Mothers’ Day is an odd occasion. People, especially women, seem to either love it or hate it. Happily, I fall into the first category. I love it with a gentle passion that is hard to explain. Of course that won’t stop me from trying to explain by posting about it.
The world of commerce uses Mothers’ Day as an opportunity to advertise and sell gifts for mothers. People are urged to buy, buy, buy. When I Googled ‘Mothers’ Day’ I was confronted with pages of advertisements.
For me, Mothers’ Day is the celebration of the relationship between my children and me. I don’t know how this happened, because I have not always enjoyed the day. As my kids grew up, our family dynamic changed. Each family is different. But I hope my daughters and daughters-in-law, and now my granddaughters, enjoy the day as well.
There is no pressure for anyone to turn up on the day. Pressure to conform seems counter-productive in families of adults. Everyone has different commitments at different times. There are gifts, and the day itself is gentle and uncomplicated. We are blessed.
Often our gathering seems to happen without a lot of pre-meditation. That works for us.
This morning, for example, an invitation appeared on Facebook from my 24-year-old grandson, Alexander. He has arranged a picnic on Sunday at a park not far from my house. Easy.
It will be big and noisy and lively. And not at all grand. Everyone will play with the kids. Older siblings and cousins will catch up. Lunch will be simple, no fuss, family fare.
John, and I will sit on comfortable chairs. Perhaps others will as well. My status as matriarch will be tacitly recognised. John is not the father of my children. We married in our early seventies. He and my children and grandchildren are friends. He acts towards my great-grandchildren as if they are his own.
As you may know, I am the mother of eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood. I am the grandmother of nine adult, three adolescent and five younger grandchildren. Great-grandmother of four. By the end of the year that will be five.
I am happy to report I can remember all their names. I can recite their birth dates, as long as I do it family-by-family.
This year, Mothers’ Day for our family comes in the middle of a hectic round. It almost feels as if we should have consulted each other. We could have spread our celebrations throughout the rest of the year. As it is, it is exhilarating and exciting.
How Mothers’ Day 2016 will squeeze into our family’s calendar
It amazes me that my family has time for Mothers’ Day this year. And I am very pleased.
- Two weeks ago, baby Edward was born. He is the son of my granddaughter, Claire-Helen and her husband. He has two little sisters.
- Tomorrow, our family celebrates the eightieth birthday of my husband, John. It will be one of a number of events. Eighty is a fine milestone, an excuse to party.
- Next Friday, John and I will celebrate at an exclusive lunch together. It will be the actual day of his birthday, and the day before our wedding anniversary. Friday is also the birthday of one of my sons.
- The next day, another granddaughter, Jane-Heloise, will marry Colin. Another joyous occasion to celebrate and enjoy.
- In between now and then, there are cakes to be iced, flowers to be arranged, new clothes to be fussed over.
- Another little family is moving house to the country.
I understand that for some people, Mothers’ Day will be different from mine. For some, it will be a painful time, one they would rather not think about. When there has been a relationship breakdown, for example. Mothers’ Day can also be painful for those whose mother has died. I understand and feel sad for those who are suffering.
My wish is that all mothers and their children will find a way to honour and enjoy each other this Mothers’ Day.