Happy Mothers Day Fox in Flats

By Andrea Michelle


Ah, Mother’s Day: The tidal wave of gift guides, TV commercials featuring loving gazes and warm cuddles between mum and daughter, and the plethora of magazine articles where celebrities share how much their mums mean to them.

I hate it.

When your mother is no longer around, it’s a time of the year that opens up a scar you try so hard to make disappear. And like a caesarean scar, no amount of Bio Oil is gonna make it vanish forever.

From the time my mum died many, many years ago when I was a little, I’ve tried lots of different ways to deal with the day:

  • Visit her grave if I was in the same state where she is buried;
  • Switch off the TV, radio, and all other channels to the outside world and pretend it wasn’t happening (especially, Facebook – gah!);
  • Spend Mother’s Day with friends, relatives, the families of boyfriends and ultimately the family of my husband;
  • And I’ve drunk glass after glass of wine till I’ve shuffled off to bed with one of my mum’s favourite songs by Dionne Warwick on high-rotation in my fuzzy head.

Thank god that becoming a mother myself was a pleasant distraction from my history with the day.

Thoughtful gifts, cards, and later when my babies were older, clumsily-constructed masterpieces, have all been presented to me. Then, mercifully, I was able to shift the focus of Mother’s Day from my own mum, and onto my children.

But over the last couple of years, I’ve taken a different approach. Now I make time each Mother’s Day to ‘connect’ with my mum.

I take time out on that day to be on my own, and let myself remember her and, for a minute, allow myself to think about – fantasise about – what it might be like to have her beside me.

Sometimes, in these moments over the years, she comes and sits next to me and wraps me in a warm, squishy hug, smelling faintly of Tweed. Other times, she’s just stood there, smiled, and gently but firmly given me advice I needed to hear.

And now, each year on Mother’s Day, I drive to the heads of Sydney Harbour with my children and release a balloon to the sky. It’s our way of saying “Hi!”

Mother's Day without a mum Fox in Flats

So this Mother’s Day, if you see a slightly misplaced looking girl sitting on the beach smiling lovingly at, and leaning in toward, an invisible person next to her while holding a single balloon, please, don’t interrupt. I’m spending time with my mum.


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  • Beautiful such a Great Idea. I Might do just that for my Mum on Sunday. She has been gone for 2 Years in August and when ever I see a Catalogue for example saying something about Mother’s Day I get Pissed off Lol.

    • Steph, I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by the mother’s day catalogues! LOL! Will be thinking of you on Sunday. And maybe our balloons will say “Hi!” to each other somewhere on their way up high x A

  • I think I should ask my husband if he wants to do anything for his Mum, she died just 10 days after our son was born, luckily he made it back to England in time to see her. As one of my darling old cousins said to him “You never lose your Mum, she is always with you”. One thing in his favour is they never made a big thing of Mother’s Day in his family from what I can work out. I’ll be thinking of you and balloons on Sunday. I hope your lads spoil you rotten. Both my kids are super excited this year, I’ve already got my pasta necklace from preschool when we had the Mum’s morning tea!! One can’t have too many pasta necklaces I’ve found!!

    • Oh yes, the pasta necklace – SUCH a great accessory! It’s so true, Mums are always with us. And I even tell my boys that even when I’m not with them, I’m in their heart. It’s so true. x A

  • Fabulous idea. My mum died nearly 3 years ago and I can’t stand all the reminders. I told my hubby I wanted to spend Sunday cocooned away from all mums – but I’ve just accepted an invitation to a BBQ at a friends place with her mum who I absolutely love. And who gives excellent hugs.

    • Ah, another mum who gives excellent hugs. Love it! Now there’s a learning for all of us in this situation: share hugs liberally, and for a long, long time. Thinking of you on Sunday Mel x Andrea

  • Beautiful. I’ve had a similar journey, avoiding mums and all things Mother’s Day, lavishing treats on my mother in law and step mother and wondering why I felt so empty afterwards, feeling angry, shifting the attention to my ki,ds and now like you, accepting, being ok feeling Sad for a little while, but also remembering and appreciating everything she did for me, and fantasising about having her here, and my kids having their gorgeous grandmother. She died before I met and married my Husband, and had my babies, so she never met any of them. We talk about her a lot now, and I know she watches over us, she would have loved my children like no one else… .Happy Mothers Day x

    • Hi Vic, I’m so relieved to find out from writing this that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I also think my mum wouldve loved my children like no one else and feel sad that they’ve missed out on that. But I tell them they are so special as they have an angel in heaven looking out for them…. THankyou so much for your comment, it’s very comforting x

  • Each year on Mother’s Day my husband and I drive to the Blue Mountains. We have lunch at Apple Bar at Bilpin then venture on to Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens. It is always freezing but the repetition of it from year to year is comforting for me.
    I will be wrapped up in my Mother’s hand made purple coat. I will cry a little, laugh a little, we will reminisce, I’ll feel overwhelmed (again), but mostly I will be greatful that she was my Mum and I was her daughter.
    For a few day’s I kept saying to myself ‘I can’t wait until Monday so that Sunday will be over’, but if Sunday is over I will have missed one of the three days each year that I set aside for her.
    Four Mother’s Day’s without my Mum is to long, saddly there will be five.
    Happy Mother’s Day Andrea, I hope that your balloon travels many, many miles. x

    • Oh sweetheart, I feel for you. “I will be grateful that she was my Mum and I was her daughter.” Yes, indeed. and she, no doubt would feel the same. Thankyou for sharing your gorgeous story. I’ll think of you in your mum’s coat on Sunday x A

  • I’m worried about my Dad. My nan died last Sunday and the funeral is tomorrow, then two days later is Mother’s Day. Does anyone have any suggestions how we should all react to him or how we can help? I know that we’re all sad but I’m especially concerned about him this weekend.

