(My recent column for Gloucestershire Live)
It’s so very predictable. Everyone says it again and again and again but like so many things in life you don’t pay it the slightest bit of attention until it happens to you.
I’m talking about the moment when it sinks in. When you finally understand how much your mother (indeed your parents) sacrificed for you. You appreciate that raising kids is awesome, quite possibly the most rewarding job in the planet but my god is it hard work and at times lets be truthful, really very dull. You look back at the decisions you made and the tantrums you had (toddler or teenage) and marvel at the fact they didn’t pack you off to military school.
Having had my boys at quite a young age the penny dropped with me comparatively quite early. Most of my friends in their twenties still found their mothers to be over protective and found balancing their new found freedom and determination to do everything their way (no parental advice needed) difficult to balance against their parents’ natural instinct to protect. Until you have had children that protective layer of cotton wool that is your mother, always there to cushion you should you fall, is just plain claustrophobic. Take it away and for sure, you notice it’s absence but point out how useful it is and you’ll more than likely be met with a teenage eye roll (even from a twenty five year old!)
As you find your feet as a grown up the constant need to ‘keep in touch’ with your parents is suffocating; whether it presents itself as a bombardment of texts ‘are you ok? we haven’t spoken for an age?’ or perhaps worse the silent pressure – the parent that lets you come to them but when you do lets you know in no uncertain terms that it’s been too long.
But for almost all of us there comes a point when the realisation hits and for most that moment is when we become a parent ourselves. Never before have we needed help and reassurance that we are doing okay. Never before have we needed someone who we could collapse into a heap on top of and who we know would give us safety and comfort and for just a few moments let us regress back into our childhoods, safe from the huge responsibility we are just becoming accustomed to.
Most of us who are parents now completely acknowledge the sacrifices our mothers made for us; the limitless stretch of their love and the safe cocoon that is their support and desire for us to be nothing but happy. On this Mothering Sunday many of us who have recently entered parenthood and realised what we owe to our mothers, who have recently relied upon the support of our mothers or sadly might perhaps have recently lost our mothers will be showing our gratitude and love perhaps with supermarket flowers or a pastelled to the max card but also with a deeply felt ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you.’ When those words are said with true feeling and your mum can sense that at last the penny has finally dropped, I don’t think there can be a better gift in the world.
Happy Mother’s Day Mamans.
(Dedicated to my wonderful Mum.)