Mothering Sunday

It’s just after 1 a.m. here in the UK and it’s Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day as it’s more popularly known.

A few weeks back, my mum presented me with a workbook I had from school. The year was 1982. I was a good writer even then. I was 8 years old. Reading the words and suddenly all these memories flooded back. They were as vivid as if I was there experiencing them for the first time.

Each page in the workbook represented one day in my life. Just daily happenings such as walking my dog, going out on my bike, going shopping with mum. The usual things.

As I grew up, my mum and I began to have a difficult relationship which continues to this day however growing up, we were very close. The workbook memories reflected that.

I wrote out a card and presented it to her at the stroke of midnight. I thanked her for being my mum and for bringing me up in a house filled with music, books, pets and singing. She has a great soprano voice. She sang as a teenager at the Royal Albert Hall. Her voice was true.

The powers that be wanted to take her further but her own mum was ill with tuberculosis due in part to the abject poverty they lived in and she wanted to stay put and take care of her. I think had she been brought up at a later time and in a different set of financial circumstances, many today would be well acquainted with her voice.

My mum has often wondered where her life would have taken her had she made a whole raft of different choices. I feel that too and I would imagine a great many others do as well.

I’m reminded of the lyrics to the song Ghost Of A Chance by Rush.

“Like a million little doorways
All the choices we made
All the stages we passed through
All the roles we played

For so many different directions
Our separate paths might have turned
With every door that we opened
Every bridge that we burned

Somehow we find each other
Through all that masquerade
Somehow we found each other
Somehow we have stayed
In a state of grace.”

I guess the way to live with the choices we have made is simply to accept we are where we are and maybe those doors which were open to us, albeit briefly, may not have granted us the joys we felt they would. Perhaps we would have wondered what a simpler life could have entailed? The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

The things I did in that old workbook from 1982 were mundane, regular, everyday things however they were imbued with meaning because the world was still new to me because I was young. Maybe the trick then is to look at the same old things but with new eyes? I’m reminded of a saying I heard – “Happiness isn’t having what you want. Rather it is wanting what you have.”

What do I have? I have a mum who although I may not be so close to her as I was emotionally, she is still close to me physically and we have stuck by each other through thick and thin. I think that’s probably everything. It’s her day today and I hope it’s a good one.

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