MOTHERHOOD THE GIFT I CHERISH MOST
This year it’s going to be a day of gratitude for what we have, what we’ve lost ... oh, and maybe me as well
NO matter the gifts my family bestows upon me tomorrow, Mother’s Day always makes me feel like a queen.
Not because they crown me with their love or bow down before me bearing horrible homemade presents, but because it’s the one day I truly wield the power.
Starting from sundown on Friday, my husband loses his appetite. By Sunday morning, he’s a nervous wreck.
He knows that one false move and it’s off with his head.
He still bears the emotional scars from the first – and last – time he incurred this matriarch’s wrath.
In his defence he’d been working all hours and with only weeks to go until the birth of our second child, he was snatching sleep while he could.
Which meant the morning of Mother’s Day 2009 was spent feeding, changing and entertaining a grumpy 18month-old toddler while simultaneously cleaning the house in a pre-labour nesting frenzy. While he slept. Add in a veritable OD of hormones and the scene was bloody. But I’m over it now. Pretty much.
While I’m ashamed of my temper tantrum theatrics that day (not really, but I thought I should at least say so), my diva behaviour is still delivering dividends … from meals out to spa treatments to boxes hiding sparkling goodies.
However, the sadist in me is happiest not with the gifts themselves but with the delivery. Shaking hands, nervous smiles and relieved laughter.
It’s like first love all over again.
Ironically, the kids couldn’t be less concerned. That’s because we all know that Mother’s Day is less about their gratitude than that of the man you made a father.
My daughter created a card in class two weeks ago – I know this because as the sole school bag cleaner I’ve already read it half a dozen times. It’s super cute but to be honest will probably end up in the bin because I can’t stand clutter. Yet it’s the thought that counts and I’ll be sure to remember to act surprised.
However, as my husband sweats out these final hours, I’m actually harbouring my own surprise this year: mercy.
Yes, he dropped the ball that one day, but only because he was working so hard to provide for our growing family. But it’s more than that. This is the first year he won’t have his own mum here on Mother’s Day. So I’m thinking it’s my turn to spoil him.
I lost my father at the age of 17 and it was horrible, but to have lost my mother … I don’t want to imagine. I still can’t imagine.
She drives me crazy and she is kind of crazy … but she’s my kind of crazy.
She’s on the wrong side of 75 but you wouldn’t know it from looking at her – or her social calendar. Her days are filled with Italian lessons, guitar lessons, choir practice, croquet matches and volunteering at the charity shop.
She babysat the kids for me the other week and when I returned from my daytime appointment, the three of them were sat in front of Netflix, watching some steamy foreign film so Mum could practise her Italian. Or so she says.
My husband’s mother was no better – or rather, just as good.
She couldn’t stand for
anything to go to waste. So when we left her in charge one night, having ill-timed the opening of a bottle of champagne just as the taxi arrived, she couldn’t bring herself to let it go flat.
By the time we got home, the bubbles were gone and the kids were up. She couldn’t resist waking them with kisses and cuddles.
They won’t remember that, but so far they remember her – and even with late stage Alzheimer’s, she never forgot them.
It’s a cliche, but the greatest gift my kids – and my husband – gave me, is motherhood.
And the saddest moment for any child, no matter their age, is losing their matriarch.
Every day with my family – my children and my mum included – is a gift.
So tomorrow doesn’t have to be about me. Instead, I’m making it a day of gratitude … both for what we have and what we have lost. We were lucky to ever have it.
However, should my husband still want to make it about me … well, I’d hate to argue.
Ann Wason Moore says there will be a different focus to Mother’s Day this year, however is looking
forward to having time with her mum Susan Wason who may need to make time in her social calendar.