A friend of mine recently lost her mum, and I realised abruptly just how not ready to lose my own I would be. As if you could ever be. And that I don't appreciate my mum nearly enough. As she put it,
"I'd never miss another Mother's Day. In fact, screw that, I wouldn't bother waiting for Mother's Day, because I'd tell her how much I love and appreciate and need her now every single day."
I wept with her, held her very close, and kept my mouth shut. Because as I said, I very often don't have a clue. And very often, what you need is someone to be quiet.
My mum gets it right a lot more often than I do. She's more humble, more loving, far wiser, more incredible, and even though she can't every time, she knows the answer to a worry or can make it feel better so much more often than I do!
Mother's Day and her birthday are very close together. For her birthday we had a beautiful bouquet of handpicked fresh flowers delivered to her doorstep. I wasn't there, but I'd like to think I can imagine her face when she unfolded them, the bright brave heads nodding, the leaves unfurling into glorious green. I'd like to think that I can hear the rushing sound of the tap as it gushed water into a vase, and the soft clunk as she settled them onto the wood.
I'd like to think that her lips curled into a secret smile whenever she glimpsed them on our sunny kitchen table.
But I don't know, because I wasn't there. I miss moments like that, but it makes the stolen moments I get when going home for a flying visit all the sweeter, all the more precious.
And the most incredible thing? That despite living in a different city, with different people and different streets and different everything, mum's still mum. Available for laughter, advice, hugs from the other end of the phone, catch-ups, and general mum-liness.
It was Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago, and I forgot to send my mum’s card, even though it had been written a couple of weeks before in a rare moment of super-organisation. It was a poem, because I was feeling creative, and because I thought it would force me into keeping the card short. So Mum, here's to the things you do!
I came upon a path that lay
In that soft, dim light near day.
It forked two ways, to paths unseen;
I could not go where I had been.
I had to forge on now, ahead;
But how to choose the one that led
To joy, to peace, to happiness?
Confusion came, I must confess
I did not know, and wanted then
To be a little child again.
A hand upon my shoulder drew
My gaze to loving eyes that knew
My strengths, my faults, my everything,
The sour notes, the flaws that sing,
Who'd known me at my very worst
And yet had loved me from the first.
She couldn't tell which way to go
But reminded me of who did know.
Always, gently, patiently,
She directs my gaze away from me
And onto Someone wiser still
Who knows the road beyond that hill.
So when I find the path that lies
Under stormy, purple skies
I am a traveller blessed indeed
If only dear old Mum I heed!