Mother’s Day in the UK falls on a different date every year because it’s connected to Easter and always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, it was the one Sunday a year when young servant boys and girls had a chance to go home and be with their families who often lived a few towns away. (They had to live in the households they served and only had one day a year to go home and visit their families.) Hundreds of years ago, Lent was also a time for folk to visit the cathedrals in their diocese – the mother churches – which was called going ‘a motherin.’
So it wasn’t just a day to give presents to mothers; it was a day of spiritual renewal, reunited families and rest, a day that served the needs of all the members of a family, turning their thoughts to hope and resurrection. It was a day that celebrated a journey home, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and we could all use some of that.
Traditionally, I spend Mother’s Day in bed, having a lovely, long rest and reading a book (or two) from cover to cover. It begins with presents and breakfast in bed. The kids (under their dad’s supervision) make breakfast and we all sit on my bed and eat our breakfasts from trays. Then, my ultimate treat is to have time alone, with no housework or demands, problems to solve, solutions to find or arrangements to make. It’s the one day a year my kids make and bring me every snack, drink and meal and ask if I need anything, while leaving me alone to enjoy a hassle free day of guaranteed me time.
I think they’ve learned from my decadent decision to abandon them for one day a year just what a contrast it is to the other 364 days. They’ve also learned how important it is to proactively guarantee a loved one at least one argument and attitude free day! My son even asked if he could take a day off school sometime, stay in bed without being ill and celebrate Son’s Day. I stunned him by saying “OK”.
We could all do with mothering our inner children a bit more, even if we’ve no kids at home. If we lose touch with our own need for self care and restoration, we have less to offer others.
My mum died when I was pregnant with my son, so I have no mum to spoil on Mother’s Day. Her spirit is always with me, though, as flowers, chocolates and breakfast in bed served on treasured antique crockery made Mother’s Day her favourite day of the year. I celebrate her by celebrating life, the life she gave me and wanted me to fill full to the brim. I root myself firmly at home – my normal week involves a lot of ‘taxi driving’ – and shamelessly rest and indulge my senses.
This year, with my husband’s help, my kids got me tulips, a chic-lit easy read novel about angels and chocolate, some rose scented, rose-shaped tea lights and a bottle of cider. My favourite gift, the one they bought themselves, was Beth Nielsen Chapman’s latest CD and a small bag of chocolates. I adore my children, and know only too well that I’m blessed to have them; the only way to love them is with gratitude for every, single moment I’m blessed to have them in my life. I aim to review the CD later, but I’ll leave you with a line from it, a dedication to my mum, my husband and my children.
All that matters when we’re gone
All that mattered all along
All we have that carries on…
…is how we love