As Mother’s Day hurtles towards us yet again I wanted to take the time to let you know that now, at last, I get it.
When I was younger Mother’s Day was all about homemade cards and little teddy’s holding hearts. You never really got that elusive day off, instead still making sure our uniform was cleaned and ironed, our school bags packed and our homework done in readiness for the next morning.
Over the years the presents stopped, as a selfish teenager who saw you as little more than the reason I couldn’t go out on a Friday night, I did not appreciate the many things you did. I questioned why you deserved a whole day of spoiling. There was never a daughter’s day, after all.
But of course, there was.
Every day was our day. Every single day from the moment you cradled us in your arms, it’s never been about you. Even when it should have been, it wasn’t.
When I finally left home and had to pay my own bills, do my own shopping, fold my own washing, I saw for the first time precisely what you did for us all. There was never anything to worry about, you had it covered. Yes, you tried to encourage us to pick up after ourselves and take responsibility, but you were always there at the end of a long day picking up dirty clothes, and tucking the house in for the night.
We thought you were uptight, boring, needed to get a life. We knew we would never be like that; our mess, our business. How you must have smiled to yourself, for you knew one day it would change. You knew one day we would be performing the same nightly walk throughs and rituals you performed for us, as we scurried around after our own children.
I remember playful arguments about who loved who the most. I would declare I loved you more than anything, and you would say “you wait, just you wait till you’re a Mummy”. I waited, and now I see what you mean.
As I cradle my own child, look down at her perfect face as she smiles in her sleep, I am so entirely overwhelmed with the power of love surging inside me. I remember all the worries throughout those nine months, and the dreams I had for the life growing inside me, and know you must have felt the same. That love grows minute by minute, and I can’t imagine how it feels for you now, after all these years.
When the Midwife handed me a small, screaming child I was terrified. How would I know what to do or say, the way you had always done? I now realise there is no way to know, but I need you to understand one thing. When it’s hard, or I feel out of my depth, I ask myself what you would do? What did you do when I was scared of the monsters under my bed, or fretful over a school exam. I channel you and it makes me a better Mum.
I have no idea how you made it all look so easy, but you did. Somehow you managed to keep your fears and anxiety’s hidden, so we never knew. Thank you.
Thank you for stepping away from the washing up to read me a story, even though it meant you had to stay up later to get the house sorted. Thank you for making me a priority, always, and for never holding it against me. Thank you for telling me constantly now, that being a Mum is hugely important, but it’s not the only important thing in my life.
Now I am older I have the money to buy you a whole host of things to celebrate, to show what you are worth to me, to your grandchildren; to all of us. Now though I realise there is nothing I could possibly buy that would ever be good enough for you, would never quite adequately give you what you have always deserved.
I spent a large part of my youth declaring loudly and obnoxiously that I would never turn in to you. Now, as I look at my own children and the path that lays before us, I hope with every part of my soul that I can be half the mother you have been to me.