There have been, and will continue to be, a number of ‘firsts without mam’; first birthday, first Christmas and today, the first Mother’s Day without my mam. I may be fine, I may cry for 24 hours straight, I might talk out loud to her and giggle to myself or I might do all of that at once – who knows. Each of theses firsts brings with it a few new lessons:
1. Make time to celebrate.
Now Mother’s Day is a funny one because I literally can’t remember the last time my Mam and I did something on the actual day – it was always the weekend before, 2 weeks or a month after. Basically whenever was good for the both of us and when we could commit some time to one another and be totally dedicated to that shared moment without feeling rushed or guilty for not being somewhere else or doing something else. Especially with my hectic calendar, that is what all the annual special dates have become – I love you alerts! I don’t really buy into the commercialism, or standard themed gifts of these named days, but what I do use them to remind myself to clear space and give some undivided attention to those in my life that I love. Valentines, makes me ask ‘when was the last time my husband spent time without me typing on a laptop?’, New Years is a kick-starter for me to get around friends I haven’t seen, Fathers day was to phone my Dad, then find time to watch Road Wars, remember when I still lived at home, and be thankful of everything he has given me and perhaps I have forgotten, and Mother’s Day was my opportunity to say to the women who lived 3 hours away, but who just wanted to be a part of my life that she always has been and always will be.
2. I will still celebrate
My mam (along with my dad) gave me the best life any man could ask for and was my very best friend through everything. I tell stories about her nearly every day. She is still my role model and so I will take every single opportunity to celebrate Lorraine Frances Harper as one of the best mothers who has every graced this planet. I will also keep those in a similar position to me, who have lost their mothers, in my mind – I hope you are celebrating, but if you are not right now then I hope one day you can find whatever it is you need to be able to do so.
3. I still want you to celebrate
I had lunch yesterday next to a mum with her daughter and the mum was just so overjoyed by ever minute with her daughter – I couldn’t stop smiling. I know how lucky I was to have a mam like the one I had and it fills my heart a little bit when I see my friends sharing in the same love too. So don’t avoid the conversation with me, don’t omit Mother’s Day plans from our conversations and don’t ever apologise for covering Facebook in photos of your glorious relationships. I will celebrate with you.
4. I still have mothers to celebrate.
I am surrounded by so many strong women and so many utterly incredible mothers that I will use today to celebrate too. My sister who reminds me more of my mam every day, my second mam who lived next door to us and who I still buy ‘mother’ cards for, my mother-in-law who makes sure I know it’s OK to have ‘silly moments’ and who will always call me her ‘favourite son-in-law’, my best friend who is always there when I need to talk (even though she has 2 little ones to contest with and her own hectic lifestyle to fit me into), my best friend from uni who has always taken everything that life has to offer in her stride and continues to do so as a new mum, 2 mums who I used to work with who are carving out a world that they deem fit for their children to grow up in, an old friend who continues to be both mum, dad, and everything else for her boy, women at work who genuinely astound me with their ability to majestically balance their work timetable, the children’s timetable and their own very clear aspirations equally and finally to all those wonderful female friends, aunties, neighbours and colleagues who I am lucky to have in my life and remind me of my mam in their own little ways. Here’s to you.
To summarise – celebrate. Those wonderful people in our lives! If you can’t right now, make time and if they are no longer with us then celebrate them in memory. Pick a date, make plans, find an excuse, send that card, type that text…whatever it is celebrate those you love and who make our lives that little bit brighter. My mam still manages to and so I will always celebrate that and celebrate her!