It was Mother's Day quite a while ago, wasn't it? But I have been waiting for a photo to tell you a few things about the present I made my mother, and the presents she gave me.
This is the bag I made her. We chose the fabric together, but she didn't know my plans for it. Then, when she and my dad went for an hour's walk, I quickly made her a new peg bag (hers is broken). She was pretty chuffed! It's the sort of thing we both love but some people wouldn't consider much of a gift. We're not 'some people'! Here it is hanging in her garden, pegs on board (and yes, if I make another I'll make the hole more oval and higher up).
The presents she gave me? I'd need the space of a book, really. But here are a few that come to mind:
- When we were little, she made us feel she lived for us. We didn't do enough to help her, because she didn't ask. She always gave of herself, found it hard to say no, made our home a place to be safe and happy and crazy in.
- She taught me the best things a mother can be: she was loving, giving, and most of all she took the time to listen to and be with us. She made us feel big and important. All the lessons I learnt from her, I try to live in my motherhood.
- She was my domestic goddess. She sewed our clothes, baked, made chutneys and jams, grew flowers in the garden and cut them for the table, helped us dress up as Victorians (me) and wizards (my brothers). The older I get, the more I find myself either inadvertently or intentionally turning into her. I quite like it.
- Her house is always haphazard but somehow so lovely that it belongs in the pages of Country Living. She dresses like she threw it together but it belongs in a fancy, yummy mummy catalogue. You should see all the necklaces and dresses she has. It's lovely to know your mum is stylish without meaning to be; happy and glorious. I don't think she'll ever look old (And yes mum, I'll tell the world that you've been mistaken for my sister before. But I maintain that it's because I look haggard and old as well as you looking sprightly and young. Wink).
- Everybody loves her. Everyone wants to be her friend. Everyone goes to her with their problems. Everyone uses her shoulder to cry on. Everyone invites her to their parties. I don't think I have any of these gifts naturally but I try to learn from her all the time - to be more selfless, to be a better friend, to be an optimist.
- Family is her everything. She looks so happy when we are all there together, eating the feast she has made, all cheerfully ribbing each other and settling into old ways. She makes me feel that she always has time and space for me, that my children light up her life, that she would come to my aid at the drop of the hat. And she has. No more so than in the last year. I know so many people who need their families but their calls aren't answered. I know how lucky I am.
- When I finally told her, still only on the cusp of adulthood, that I was to be a mother myself and I was alone, she didn't judge and she wasn't angry. She held my hand all through it. She was the template for motherhood that I lived with every day that I made my own motherhood picture. She was the echo of how to love your little ones, how to enjoy them, how to trust in yourself as a mother. When I showed her the mother I could be, the mother she hoped I was but didn't know was there, I hope she knew that I was the reinvention of her.
- Yes I have learnt motherhood from other sources. There have been other ideas, other ways of doing things. But these are like learning the spelling of a new word, or reading a new piece of prose. She was the Dictionary, the works of Shakespeare, the library. She was the language I spoke, the poems I sang, the stories I retold.
- I don't say thank you to her enough. I am saying thank you a lot here, and still it is not enough. I hope she reads it. x