Family Motherhood Pause for Thought



Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday.  A day full of memories.  I never really quite understood how the date was decided when I was little and I was usually quite surprised by it, sometimes only really twigging when we went out to Sunday School to be met with tables heaving with daffodils ready to be tied into little bows of three and handed out to all of the ladies in the congregation at the end of the service; that damp wet floral smell mixing with the wood polish and dust in the air. And as I got older, the day was full of the rip of ribbon being curled by my scissors, and the soggy patch on my knees where the flowers had soaked through while I was tying them up.

I have memories of planning wildly elaborate schemes to treat my Mum that were so wild and elaborate they never came anywhere near fruition, and of course the year I phoned and told her that I’d bought her some chickens, only after the “you’ve done WHAT!”, explaining that they were going to a family in Africa via the Mothers’ Union and not turning up on her doorstep.  I so should have sent her a fluffy soft toy one shouldn’t I – this is what I mean about wild plans!

And now that I am all grown up I have memories of my little trio of daffodils from the mother’s day service when I was expecting Kitty (the Church of England is nothing if not consistent when it comes to flowers), brought home and stuck in a vase on the windowsill, tightly furled green heads relaxing and opening into yellow blooms that felt like a promise that this baby too would grow and flourish.  I have all of the cards that the girls have made me over the years, tucked up in a box on my desk.  Cards full of first scribbles, pictures, handprints and even some wobbly writing, and if the gifts Kitty and Elma made me last year at nursery were swiftly reclaimed by their creators, I do at least know what it was that I was made (little heart shaped painted boxes).

I shared two mother’s days with my Mum and this will be my third as just a mother and not a celebrating daughter, and it still feels not quite right. For starters it feels completely wrong to me not to be sharing the fun with someone else; Christmas is a big family party, Easter we celebrate together, and H and I have spent every birthday together since we were 19 (same date of birth – great fun for confusing people with forms), I’m just not used to doing things on my own (seriously, if you wish me Happy Birthday I’ll say it back, my brain has rewired to think it’s everyone’s birthday!).  And while H’s mum is dear to me, it’s not the same, there isn’t that back catalogue of shared moments and inside jokes built up through a lifetime together that means you can joke about chickens and still be baked chocolate cake.

I’m not writing this looking for pity, the raw grief circles at a distance now, only occasionally coming in for a bite, and I’d need all fingers, open toed sandals and a whole heap more to count the things for which I am truly thankful, and we have a happy, contented and peaceful life.  I won’t be spending Sunday hiding in a corner or refusing to acknowledge the day; I shall be surrounded by my wonderful children and revelling in their company.  And I know I’m not alone in finding myself a bit lopsided on Mother’s Day far far much sooner than I would have expected.  I think I’m simply acknowledging that in the merry chaos of being a mother myself, I haven’t forgotten that I am also a daughter, even if the celebrating happens in my heart and in my memories.

You Might Also Like

  • Jodie Fisher 11/03/2015 at 7:46 am

    I can’t imagine the pain you must feel. I have never really been treated for Mother’s Day and don’t tend to get anything for my own mum either. Mums should be celebrated every day.

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:44 pm

      I think I celebrate to myself every time I wake up and see three little smiley or not so smiley faces around me! πŸ™‚

  • Nasreen 11/03/2015 at 11:05 am

    My mum also left too soon, and mothering without her is so different. She is even more present in my thoughts as I raise her last grandchild, the one she never met. But there is much comfort in that presence as well as sadness.

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:43 pm

      I’ve found that with more children have come even more questions I wish I could ask – I’ve just got memories to fall back on instead and it’s not quite the same is it.

  • Mackenzie Glanville ( 11/03/2015 at 11:13 am

    This is a stunning post. My mother is still here with me and I feel so blessed, 2 years ago we almost lost her, we got a phone call on Christmas day (also my sisters birthday) that she had been rushed to hospital. After months of fighting for her life I have her back and I don’t ever take that for granted. I know how much she misses her mother on Mother’s day. I am sorry for you, and I know you don’t want pity as you put it, this is not pity, this is me acknowledging you and your mother. It sounds like you have amazing memories that you treasure and that is a celebration. It is OK to be sad and happy all at once,to celebrate her memory and miss her and to celebrate your children. Bless you, much love xx

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:42 pm

      Thank you so very much πŸ™‚

  • Kim 11/03/2015 at 1:06 pm

    This is beautiful Carie, and something I haven’t thought about. My mother is still here, but it won’t always be that way, and I can appreciate the shift that might take place when that happens.

