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

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION - ANN WASON MOORE ann.wa­son­moore@news.com.au

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.

Well, mostly.

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.

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