Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mothering Sunday

According to Wikipedia, Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.  The reality is that there are many women out there who might not have physically given birth to a child, but are still in a mothering role. For example, the childless woman who, in later life finds herself in a role reversal situation nurturing the frail old lady who once nurtured her.  There are also childless women who foster kids, and some adopt.  One of the most famous mothers of all was a convent school headmistress.  She experienced a ‘call within a call’ to leave the convent and help the poor whilst living among them.  Somewhere in that moment, Sister Teresa became Mother Teresa.  And there are other women still whose pet becomes their baby.  I know numerous women who are ‘Mum’ to budgies, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, hamsters and horses.  The bottom line is…mothering is knowing how to love and nurture.  I am blessed with a son, a daughter, a dog and a cat and am ‘Mum’ to them all.
            On days like today I love looking back at the whole mothering concept and how, when you enter that point of life, your world is turned upside down.  There can be joyful moments, tearful moments, and tear-your-hair-out moments, but above all else we love to love – no matter what.
            Earlier this week I had to catch a train to London.  A harassed mother puffed her way onto the train with a little boy on her hip.  She plonked him down opposite me and then slumped, exhausted, on the seat next to him.  The little boy gazed at me enquiringly and asked a question.  As it has been a great many years since I was fluent in baby babble, I hadn’t a clue what the little chap asked, so was unable to answer.  Instead I smiled.  Instantly bored, the tot stood up on the seat and looked out of the window.
            ‘Duck,’ he said.
            My eyes
sideways searching for a duck.  In fact we’d gone into a tunnel.  Ah!  Not duck, but dark.  I closed my eyes and relaxed back against the seat, listening to the little boy’s babble and trying to work out what he was saying, with the occasional helpful prompt from his weary mother.  The years peeled away and suddenly I could understand him.  Dwink was drink, twee was tree, seep was sheep, and so on.  Finally he said the magic word that every mummy understands and really doesn’t want to hear on a packed train to London.
            Well we won’t go into what happened next, but let’s just say that every parent has been there, done it, and ‘bought the t-shirt’ as they say.  And no I won’t tell you about the time my young daughter uttered the same magic word just as the aircraft we were on charged down a runway and flung itself into the sky.
            So whatever you are doing today, whether it is blowing a kiss to the heavens for a beloved mother no longer with you, or letting your children kiss you, or your precious pet slobber all over you, make sure you have a Happy Mother’s Day – and that the husband spoils you too.  Which reminds me.
            Fred was thirty-two years old but still single.  One day a friend asked, ‘Why aren’t you married?  Can’t you find a woman who will be a good wife?’  Fred replied, ‘Actually, I’ve found many women I’ve wanted to marry, but whenever I’ve brought them home to meet my parents, my mother didn’t like them.’  His friend thought for a moment before saying, ‘I have a perfect solution. Find a girl who is just like your mother.’  A few months later they met again, and Fred’s friend said, ‘Did you find the perfect girl?  Did your mother like her?’  Fred frowned and answered, ‘Yes, I found the perfect girl.  She was just like my mother.  And you were right!  My mother liked her very much.’  The friend said, ‘So what’s the problem?’  And Fred replied, ‘My father didn’t like her…’

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