I don’t need a reward for two of the most wonderful things in my life
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I am a mother and, if the retail industry is to be believed, I need to be reminded of this on Mothering Sunday, the next-biggest flower-selling day of the year after Valentine’s Day. I feel as if I want to shout: “No! Don’t do it!” Because I love being a mum 365 and one quarter days a year and I don’t need a reward for two of the most wonderful things in my life (that’s my children, in case they read this and wonder what I’m talking about).
But it is nice to get a card that says “For you on Mother’s Day” or a similar elegantly-phrased sentiment. Thus: “Yes, please, do it.” And it would be simply churlish to refuse flowers. Meanwhile, back at the office an email warns: “An increasing number of mums are aged 85-plus and still juggling the demands of babysitting, cooking meals for their children, washing their clothes and doing the family shop,” according to a poll for Clintons, the card people.
About 10% of mothers of children aged over 65 (that’s pensioner children, then) are helping out their kids. If I am physically capable of any of the above when I am aged 85 I shall be cock-a-hoop.
My dad, who is older than this, each year gives me a giant jar of pickled onions made with shallots from his garden. They are the best pickled onions in the world and no others come near.
There are things that one’s parents do better than anyone else – so why would you do it yourself? I have never made a lemon drizzle cake or a Dundee cake because my mum’s are matchless.
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When my daughter comes for lunch, she often asks me to make a comfort meal from her youth. Chicken goujons, baked potatoes and broccoli with cream and grated cheese, or maybe pork belly with onion, tomato and apple.
She no longer needs me to sing her to sleep or buy her clothes, and nor does she covet mine as she did when she was eight years old.
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But she still needs her mum, just like I need my mum. Just as my mum acutely misses her mum... although probably not the blackberry jam nana used to make – a hedgerow preserve that resolutely resisted efforts to extract it from the jar. But because we all loved her, we ate it and even had seconds. Happy Mothering Sunday.