When I was about 7, Mother’s Day rolled around and our class dutifully made cards for our mothers, using cupcake-paper flowers, pipe-cleaner stems, dry macaroni borders and clumsy writing on the inside, usually along the lines of
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
You’re a great mother
Or something like that.
Anyway, in the run-up to the big Sunday, I remember asking Mum why we celebrated Mother’s Day. I was kind of jealous, because I only got my birthday and Christmas as big gift days, whereas Mum was getting those 2 plus one more!
I thought long and hard about this inequity and came up with a brilliant solution.
“Why”, I asked, “isn’t there such thing as Children’s Day? That only seems fair.”
She calmly took a drag on her cigarette, and on the exhale, looking me straight in the eye through the haze, uttered words I’ve not forgotten in the 45 years since:
“Wendy. Every day is Children’s Day.”
With that, she picked up her newspaper and effectively stopped the conversation in its tracks.
Her brevity of answer left me thinking.
Mothers get their day of appreciation, full of flowers, cards, dishes washed and flowery poems. But the very next day, it’s back to business. Mum obviously thought we kids had the unfair advantage in the “spoil me rotten” stakes, and maybe she was right.
Now, all these years later, I’m still not sure if she had a valid point or not.
Running the emotional gamut from A to B
My own memories of Mother’s Day from her side of the fence have been full of love, laughter and intense fear, starting with all the beautiful cards my children used to make for me. I’ve saved them all, and of course they’re in storage so I can’t show them to you but you’ll have to trust me.
I do have a flower vase, made out of a used tennis ball sleeve, which I treasure the way the Queen does her crown jewels. Long-stemmed paper flowers were included in this gift, along with handy instructions written on the side, to help me figure out this vase’s many alternate uses.
What do you mean, you don’t know where she is??
About 21 years ago, I flew in to Hong Kong after a long-haul flight and I was exhausted. I was thrilled to be met at the airport by my family, but when I came into arrivals, one of them was missing: Kirsten, our eldest.
I hugged the 2 children on offer, and asked Lars where she was. He looked at me and replied, “isn’t she with you? She said she wanted to be in the front so she could see you when you came in”.
I won’t take you through the whole half hour we spent searching, but suffice it to say, I was ready to kill my husband, tear my hair out and contact the papers to issue a “Have you seen this child?” photo. With these thoughts whirling through my mind, Kirsten’s younger sister came up to me and told me, as only a 4 year old can, “Mummy, I’m tired now. Can we go home now and look for her tomorrow?”.
Torn between crying and laughing, I caught sight of our missing child, holding her father’s hand, totally unaware of the chaos going on around her.
I have no photos from the old airport, but here’s a video to show you how insane the landings were. Watching this might help you understand my frame of mind that day!
Isn’t this what Elvis died of?
On yet another Mother’s Day, I was again flying home and on arrival, was greeted at the airport. My eldest gave me roses. My second gave me Ferrero Rocher chocolates. And my third gave me 2 jars of what, at first glance, looked like sweets.
“How thoughtful”, I said to myself, “Lars has obviously taken them out and helped them choose a gift for me. That’s adorable!”
On the drive back home, I took a closer look at the jars and first thing I noticed was, they were bought on a “2 for 1″ sale. Well, that’s okay, it’s always nice to get a bargain.
Then I looked at the actual label: GUAVA TABLETS TO CURE CONSTIPATION
How…um…thoughtful. And hilarious. Moving, even. My son kept urging me to eat them, unaware of their natural consequences. How could I refuse a toddler? So I ate a few, but made sure my husband (no doubt the brains behind this gift) had some as well, just to be polite.
Having been a mother for close to 29 years, I can say with great assurance that while every day might be children’s day, I think most days are mother’s (and father’s) days as well.
I’ve been lucky. And I know it.