Well, I’m on the eve of another adventure as I’m off to Brazil this week (via some primary schools first in Doncaster!). Whenever I’m about to fly off somewhere I get this primal urge to touch base first…. to get out the treasured memories…. to say ‘hello’ to friends – and to be reflected back in loved ones eyes – before I disappear again into the unknown!!. Yes, I’ve been there before, but the unknown to me means I don’t know how it will all turn out – will I win over some hearts and minds to the Big Mission i.e. we all gather in calm, listening circles around the world, old and young together.
So dear friends, hence I am here very early on Mothers Day morning, chatting to you in a random, slightly anxious way! Mothers Day. This year I want to send love to all my friends who I consider wonderful mothers in the greatest sense of the word. The Oxford dictionary definition of mother is that it is “…..a quality that gives rise to, is the source of…..” I think this captures the spirit of so many selfless people who don’t have children and won’t be receiving any cards or flowers this morning, but deserve huge appreciation and reverence for the magnificent, spiritual quality within them that “gives rise to” a sense of feeling beloved and special, of feeling unique, of feeling safe in the steady beam of unconditional love that so many children feel as a result of the true mothering they have experienced from being in their care. A huge thank you to you – without you so many children would never had been touched by the real magic of motherhood.
A huge thank you too – to all those women…..and men who are currently ‘mothering’ their own elderly parents. Last night, putting my mum to bed reminded me keenly of how it used to be at different stages with my own three children. The rituals, the night fears, the first, the pretend thirst (just one more drink), the anxiety about where everything has been put….the list goes on. It takes superhuman mothering qualities to be kind, but firm, loving and gentle yet still focused on what needs to be done, I think, I hope, I was a better mother when I was younger. Now my own knees creak, my tolerance has only short spans, my face is a tight smiling mask – but my eyes are narrowed. All I want to do at her bedtime is to have someone else sweep into the room and help me into my pj’s and then into a big fluffy warm bed – I miss my mother. So, my hat is off to all the millions of older children who, day in and out, mother their parents. I only do it on weekends, and not every weekend, yet I can fail abysmally. I try hard at the beginning but by the end of the visit thinking those evil thoughts again (pushing the elderly parents out on ice floes being mentioned in a previous blog to horrified readers who suddenly peaked the unsmiley, sharp face of Jenny Mosley!!).
It is a strange Mother’s day today, my two daughters can’t make it, so I will only have my son and daughter-in-law (who is the best mother I have ever met) and their five children sitting in the kitchen with a Sunday roast. So it will be a Grandmothers day really – and I haven’t even graduated with any honours from the Mothers degree course yet! Because I won’t be here for Easter I have just planned a big Easter egg hunt – so the children will be thoroughly confused – but I will be remembered very positively!
These family days should always be fun even thought the mothers are operating at a deep level of exhaustion trying to make everything appear spontaneous and easy! I remember a few years ago, when Meg and Sally planned a day when they did a skit on my unique brand of mothering. You can see Meg in this photo in my dress and my hair!! They killed themselves laughing, acting out scenes when I shrill voiced and vicious in the house and then, on meeting a former pupil outside the house, transformed into a warm, sunny person. Their list of grievances was long – being forced to being kind and invite children to their parties from their class who they didn’t want to come, not daring to let me know when things had gone wrong in school as I would be out the door, to the head before getting the facts right. Turning up at school in red harem trousers with the dog festooned with balloons on its collar. Not turning up at all.
Still, as they rolled around the sitting room weeping with laughter at the misery I had inflicted on them, their chorus being, ‘if only people knew the real you’…..I didn’t rush off to book therapy. The fact that they can laugh about it all means I must have done something right!!!