Not your average Mother’s Day post


Burning witch flower by Forest Wander, on Flickr

Apparently, when they are very small, kids cope with their mothers by believing they are two people, their mother and a witch. Or so my mother told me. I believe her, it wasn’t some kind of terrible bed time story, she was studying for a psychology degree at the time.

Years later as I sit here shell shocked by a scenario with my kids that escalated beyond belief, and feeling like a complete witch, that knowledge brings me some comfort.

If I am a mother and a witch, my son right now, is Jekyll and Hyde. Earlier he covered the entire house in tiny pieces of coloured sand and gravel from a craft kit we were sent, he also covered me. He’s in reception, he puts every ounce of energy into behaving beautifully at school. Gravel bombing me and the house was some kind of cathartic release from that, I am sure of it now.

As I raged and shouted at him, ordered him to his room, packed his toys into a bin bag until he agreed to tidy up, I couldn’t see that, I could only see more mess.

I remember my own mother, who was incredible I might add, letting the ‘witch’ out on a couple of occasions. Once she was chasing me up the stairs, I remember he fingers like talons grabbing me by the ankle, her whole body contorted, just like a raging witch. When I look back there are no feelings of being hard done by, all I feel is ‘yes, I deserved that, I was being a complete idiot’.

I remember being aware of her glaring eyes, like some kind of cartoon bad woman with lasers for eyes, burning into me as I completely embarrassed her with sheer lunacy in public. Once or twice I remember her walking out of the house, soap opera matriarch style, shouting how fed up with us she was and slamming the door, leaving us stunned for a few seconds, before the wailing at Dad to make her come back started.

Although I can’t call my mum these days on those dark days and ask her what on earth to do, I can look back in the memory bank and feel a sense of relief at those moments when mum totally lost it too. As I grew up it taught me she was a person, and not just my mum.

By tea time the conversation had returned to whispers and giggles between Mr A and the kids about what to get me for Mother’s Day, the witch was forgotten. I don’t think we’ll be seeing her again for a very long time.

If you are one of my Australian readers looking to spoil your mum or leave a hint to your offspring, Fresh Flowers have a gorgeous Mothers Day bouquet range, with same day delivery if you order by 1pm.

The Gallery – Mother Love

My first Mother’s Day without my Mum wasn’t any sadder for me than any day in the last few months. I didn’t really think it would be, because in my experience grief doesn’t really work like that.  A good friend told me it isn’t easy to know how to grieve.  I think that’s very true, and that sometimes people expect you to grieve in certain ways and at certain times, and it doesn’t always follow.

I had a small wobble on Friday as opted out of Interflora’s email reminder system for Mother’s Day, which annoyed me as I know my mum found the commercial side of Mother’s Day completely bemusing.

Perhaps it helped that we spent Mother’s Day on a campsite. It  reminded me of the things that I enjoy best about being a mum, the things that my mum enjoyed too.  Being outdoors, playing in the sun, chasing chickens, tickling cats, waiting expectantly by rabbit holes, fishing with sticks, spying wildflowers, collecting stones and feathers and making pretend campfires.  My mum taught me to love nature and I am passing that lesson on.

I can’t watch my children and not think of me and my little brother, we share the same birth order, the same age gap.  I watched my two play and thought about all the fun we had with mum.  While they were busy playing I picked some tiny wild flowers in her memory.

Then we returned to the caravan to a fry up cooked by Mr A.  

It was good to have a little bit of time and space to reflect on Sunday.  And to find a way to feel close to my family and my mum away from the hype.   As we drove back into suburbia there were lots of families spilling out of restaurants, all dressed up, carrying helium balloons and bouquets.  Maybe another year I’ll be up for that, but this year simple was perfect.

Ths week The Gallery theme is Mother Love