Sunday, March 14, 2010

On Mothering Sunday

Gareth got up early and drove more than two hundred miles to surprise his mother on Mothers' Day. I think she probably liked this - I hope so.

I took my mother swimming. Many eighty-five year olds sit around in old people's homes or day centres - - - well, my mother's social club is the swimming pool. She just loves talking to strangers and befriending them. Every time I paused at the end of a length, if she wasn't swimming she was talking to someone. She had a great time. And the pool was very warm, which she loved - it was too warm for me, really, it made it tricky to swim.

I bought her some flowers yesterday - a mixture of roses and other flowers. My mother's completely lost her sense of smell so I went for bright colours instead, and also bought a pot plant with an orange flower - I'd never seen anything quite like it before, but I liked it and so did Mum. In fact she seemed delighted beyond measure. Hurrah.

I sent some flowers by Interflora to Stephen's mother but I don't know if she received them. Sometimes she'd ring, but sometimes she wouldn't, so it's hard to tell. I find it hard to ring her and Stephen finds it impossible. The reasons go back a long way and I don't think I can write about them here, even if they were clear-cut, which they're not. She's eighty-something (but we don't know what as she never told him her age) and lives near Norwich. It's sad and I wish we were closer but she and Stephen just don't seem to have much in common.

From time to time someone looms out of the darkness and says "You must make Stephen talk to his mother". HAH! Well I did a lot of the communicating between them for years, and then when the Communist became ill I stopped as I had too much else to do and to think about. I feel bad that I didn't continue - - - and yet I get cross when people assume - as many tend to - that it is all Stephen's fault, and therefore, by delegation - since I'm supposed to be the one with the communication skills - my fault.

Olli gave me a card and some sugar-free ice-cream, which I will enjoy greatly since I hardly ever eat ice cream.

I feel uneasy about the whole Mothers' Day thing. I often do about all kinds of special occasions. I like days with no big fanfare, no big underlining, no big expectations. I like ordinary days. I like my work. I like going for a walk. I like swimming. I like travelling about. I like seeing new places.

But special days, such as Mothers' Day, always make me feel inadequate and guilty and just a little bit rubbish. My mother wants to be twenty-five again and all the bunches of flowers in the world aren't going to achieve that.

Thank goodness for an ordinary Monday tomorrow.


Anonymous Milo said...

I don't like big dates or anniversaries either. I didn't even get round to sending the mother's day card - how bad is that? But my mum was fine about it. Finally just spoke to her on the phone. She's not the sentimental type so really wasn't bothered, just wasn't a big deal. That's what I've always liked about her.

9:15 pm  
Blogger aerate harsh ladle said...

I completely agree. It reminds me that my mother 'expects' something (which I resent) and that I, too, am a mother, although I have no idea where my child is. Long story, no guilt, no sympathy required. But I get cross over 'events' like these. Who are they for, really?

9:20 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, Daphne, I did like and appreciate his visit very much indeed!
I imagine it's easy to discount Mothers Day when you see your mother daily, and your son probably weekly. Seeing Gareth a couple of times a year makes it special to me, as he wouldn't have visited if it hadn't been Mothers Day.

As for not sending a card; a mother might say she's OK with not receiving one, but isn't it worth the tiny bit of effort it takes to send a card and make her happy?

9:37 pm  
Anonymous Ruth said...

Once, when I was probably not even a teenager, my mum told me off for giving her a mother's day present. I think she thought the day was a commercial conceit. I never gave her a card or present for mother's day again. So it puzzles me that every year since my mum's death I find mother's day a bit hard. I have many friends who are mothers and many who still have their mother, but for me mother's day is a party which I am not invited to and that makes me a tiny bit sad.

10:36 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

I spent most of the day thinking about all the people I know for whom it's a miserable, horrible day, because their mother is dead or alienated or they're infertile or whatever.

Well, insofar as I thought about Mother's Day at all, of course.

10:51 pm  
Anonymous Milo said...

One of the people I follow on twitter actually lost her mother today. She had been in palliative care and lost the battle today. Very sad.

11:08 pm  
Anonymous Helen said...

I already knew that, in Britain at least, Mother's Day is an add-on to Mothering Sunday - a Christian festival celebrated at the middle Sunday of Lent, where you were supposed to return to your 'home church'. I remember celebrating this as Mothering Sunday when I was a child - it was a day for church! I'd always assumed that the secular card-and-flower-giving festival was a commercial attempt tacked on for the benefit of Clinton's Cards (much as Valentine's Day used to be about secret messages to an unrequited love rather than an annual miserable guilt fest!). Then I read this, which I thought was interesting:

11:16 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Well Daphne, a bunch of interesting responses to your post, making it clear that Mothers' Day isn't a straightforward date in the calendar at all. Many people have concerns, objections, feelings of guilt around this time but obviously this would not include the nation's florists nor any manufacturers of greetings cards!

12:49 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

As an American (and not an ugly one, I trust), I was unaware of Mothering Day in the UK. But I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and Ian's and Yorkshire Pudding's on the subject of your respective mothers. Yours adds another dimension since you are also a mother yourself.

Our own Mother's (or Mothers' or Mothers, I don't know which one is preferred) Day in the U.S. falls on the second Sunday in May.

Very interesting post, Daphne!

6:27 pm  

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