My mum is marvollous

Mother’s Day is a source of excitement for the very young, but it’s not quite the same for teenagers.

 

Amid all the Brexit gloom came Mother’s Day. There was a big divide in attitude to MD in our house between the teens and the eight year old.

The eight year old has been excited about MD for the last month. He had already done foot massages and the like in the lead-up. On Friday, there was a MD assembly in which mums were quizzed by their children on stage and vice versa about their likes and dislikes. Fortunately, we did not get chosen as you never can tell what an eight year old might choose to reveal in the heat of the moment. I spent the assembly scanning my brain for what his favourite pop group might be, given he only listens to Mary Poppins 2 songs currently. I have since been informed it is The 1975…

Only son emerged at the end of the day too excited to wait for Mother’s Day. He thrust his card into my hand. It had a 3D flower on the inside and rainbows and hashtags [#Number1mum]. It said: “I really wish I could repay you with money and make you immortal because you dying is not an option.”

On MD itself, only son had been forewarned not to take the hour going forward as a sign that he should get up at the normal time [7am on the clock – in reality 6am]. He made me breakfast [cereal] and put a flower on the tray. He brought in two extra cards, one about karma [my goodness was going to bring great karma at some future point] and the other addressed to ‘Amanda G’ and containing a two pence piece. I also found a piece of paper in his school bag that he had decorated. “My mum is marvollous”, it began. It listed why he loved me – “she’s kind, generous, honest and has a sense of humour”. How did he know I loved him? “I think she loves me because she randomly hugs and kisses me.” It ended with a sentence about important things about my mum: “Even at her age, she’s funny,” it stated. Even…
I am putting that one on the fridge.

So I felt positively celebrated by only son, even in my old age. Meanwhile, on the teen front…nothing. Daughter two mumbled ‘happy Mother’s Day” before returning to her revision, which is fair enough. Daughter three didn’t say anything and when confronted she replied: “I don’t believe in Mother’s Day. It is just designed to sell cards and stuff. I think you should be nice to your mum and do things for her every day.” Which would be good if in fact she was nice and ‘did things for her mum’ every day. Instead, she leaves litter and clothes strewn across the floor, behind doors and the like. Even putting her empty contact lenses cases in the bin – a distance of five feet max – appears to be too much effort.

Absence

Mother’s Day was swiftly followed by only son’s play – a slightly spacey musical about the Stone Age involving dinosaurs, a Lady Gaga-type witch and a mariachi band. It must have been created by a sleep-deprived parent…

I’ve been feeling that I have been slightly more absent than usual as a mother over the last three years, given too much of my brain has been devoted to Brexit watch. If we lay the economy and the future identity of this country to one side, Brexit has consumed large parts of time which I could have spent more effectively with my children. The worry, the fear for the future, the preparing for all options have corroded all parts of life.

Then there is the distance it has created at school pick-ups, between neighbours, in everyday exchanges that used to be built on a certain level of trust which just does not exist any more. And closer to home is watching my partner who is Catalan, who has given over 20 years of his life to working in social services here and who used to hold the UK in high esteem falling gradually and completely out of love with the place. Such is the damage caused by a certain type of empty nationalism used by politicians to divert attention from the real sources of problems in this country. That damage needs to be acknowledged before we can even begin to fix it.

So although Mother’s Day is a respite from the gloom and although I still have a sense of humour, even at my age, it is not enough to shut out the current times we are living in.



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