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!”
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.