Nick King's Blog

I've done some pretty cool things, but nothing's as cool as creating our family

Think of us without a Mum on mother’s day. It’s a day for remembrance while the majority celebrate.

This morning my social media timelines are rightly full of Mother's Day greetings.

Children greeting their mothers over the web.  Mothers making plans for later in the day, anticipating the arrival of family, preparing to be taken to lunch or dinner, thanking their offspring for cards and gifts already received.  More poignantly those who have lost their mothers sharing photos of them.  Wishing those departed a happy Mothering Sunday.  Recalling Mother's Days past.  Resurrecting happy memories and equally rekindling feelings of loss.

It made me reflect on Mother's Day.

 

For the last few years Mothering Sunday has tended to make me feel a little sad.

Nothing to do with the fact that we are a family with same sex parents.  I've been proud to blog for Huffington Post about how Mother's Day can induce awkwardness in those around us. I was flattered to be asked to provide a longer version of the article for Toddle About.   

My Mum passed away almost five years ago.  Suddenly the fourth Sunday of Lent went from being a not to be missed date in my calendar to just another Spring Sunday.

The displays of flowers, chocolates, soft toys and cards in the shops served only to remind me of my loss.  That hurt has diminished as time has gone on, but there remains a degree of sadness engendered by the overwhelming imagery as Mothering Sunday approaches.

 

Mothering Sunday was important to my Mum.  She expected, and received, a card and flowers each year.  However, on the Sunday she never wanted to go out for lunch.  Her frugal nature always led her to suggest that we ate out in the week before or after the weekend.  "So much less busy darling," she would say.

Instead, on Mothering Sunday, she would take pride in cooking a large roast lunch.  Placing her Mother's Day flowers in the centre of the dining table.  Taking pride in the quality and quantity of the fayre she put in front of my father and I.  Confirming her maternal prowess through the provision of absolutely delicious roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and vegetables.

 

My Mum had character.  I hope I've inherited some of it.  She was fun.  She was irreverent.  She was deeply principled.  Above all she had a very well developed sense of honour and duty.

 

She also wasn't great with the internet.

Visiting Waitrose in their neighbouring town weekly she became increasingly concerned at my father's erratic driving as they both headed towards their 80s.  She was therefore relieved when their local Waitrose store offered internet shopping.  She signed up immediately.

"How hard can it be, darling?" She said when I offered to help, waving her hand as if shooing away a fly.

So she and my father signed up for internet shopping and delivery at their local supermarket.

My mother loved trout.  She would fry it in butter and herbs and eat it for lunch most Fridays.  It was therefore a staple of their weekly shop.  She decided to make it a feature of their first internet shopping order.

 

Asking her once she had placed the order how she and my Dad had gotten on, my Mum mentioned that it had been more expensive than they thought.  She expected, though, this was a consequence of the combination of delivery charges and the fact that my Dad had persuaded her to buy some additional items which didn't normally form part of their weekly shop.

Visiting my parents on the evening after their first internet food shop delivery they were in unusually up-beat mood.  

"How did you get on?" I asked.

"Fine!" Said my Mum.

"Tell him about the trout," my Dad mumbled from his chair.

"Trout?" I asked.

"Nothing, darling," my Mum replied.  "Ignore him," she said, shooting my Dad one of her 'shut up' looks.

"What have you done?" My suspicions were aroused.

"We bought a little too much trout," my mother admitted.

"How much?" I asked.  Knowing now that this would not be good.

"Take a look in the freezer," said my Dad.

My parents had a large upright freezer, situated in their garage.  Opening it I could see nothing but trout fillets.  Dozens of them.  Piled on top of one another.

"How many did you buy?" I asked my Mum, incredulous.

"It was your father," she was trying to shift the blame. "He was supposed to buy eight fillets. He didn't change to the quantity to individual amounts.  So we bought eight kilos."

"How much did it cost? Why didn't you send them back?" I was verging on speechless.

"Oh, the boy who delivered them was so lovely, I couldn't bear to tell him to take them away again." My Mum explained. "It explains why it was so expensive." She added.

"Want some trout?" My Dad asked dryly as I made my farewells.

 

I miss my Mum for these moments.  Her insanity.  Her pride.  Her humour.

If you'd like to know a little more about her, I wrote an eulogy for her.

Think of those of us without a Mum on Mothering Sunday.  We remember on those days, while the majority celebrate.