Sunday, 18 March 2012
Now and Then
It must have been about twenty years ago that I was given this mug. Best Mum in the World it says around the rim. It's chipped now, but still sits beside my desk, holding a selection of working tools. A precious relic, even if my sons, then aged about ten and thirteen, slightly marred things by telling me it was from the dogs.
There are other valued relics in a drawer, cards probably made under a certain duress at playgroup and primary school, later cards with entertaining poems and messages:
We promise we will not fight all day
'day' deleted, 'this morning' inserted.
'promise' deleted and 'try not to' inserted.
Flowers hastily felt-tipped over the deletions.
They were wise even in those early years, not making promises that were well-nigh impossible to keep.
In my own childhood Mothering Sunday started off with a damp fistful of celandines artfully arranged in an eggcup, placed on a breakfast tray with lukewarm tea and burned toast, carried gingerly into my parents' bedroom where my mother waited in trepidation for the whole lot to slide into her lap.
These are the things that I remember most vividly; the hand-made things that take effort and time and thought. These things are so compatible with the early traditions, domestic servants being given a bit of a break in the middle of Lent, the opportunity to go home for a quick visit, taking a few flowers along the way.
Later for me came some beautiful bouquets, thoughtfully, expensively sent - and my subsequent protests against commercialisation of a basically lovely old tradition. (But thank you all the same, my sons.)
Later, for my mother too, came more expensive gifts, meals out and other appreciations of her mothering, but after her death I found a ribbon-tied packet of hand-made cards from me, including a graphic depiction of the Titanic:
'Happy Mother's Day Mummy, and I hope you like this boat'.
She obviously did.
So, Happy Mothers' Day to all mothers and mothers-to-be who have yet to appreciate the joys of the hand-made card, the hand-picked flowers and the soggy breakfast tray.
These are the treasures that will out-live the commercialisation.