This year I’m renaming Mother’s Day.
Not as a British protest vote against the Americanisation of Mothering Sunday.
And not as a way to decide, once and for all, where the apostrophe goes… Mother’s Day? Mothers’ Day?
But as a way to manage my expectations.
I have decided to call it, privately at least, Mother’s Hour.
That way I won’t be disappointed when the simpering smiles, loving cuddles and ostentatious Best Behaviour mode fade before the first cereal bowl hits the kitchen table.
And it means I can enjoy a pleasant half-hour of home-made cards, poems and presents, before wiping from my mind the conviction that I’m surely entitled to an entire day of this special treatment.
Last year my daughter expressed outrage that there was no Children’s Day.
Surely if there’s a Fathers Day and a Mothers Day, there should be one for children, she reasoned.
“Every day is children’s day,” I replied, “you two live the life of Riley…” And there I was stopped, interrupted by a chorus of two, enquiring –
“What’s the life of Riley?”
When I was a child, Mothering Sunday meant making my mother a card and giving her a daffodil.
Now it’s a massive industry and some years I even get perfume if Daddy is feeling beneficent.
Two years ago I had advance warning from my son that home-made was off the menu. At least, I think that’s what he was getting at when he opened a conversation that went something like –
“I’ve decided Jay isn’t my friend any more.”
“He doesn’t know how to play Dodge Ball.”
I had to pause a moment to absorb the logic, before replying.
“That’s no reason to decide he’s not your friend, can’t you teach him how to play?”
“And he tore up my work. I had to start again… so I haven’t finished your Mothers’ Day card.”
At last – we get to the point of the story. And there’s more.
“I thought we had to do our seascape then finish our Mothers’ Day cards, but by the time I’d finished my seascape I had no time to finish my card. I didn’t know we were supposed to finish our Mothers’ Day cards and then do our seascapes. So I haven’t done it.”
“Never mind,” I said, light heartedly, “you’ve still got a day to finish it off before the Big Day.”
And he looked at me all squiffy-eyed. “I think your card’s going to have to come from a shop this year.”
I suppose there are worse things than a shop-bought card.
Last year he more than made up for it with a superb flower arrangement courtesy of Cubs.
And then there are the poems, like this one from my daughter –
My Mum’s an excellent cook
Acrobat is a word to describe her
Marvellous muffins is her speciality
Art is another speciality she has.
Sweet, yes, but a long way from the truth.
- I could once do backflips, but I’ve never made a muffin.
- My children stopped asking “Can you draw me a cat Mummy” when they realised they could do it better themselves.
- Excellent is not a word I’ve heard them use to describe their tea. Sometimes it’s “Yeuch” or “I’m not eating that” and occasionally I get a surprised “That was quite nice Mummy”.
But I guess Mothers’ Day is a time for little white lies.
So this year I will be lying to myself.
When two little voices wish me “Happy Mother’s Day” and then bicker about whose card I should open first, I will stick my fingers in my ears, think “Happy Hour” and sip my coffee in the hope that one day that hour will extend to an entire day.
I’m not holding my breath though.