Saturday, 14 March 2015

Mothering

In a remote part of the cemetery is a small stone urn, dwarfed by the tombstones around it. Inscribed on the sides is simply 'Mum' and 'Dad' and the year of their deaths in the 1960s. There's no headstone or kerb, nothing to show it's there except, this last December, the glow of coloured lights from a miniature Christmas tree placed beside it.

Such a tiny testament to such huge love. Fifty years after their deaths, someone somewhere can't imagine Christmas without their parents a part of it. Fifty years on, that aged someone marks Mothering Sunday with lily-of-the-valley and a spray of pink rosebuds.

I am awed by the enduring power of human relations and daunted by the expectations it implies of parenthood.

That devotedly tended urn exposes the void that is left when parents pass on. And it shows me the impact we have, for good or bad, on our children.

This Mothering Sunday I shall overlook the wash load that my 12-year-old forgot to hang up, the mascara she's smeared on my bath towel, the raid on the biscuit drawer that no one will admit to.

I shall try, as I soothe sibling conflicts and wrestle fractions on school worksheets, to see my chores as a privilege. For domestic demands, that I sometimes feel diminish me, are building a legacy which I hope will power my children on through the decades when I am just a memory.

18 comments:

  1. A beautiful piece! What a way to look at it - the amount of memory that's held in so little! What perspective we gain when we really look beyond the immediate! "What legacy are we building for when we become a memory?", a poignant question to ponder!

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    1. Thanks for such a thoughtful, beautifully put comment.

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  2. Yes, I think the building work is done in the little things.

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  3. Anna, this is just beautiful. I have been trying to be extra patient with my family today, simply because I feel I should.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it's good to have a designated day to remind us of what we take for granted.

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  4. It's so humbling isn't it? My sister was recently taken very ill and my niece dropped everything and flew 12000 miles to be with her. She has spent every minute of every day making sure she has the best possible care and everything she needs. All past misunderstandings and arguments are forgotten as she cares for her Mum who is slowly improving. This is such a beautiful post.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your sister, but what a wonderful tribute from her daughter.

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  5. You're so right. It's difficult to remember sometimes, but when I'm frustrated with tasks and chaos, I try to think about how much I'll miss them when they've moved on x

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    1. I do try to do that, but it's not always a very convincing exercise!

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  6. Wonderful. I hope you had a lovely day. X

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  7. So so true. Esp if those domestic demands are ones that build bonds of intimacy and love (hanging up someone's pants everyday must do, right?!). It IS the small, daily things that we'll be remembered by, and your kids won't forget how much you loved them by the way to served them - as long as the blighters learn to pull together and work as a team too! We're working on that concept now our kids are old enough. Serving them is one thing; being their slave another! Great reflective piece.

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    1. What a lovely way of putting it. But yes, slavery is always a danger...

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