    Hugs to you, and a very Happy Mother’s Day.

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:41 pm

      thank you and is it Happy Mother’s Day to you too – or do you wait until May?

  • Morgana @ butwhymummywhy 11/03/2015 at 2:11 pm

    What an absolutely beautiful post Carie, so much of what you’ve captured in your words resonates so strongly with me. Sending you lots of love and I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday too xx

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:40 pm

      We’re definitely in the same boat on this one – lots of love to you too πŸ™‚

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 11/03/2015 at 2:32 pm

    Such a beautiful post Carie… mothers day is a funny one… full of joy for some, painful memories for some, and an odd mixture of the two for others… Will be thinking of you on Sunday. Thank you too for the reminder that there will be those for whom this Sunday will be really tough – some who have lost mothers, who long to be mothers and aren’t, those who have lost children… much love to you and yours.xx

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:39 pm

      And to you and yours too πŸ™‚ Our vicar (who is simply wonderful) always includes a prayer for the people who have lost mothers and for the mothers who have lost or never had their children and I think it gives the service a lot of balance.

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 11/03/2015 at 4:09 pm

    Such a beautifully written post Carie. I don’t do a great deal for Mother’s Day, but still we acknowledge the date as you should do- but I do celebrate my Mum every day. I can imagine however happy and thankful you are, that it still hurts a little every day. Will be thinking of you on Sunday and hope you have a lovely day with your beautiful beautiful family. x

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:36 pm

      Aww thank you lovely. We don’t do anything massive either (although a small bag has been smuggled home from nursery today!) so I’m just hoping for a lovely happy day together – possibly with extra sleep!

  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry 11/03/2015 at 6:47 pm

    Such a lovely post Carie, your attitude is so positive. I don’t celebrate with my mum for an entirely different set of reasons but I will be doing something with my family and maybe milking it when it comes to not lifting a finger all day πŸ˜‰ I hope you have a lovely day xx

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:35 pm

      Oh definitely milk it for the waited on hand and foot approach!!

  • sally 11/03/2015 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve been meaning to send you a message for a while, asking you about your experience of losing your Mum. I hadn’t realised it was quite so raw for you too, I’m so sorry, and for your Dad too. I’m sort of avoiding the thought of the weekend at the moment πŸ™

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:35 pm

      Oh ask away, I promise I’ll answer πŸ™‚ I know you’re going to find this weekend tough, the first anything after such a fundamental upheaval always is, and I’ll be thinking of you and hoping for a day filled with sunshine and cuddles

  • Donna 11/03/2015 at 9:47 pm

    My mother isn’t in my life anymore, and hasn’t been for many years, and even though I am a mother myself the day, and this time of year, is tinged with sadness for me and I think it always will be. Thinking of you Carie x

    • Carie 11/03/2015 at 10:30 pm

      And you too – I hope all our Sundays are filled with happiness πŸ™‚

  • Mandycharlie 12/03/2015 at 2:57 am

    Hugs, just sending hugs.

    • Carie 12/03/2015 at 9:45 pm

      thank you lovely πŸ™‚

  • preeta samarasan 12/03/2015 at 4:50 am

    Your post does not come across as though you are looking for pity at all; it is, like everything you write, so full of balance and wisdom. I hope you have a lovely Sunday with your beautiful family, and that you will find some comfort and solace and perhaps even a private chuckle or two from your memories of your mum.

    • Carie 12/03/2015 at 9:44 pm

      Thank you, I think we’re going to have a lovely Sunday πŸ™‚

  • Caroline 12/03/2015 at 10:18 am

    A beautiful post Carie, you write so beautifully I always feel like it’s just you, me and a cup of tea:)
    I struggle a bit with birthdays – they were no big deal when I was growing up so I absolutely hate being made a fuss of, although love making a fuss of others! My mother left when I was a child and I have no relationship with her (her choice) and I feel kind of disjointed on Mother’s Day like I’m missing the point because it should be a two way street. But like you I will be snuggling my three close and tight and saying an extra prayer, so thankful for them. And I bought myself daffs this week!

    • Carie 12/03/2015 at 9:43 pm

      Aww thank you lovely – one of these days we’ll have to meet up and have an actual cup of tea! And I think you’ve nailed it, it’s that disjointed feeling that’s so strange. But I’m sure your three will be perfect all snuggled up with you, and yay for the daffs!

  • sustainablemum 12/03/2015 at 8:34 pm

    A beautiful post. My mother is still we me, I cannot begin imagine what it will be like when she is gone.

    • Carie 12/03/2015 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you πŸ™‚