Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mother's Day reward

Remind me not to have a Mother's Day celebration 2011.

I got a pot plant. I am not complaining.

It's just that the ads say I get a smiling mother, blond, size 8 and aged 26, surrounded by adoring, cute children, expensive flowers, a handsome husband, a perfect house, and chocolates. What happened to that? Not living up to expectations, that's what.

After a week of perpetually asking Is it Mother's Day today? Shark and Tiger completely forgot about it. Until Squirrel walks in with a primrose pot plant and a smirk. She has foresight. She peeled Daddy Dig off his computer at 11 this morning for a quick trip to the local hardware store which closes just before the neighbours complain about the planks of wood and chicken wire ruining Sunday lunch.

When Squirrel walks in with the pot plant, all hell breaks out. Shark and Tiger plunge into recognition, shock and panic. Now they too must produce a present. The present must be hand made because Daddy Dig says the ironmonger who sells pot plants shuts at midday and no he's not going round the back and upsetting the neighbours and everyone shut up about the pot plants.

After that, things went downhill. Downhill mixed with flaming inferno and some circles of hell, complete with screaming, tears and heads ripped off to be eaten by demons. At some moment in the trauma there was the pause to consider embroidering a 6x4 linen tablecloth with birds of paradise. For a few moments, that seemed possible. It really did, even with no embroidery thread and no needle and no time machine to make it complete for mama waking up for breakfast on Mother's Day six hours previously.

But of course I seized the opportunity of ten seconds silence and made a peace settlement, because that is what mothers do. I said for Mother's Day I would buy embroidery thread and take a book out the library. And I'd be happy to embroider the thing myself once we bought the cloth.

Well, the peace settlement was never going to work. Tensions were running too high. It was doomed to failure; almost immediately overtaken by some bilateral Tiger-Shark agreement to blame each other for no cloth, and chase the evil sister round the house screaming blue murder.

By 2.30 it was a thankful motherly point at which I could shove a hot cheese and onion pasty at the offspring faces and wrestle the lot of them out of the house to go and hear the Bedford Sinfonia play Peter and the Wolf at the Corn Exchange. Listening to Peter's near-death experience with a ferocious man-eating wolf was light relief; it stemmed the tears, and made everyone look forward to Daddy's baked potato surprise.

I have to say, ladies, it's OK. I don't need Mother's Day to know I am your mother, and neither do you need Mother's Day to show me your love by tablecloth or otherwise.

I know I am your mother because the lot of you are as awkward, obstinate, hysterical and gripped as I am by the notion that only perfection is good enough, and nothing else will do. Anything which looks like a compromise to a one hundred per cent achievement on a minute-by-minute basis will be a total failure and the universe may as well not exist. In fact, let me press the self-destruct button now.

But I have learned a few things too, little grits. I can tell you that great personal strengths come from public failure. I can say that the best way to regain your balance is not by giant leaps from nothingness to being: from deep holes of despair to a completed, perfectly embroidered tablecloth. You can fight despair in little steps. Little steps take us to an even, steady pace, where we can breathe deep, stand up, see with perspective, calibrate success and failure, and know that even if there is no fantastic tablecloth laid out for breakfast, embroidered with birds of paradise almost living in the cloth! then that is OK. Because there are successes in its place.

For me, those successes are being here, alive, watching you grow, and knowing that you are mine, and I can wrap my arms around you, and give your wriggling little faces my big big squeezy mummy kiss, with huggy bosom and slobbery lips and all.

For you, your success will be standing still, and letting me do it. Little by little, year by year. Even though long into our futures you may be aged 24 and standing with your boyfriend at the cheese counter in Tesco, wishing Mother's Day could be quietly sorted with a bunch of flowers and a box of chocs.

5 comments:

sharon said...

Perfect. That last bit really sums up the whole point of Motherhood and why we do it ;-)

Rachel M. said...

That was such a dramatic story! Isn't it lovely to see them working so hard to make you happy!

Ellie's Treasures said...

Spot on as always! My mum used to say, when me and sis were very young, that Mother's Day was usually the most stressful day of the year! Elaine

Grit said...

i figure these kids just need to stop working so hard on this day, be compliant, shut up, and let me slobber all over them and everything would be perfect. but i also know that if the kids were to stop bothering, then i would worry that was indifference and that i must have been a crap mother after all and then i would yearn for a card and a cry.

oh it is such a complicated day i think we should run it again next year just to see if we can get it right.

MadameSmokinGun said...

So..........once a year in March we have to be all smiley and grateful and nice etc.......

Does that mean we get the rest of the year off?

My daughter thought the funniest thing was the ad on telly for Michael Buble's latest album - "The Perfect Gift for Mother's Day"

Thankfully I obviously hadn't pissed her off enough for her to inflict that on me.

Maybe next year. Maybe it'll be Alan Titchmarch's top 10 tank tops to recreate into a stunning collection of table mats with a free CD of Pat Boone and a bonus gift of the 2-foot slipper.

God I hate Mother's Day.

Even my mother hates Mother's Day. She thinks Mothering Sunday sounds like Smothering Sunday. I bet the thought probably crossed her mind too.

Actually had a nice M's Day this year however due to Mr Dad having gone to the V & A earlier in the week but that still doesn't excuse it.