Every family celebrates special days in various ways and Mother’s Day is no different. Some families gather in cafés for breakfast or brunch. They might meet in restaurants or pubs for lunch or dinner. Other families get together in their mother’s home, or they might bring their mother into their home. Outside my front window this morning I’ve seen several cars, filled with children and flowers, unloaded by their parents, who watch the kids run to their grandmother’s front doors.
My mother wasn’t big on Mother’s Day. She cherished the handmade cards I toiled over in every year at school, even when they were still sticky with glue and the glitter came off on everything it touched. She loved the flowers and plants I bought her in later years. She even appreciated the breakfast trays I carried in to her, carefully balancing the cup of tea, together with the plate of slightly burnt toast with jam. But she also felt Mother’s Day was too commercialised.
We were a very small family. I am an only child, my mother was an only child, my father’s family all live in Europe, so at our largest there were only my parents, my mother’s parents and me. When I was ten my grandfather passed away and left four of us. Ten years later my grandmother slipped away in her sleep and our family shrunk again. While I stilled lived at home, Mother’s Day was much like any other, apart from the gifts I hoped Mom would like.
I can’t remember ever going out for a meal on Mother’s Day. I did sometimes make breakfast for her, but she always made the dinner and, while I would help clear the dishes, she always washed them. Nothing much changed when I moved out, except that after dinner I would go back to my own place instead of my old bedroom.
I have fond memories of Mother’s Day celebrations when my boys were small. I loved the cards they made me and the presents they chose from the annual Mother’s Day stall at their school. I loved the way they jumped into bed with me in the morning and snuggled under the covers. I valued those moments then and I value them even more now, with two of my boys on the other side of the country. I was lucky enough to have my youngest son and one of his friends drop in for brunch this morning. Together we skyped my eldest son, who was holding my gorgeous grandson and I couldn’t stop smiling. Nowadays I treasure the grabs of conversation I have with my boys.
It is those moments, those windows into the lives of my boys, the times they tell me what they have been up to, their smiles, their hugs and the messages I get from time to time, which mean more to me than any one day designated because I happen to be a mother. Any day which includes some contact with my boys makes it a special day for me. And that’s just the way it is.