesterday the Whirlwind arrived. As she will often wander in and out several times during the weekend this was nothing unusual. Yesterday however she arrived with a bunch of flowers she had grown herself. "I would give them to my Mum if she was here but she isn't and so I want you to have them instead." I was speechless. Instead I gave her a hug and I hope it said all the things she wanted to hear.