Just had conversation I have every year with play school “What can we do about Mother’s Day card?” Lovely people get so worried - we’re not!
People are funny aren't they? Kind. But often very funny.
Our children don't seem to blink at having two male parents. Other people don't seem to take too much notice either. Except for one day of the year. The fourth Sunday in Lent, which for us in the UK, is Mothering Sunday.
Now, I know if you are reading this anywhere else in the world you will be asking why we have our Mother's Day then. I don't know either, we in the UK just do. As, unsurprisingly, do Ireland and also perhaps more surprisingly, Nigeria.
So Mothering Sunday is a constantly moving fixture of the British Spring. This year it's late, on March 30th, but it's generally a couple of weeks earlier than that.
Cue numerous cards depicting daffodils and tulips made by adoring children for their doe eyed mothers. For weeks ahead of the date the country's play schools, kindergartens and school early years classes are filled with children madly glueing, pasting and colouring their cards ready for presentation on the big day.
That pressure never leaves the dutiful British child .
I had a friend when I was a teenager who invariably forgot it was Mothering Sunday. In North Devon, where I grew up, the country lanes are sunken between earth banks topped with hedges. At this time of year they abound with daffodils.
My friend would therefore get up, often slightly the worse for wear, early on the morning of Mothering Sunday. He would drive around the lanes near his parents' farm with the window down holding his arm out of the window. Grasping bunches of daffodils as he went he would present his mother with the largest bunch possible, normally wrapped in newspaper. The condition of the daffodils varied, some had short stems, some had long, quite a few still have their bulbs attached to their roots.
So against this background of brief Mothering Sunday hysteria, it's understandable that over the years various teachers, play school helpers and creche supervisors approach the inevitable 'for whom should we make the card' conversation with dread.
That situation happened again last week. Our three year old daughter's play school teacher approached me and asked, in slightly embarrassed tones, "Mother's Day is coming up, we'll be making cards, who should we help your daughter make a card for?"
The teacher shifted slightly from foot to foot. "Don't worry, let her make a card for whoever she wants to, it could be Granny, or one of her aunts maybe?" I said.
The teacher looked slightly happier.
"Please don't worry, it really isn't a big deal," I reassured her.
Those are words I have found myself saying very often around this time of year. "It isn't a big deal. We genuinely don't mind. Please don't worry."
The concern of those around our children to ensure they are not left out, but that equally we are not offended in any way, is I think extraordinarily thoughtful and kind. Putting them at ease becomes a concern in itself.
Approaching Mother's Day I face the dilemma. Do I wait for the children's teachers to raise the annual issue with me, or should I say something first. If I say something, does that give the impression that actually we are concerned about it. If I say nothing I condemn them to having to raise the issue with me. One word describes the situation when that happens. Awkward.
Believe it or not we also face similarly awkward issues when Father's Day comes around. This time of course there's no problem about to whom the children should address their card.
No, the issue in the run up to Father's Day usually consists of a concern that insufficient time or resource has been allocated to allow our children to create two Father's Day cards. Therefore, (embarrassed pause and shuffling) would it be OK if the children just made one card for the two of us.
The poor, kind, lovely professionals who look after our children. They just can't win!