The ghosts of mother’s days past haunt me. A small plaster bear, holding flowers delivered to my hands by my small oldest child, something I would dearly love to have, but long lost to the indignities of having to run, run and keep running. A bunch of wild flowers preserved only in a photograph. A childish hand-drawn card with a message to me about how I am the bestest, loveliest, kindnest, sweetest, mostest wonderful mother any child could ever wish for. Another calling me tree, and themselves my Bear. Fading memories of IOU tea in bed slips. Trips out to the park to be smothered with kisses and hugs and hold soft little hands as we skip along being silly. I was never silly before I became a mother. I was incapable of skipping, not wearing black, and being goofy. There is something about being a mother that makes silliness compulsory. I lived to make the children smile and laugh.
Old mother’s days passed by in a haze. It was always so special to me to get those cards and know I was appreciated and loved. Today was a rather more grown up mother’s day. Tea was made, breakfast in bed presented, I had a lovely gift waiting for me, but it was all a lot less silly and a lot more grown up. I must have been looking a little lost because the Boy came up to me and gave me a huge squishy hug and kissed the top of my head. I am still the bestest most loved wonderful mom as far as he is concerned and that makes me very happy indeed.
Motherhood is brutal. I considered my first pregnancy a bootcamp for motherhood. It was absolutely horrific. Not only was I being abused, and that abuse ramping up, I was also in Tokyo and being vastly overheated, and in horror with my tiny size zero body being inflated to disturbing proportions. Everything was swollen. I used to joke that even my feet were pregnant. The birth was even more horrific. The baby premature and very unwell. I felt drowned under the weight of not mattering anymore. When I was pregnant no one cared about me, I never got that experience of being doted on or spoilt. When I had a little baby, I was cared about even less, and it was made clear that I was only of any use as far as my role as her mother was concerned.
My experience with my son was a lot more placid and calm. I was used to everything. He was full term and healthy, because I had temporarily managed to escape. I didn’t feel so out of control. When he was laid next to me on the operating table he started to try and latch onto my cheek. It looked and felt like he was kissing me hello. It was beautiful.
The years wove by, as they will. Motherhood has been a source of great pain and sadness for me, as well as pride and pleasure and fulfillment. I would do it all again, though, any day, if only to be that someone’s mother, even if it was not all rainbows and sunbeams and in the end life conspired to do horrible sad things to my family.
Happy mother’s day. For better or worse, mothers are the true heroines of this world.