    • Oh Andrea, I am so sorry for the loss of your Nan, and your concern for your Dad. I don’t know the answer – I just muddle through, but I would advise to be there for him, and just listen. And give hugs. xxx A

  • Sunday will be my third Mother’s day celebrated with my two kidlets but my fifth without my gorgeous Mum. And when September rolls around, my fifteenth Fathers Day without Dad. After Dad died I always bought Mum flowers on their anniversary, like he did. Now I buy flowers for all of us on that day. Enjoy the time with your Mum xx

    • I’ll be thinking of you on Mother’s Day Natalie. How lovely to keep traditions like the flowers alive like that. x A

  • Your words are so touching, Andrea, I didn’t want to include the word ‘bittersweet’ in my note but I have to. This day is special for so many reasons The older I get, the more important Mother’s Day becomes. Enjoy the day.X

  • You honestly made me bawl. My best friend lost her mother 3 years ago to surgery complications. Very touching.

  • Reading this made me realise how much i miss my mum. She passed away 13 years ago from cancer, it still hurts so much when i see all that advertising and cards and i just wish that i could hug her once more. I haven’t been doing enough to honor her memory and will be taking a cue from you in doing something just for her on Sunday.

  • Hi, I’ve just come across this post through Styling You. It’s been 15 years since my mum passed away, she was only 42. She was 33 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer – the age I am now! This is my first mother’s day, as a mother myself and it’s going to be a toughie. But I wanted to share a project that I’ve been involved with for the past eight years, and that is Trees for Mum (www.treesformum.com).
    Trees for Mum is a project started in 2002 by two women in Sydney who had both lost their mums. They wanted to provide the opportunity for people who had also lost their mum to use Mother’s Day as a time to reflect and to plant a tree in celebration of her.
    I got involved in in 2004 in Melbourne and coordinated some tree planting sites through the Port Phillip and Wyndham Council’s (they provided the free trees and watered them after). I’ve since moved to Mildura and it’s now the fifth year that we’ve held this activity here and we had nearly 200 people participate last year.
    It has been so emotionally rewarding and fulfilling to be able to assist other’s, who like me also came to resent Mother’s Day (for all those reasons mentioned in the post), and give them the chance to reflect, remember and celebrate their mums on what for some is still a very hard time of the year (I remember an 86 year old lady who came to my first planting and was crying and telling me how much she missed her mum who had died nearly 30 year’s prior – it’s a feeling that never ever goes away).
    I’m not trying to promote this activity for promotions sake, but moreso to let people know that their are some really beautiful opportunities out there to create a meaningful tradition on a day that is emotionally challenging. I’ve since engaged the support of local water management and landcare groups to organise this event (I was 6 months pregnant last year and it was too hard to do it on my own) and landcare is now a national partner across the country. I intend to continue the tradition of heading out to our planting site, with my daughter, plant a tree and tell her about the grandmother she never got to meet.
    The Trees for Mum website has a list of other sites around the country and Lauren is always looking for more champions to assist in creating new opportunities for people… Sorry for the essay, and I’m so glad I happened to read your post today.

  • This is a beautiful, sweet idea. My mum passed when I was very young and it’s a sad day for me. I’ve been trying to think of ways to look at it differently, and this is the loveliest I’ve seen. Sending you a big hug.x

  • That is beautiful my love. She would be so proud of you. Mother’s Day is bullshit anyway though… I’m always a few states away from mine on the day and she’s always a little shitty about it… but then I visit her months later and we drink too much red wine and it’s so much better some than pre-planned event. Just like you and your mum. Mother’s day doesn’t connect you to her any stronger than any other day. She’s looking out for you every every SINGLE day, it’s just the world around you that makes mother’s day feel worse. xxx

    • Yes, yes yes! Thankyou for that. ANd you are right: “She’s looking out for you every every SINGLE day” xxx A

  • A lovely post Andrea. Your mum would be so proud of you and she is sitting right next to you smiling with glee at that balloon floating in the air and having you by her side.

  • I read this back in May Andrea, but I didn’t comment. We still have my Mum, but we’ve marked two Mothers days without my brother David. I think rituals are helpful – like the balloon you send your Mum – we light a candle for David whenever we’re missing him or need to feel he’s close.

    • That’s a great idea – does not need to be saved for certain times of the year. I’m so sorry about your brother David. xA

  • I totally get this! I have struggled through many a Fathers Day and for the last 2 years Mothers Day too. Over time, I have learned to ignore it to a large extent. But I also feel for those that struggle to become a mother … it must be hard for them too.

  • I love this post. Mother’s Day always made me feel glum. Mum died when I was 13 so I always felt ripped off but particularly on Mother’s Day. I adore it now that I am a mum myself but I still think of my mum everyday. I think it’s really important to talk about this stuff and not pretend we are all ok. Mostly we are all ok. But it’s also ok to be sad about it.
    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers everywhere x

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