I’m not yet a complete curmudgeon, I like to think I have left to come many years of positivity and good humour, but I have to say that for some years now I have felt less than generous towards commercial enterprise as they continue in their unchallenged crusade to turn Mothering Sunday into ‘make as much money from this as possible’ Sunday. It is only the sweet sickly saturation in sugar coated gimmicks that now directs Valentine’s Day and Easter that prevents the shops from piling the shelves high in motherly confectionary ready for the lemming-like consumers to surrender their ability to see it for what it is as they plunder the aisles to ensure they are not seen as an old skinflint. I think Ivan Pavlov would be interested in this growing custom.
However, I digress; as Mothering Sunday approached (I say that in a deliberately curmudgeonly way as I do not like to use the commercial term ‘Mothers’ Day’) I hoped I would at least be treated to a day off from the cooking/cleaning/tidying/etc and that my sons may even give me a card with something other than their name quickly scrawled at the bottom. And each year I remind them about the traditions of the day of people returning to their home town, mother church, families, etc.In other words it is meant to be about that feeling of belonging, longevity, love of being part of something much bigger.
It invariably falls on deaf ears but this year I decided to put my money where my mouth was and after I had opened the cards (which I am pleased to report did have more than the name of each son in and rather than scribble out the mistake, a slick of tippex had been used, so progress of sorts!) and enjoyed my toast and Bucks Fizz, I went along to my local church.
It was a large congregation, which I piously thought was quite right too, until I realised there was also a baptism taking place, so quite a few people who are perhaps not usually there (me included).
But as I listened to team vicar Jo Neary, I realised it’s not just the supermarkets, but many more of us who may think we get it when perhaps we really don’t.
One of the stories Jo told was Moses in the bulrushes when a mother leaves her three month old baby in a basket on the River Nile; now I won’t go into detail but essentially there are three women who end up ‘mothering’ the baby: the pharaoh’s daughter, Moses’ sister and of course his mother.
This made me think about the whole concept of ‘motherhood’ and how Mothering Sunday, as society has quickened the pace of change in what the word ‘mother’ means, has evolved. It is no longer the woman who gives birth to a child, but a whole lot of people who help make that person who he/she is.
And then there was the christening; they are special events for everyone involved, irrespective of your religious habits, there is something wholesome and dare I say righteous about the affair. It is a bit like a door being opened into a new house where everyone inside wants to do what they can to make life good for you; whether or not you take them up on it is up to you, but the offer to join this new dynasty is there and will remain so for as long as the person wants.
So it has gone way beyond mum, sister, aunt or granny, it’s each and every person who has something of value to offer.
So my moment of spontaneity was rewarded and from now on I won’t worry about the name label that is put on today, or even that the supermarkets see it as another money spinner; no, I shall celebrate Mothering Sunday for everything that represents motherhood, from wherever or whoever it comes!