I remember all the advice, all those well meaning people that made offhand comments through the years. I remember being told that I’d understand how hard it is to be a parent when I became a parent myself. I was told that I would appreciate all those parenting choices my own Mother had to make when I had to start making them for my own children and I was told that you only get one Mum – as if it was the most meaningful phrase in the world.
Mothers Day is a day that brings me mixed emotions. I haven’t sent a Mothers Day card in over ten years and now I am numb to it – and have zero inclination to buy one let alone send it. I remember those Mothers Days of my childhood – making a card or sometimes buying one. My Dad buying a gift on his way home from work and giving it to me in secret to wrap. I remember going out for lunch or a walk in the forest. I remember such lovely days, celebrating my wonderful Mum.
But then I remember the years after I got kicked out of home, the years of heartache and trying to salvage a relationship that had sadly already perished beyond repair. Literally five years of trying, and failing, to make things work.
One of the last things I remember from that time is taking my Mother to a local Harvester for a Mothers Day lunch. I’d learnt to drive and the Harvester was where I’d spent my sixteenth and eighteenth birthdays as well as many others when I was younger.
The meal was difficult, the conversation was stilted but I remember clearly the lamb and new potatoes that I had for lunch. It should have been a lovely meal but we were like strangers meeting for the first time. That Harvester closed in 2007 which shows how long ago that was.
Each year I have felt such mixed emotions about Mothers Day. I have felt such nostalgic appreciation of the childhood and Mother I had. The one that gave birth to me in 1984, cared for me and taught me so much. I wrote a letter of thanks on Mothers Day two years ago for those reasons and more.
But then I feel such sadness at the way our relationship turned out which I tried to put into words in my Motherhood post. I haven’t written much since then about our issues but I have thought about it, and spoken about it at length outside of the blog too.
You only get one Mum but sadly mine didn’t want to know when I asked her if we could put the past behind us when I moved away from the area I grew up in. She wished me luck when I told her I was pregnant and she sent me an abhorrent text message three months after having LP hoping that LP would one day not want me at her wedding – as my own Mother had chosen not to come to mine.
Since then I have had occasional Happy Birthday texts and even an a couple of unexpected – and unwelcome – emails fairly recently. But the question that I keep getting asked is, as far as my Mother is concerned, what does the future hold?
Realistically, nothing more than it holds now.
Mothers Day for me is about the children and our family life. It’s a time when I reflect on all that I have and you really do only get one Mum. I want my children to love me for who I am and remember all the happy times we have had together, all the lessons I have tried to teach them in life. I want the children to love me like I loved my own Mum when I was a child but for that love to carry on way into adulthood. I want to earn that love and deserve it, never taking it for granted.
Now, as a mother I do understand how hard it is to be a parent and I do appreciate all those parenting choices my own Mother had to make. Some of which meant that our journey in life had to take us along different paths, ones that are not set to ever cross again.
My job as a parent is to protect and nurture my children, to teach them, to care for them and to guide them to the point where they can experience life for themselves, to go and have their own adventures, make their own choices and create their own paths. I hope that I pass on to them the best parts of my own experiences and save them from the bad bits, that I don’t add too many negatives of my own and that they grow to be the confident, independent people I am already starting to see them become.
Mothers Day is an opportunity to reflect, to thank and to move on. This is the last year I dwell on the years that have already been. I have apologised, I have thanked and I have come to terms with the past. The future is what we make of it and I am now reclaiming Mothers Day as my day. My day to spend with my beautiful family, a day to make memories, to appreciate each other and to love each other just that little bit harder.
Whatever you are doing, wherever you are and whoever you are with – enjoy it. Life isn’t about what has been, the ifs, buts or maybes. It’s about appreciating what you have right now and being present for as long as you can. Happy Mothers Day everyone.