(Note to confused overseas readers – Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday is on 11th March in the UK)
I’ve always maintained that Mother’s Day is my favourite day of the year. It’s better than a birthday because you don’t get any older and it’s a celebration of the incredible task that we undertake as we help our children grow into decent human beings. For the last 20 years I’ve been lucky. On Mother’s Day my nest has been full and I’ve been able to cluck around my boys like a broody hen. Over the last few weeks though it has become clear that this year will be different and that in fact not one of my boys will be available on the day. The eldest has just been home for his rugby weekend and so won’t be back again for a while. The middle son is deeply ensconced in rehearsals for a play that is opening in a couple of week’s time and the youngest will be off with his French exchange partner and other friends, spending the day at a trampoline park.
I’ve been feeling a bit disappointed but I know that in order to keep them close I have to let them go. It’s made me think a lot about what Mother’s Day means though. When the boys were little, it was all about a day of being indulged, of them clutching the cards they’d made at school as they brought me their version of breakfast in bed with a bunch of daffodils. They would spend the day reminding each other loudly that they must be on their best behaviour because “it’s Mum’s day and she needs peace and quiet!”
As they grew older, their village primary school used to ask them to write a few words to read out about their mum at the Mothering Sunday church service. Each mother would sit in nervous anticipation, wondering what would come from the mouths of their babes as they trooped up to the front of church, holding their carefully written thoughts… and you did used to learn all kinds of things about the inner workings of each other’s families! I keep my missives in my treasure box but here’s one that the eldest wrote when he was about eight (I’ll transcribe it below).
My mum is like the queen
not that she wears a crown
she is never sad, always happy
and always busy meeting people.
Her smile makes me smile.
Her laugh makes me laugh.
I love her and she loves me.
She makes me feel safe
like a baby in a cot.
She cleans my clothes,
makes cake and even plays football.
But sometimes she is like a referee
because me and my brothers always fight.
So to make her happy I am going to work hard at school,
and not fight with my brothers
and always give her cuddles.
I love you mum.
I’ll never forget how I felt when he read that and I treasure all of the other Mothering Sundays when his brothers delivered their own versions too.
And of course Mother’s Day can’t come along without me thinking about my own mum too, it’s six years now since she died. As I’ve told you before, she was an infant teacher and so in my primary school days, whenever she changed school, I did too. For a couple of years she taught me which was particularly confusing at times. Every morning I used to beg her not to do any maths that day and just let us write stories instead. She was very careful not to give me any special preference apart from at playtime when we had to drink a bottle of milk. She knew I hated it so she used to smuggle me into her stationery cupboard and add a few drops of strawberry milkshake!
I always feel particularly guilty when I think back to the last Mother’s Day that I had with her, six months before she died. At the time, her battle with cancer was consuming us all. My sister and I lived by a rota of hospital appointments and daily visits and I remember being exhausted by it all. In fact all I really wanted on that Mother’s Day was a relaxing afternoon with my own children so my sister and I suggested that we took her out for tea instead. However, my mum was a strong character. She dug her heels in and insisted that she had her full day with us, taking her place as the matriarch of the family, seemingly forgetting that my sister and I were mothers too. In hindsight I’m glad she did, it made her happy.
And this year for the first time I really understand what she wanted because Mother’s Day isn’t about presents or flowers or special lunches is it? Time is the commodity that matters most when our children are older and that really is all that we hope for from them. Oh and of course a card too… with some meaningful words that we can keep and bring out to read when we need to.
With a little nudging from Mr MC, my three have been thinking about how they would make up for the cancellation of my favourite day. Each of them has given the gift of their time. As you know I had dinner with the eldest at Sketch in London. The youngest suggested we went for cake at my favourite café. The middle one… well he’s suggested that I might like to come along and see his play (as if I’d have missed it)!
I had a lovely treat when The White Company invited me to choose a few things to wear on Mother’s Day so on Sunday I put them on for my cake date with the youngest. He’s not as keen on having his photo taken for the blog as he used to be but he’s still willing…
…. and this is what goes on behind my back when I’m trying to get an outfit shot…
He’s in the full throes of being 14 where most things we say are met with one of these looks! A little while ago, as we were having dinner one evening, the middle son asked if he had been the same at 14. When we told him he was he asked why we hadn’t just shot him!
But I know he’s just inside the teen chrysalis and that sooner or later he’ll re-emerge, just as his brothers have. In the meantime, there’s always cake!
It was chilly so I wore a thermal camisole under the crisp dobby blouse which is going to be perfect for English summer days.
The blush pink scarf is a silk and cotton mix which feels luxurious next to the skin.
And I absolutely love these silver loafers. In my opinion, shoes are one of The White Company’s hero areas. They are always incredible quality, made from the softest Italian leather. These have a subtle silver sheen as you can see and (most importantly for me), they have a low vamp which stops your legs from looking stumpy. Being short of leg, this matters to me and I really struggle to find loafers and brogues with a low vamp. Some of the reviews online are saying they come up small but I found them true to size. They do come up quite high at the side of the foot so if you have a protruding bone on the inside of your ankle as some people do, they might rub.
After we’d had our tea and cake, a rather wonderful thing happened. The eldest called and said he could take a couple of hours away from his rugby weekend if we fancied meeting up for something to eat. We collected the middle son after his rehearsal and off we went. And so my Mother’s Day wishes came true a week early.
As we so often say to each other on here, we have to grow with our children and adapt our ways. I’m so grateful for all of the lovely Mother’s Days I had with them when they were little and I was the sun in their skies. But the time that we have together now is special too – nobody makes me laugh as much as the men in my life. Poor Mr MC was desperately trying to set the right aperture on his camera so that the photos would be better than this but in the end he just captured the moment and made a GIF…
And finally – a vaguely sensible one.
So this is why I haven’t done a Mother’s Day gift post because although gifts are always lovely, for me this year it’s all about time and words. I wish you time with your offspring too – even if it can’t be on the day itself, I hope you can still make a plan. I hope they send you some special words too. And if you have a mum of your own, treasure her – however strong willed she may be, remember she won’t be there forever so… take the time and make a memory.
Disclosure: ‘Mother’s Day as your children grow older’ is not a sponsored post. Thank you to The White Company for my Mother’s Day outfit.
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