Monday, 11 March 2013

The Family Script

My maternal grandmother was a redoubtable woman.  An Edwardian nursery governess, she spent her 20's and early 30's living in exclusive hotels in the North of England, where she ruled her nursery with a rod of iron.  She didn't marry until she was 33 but nevertheless she and my grandfather (having by now emigrated to Canada where he had a farm) produced a large brood of their own; my mother and her four brothers.  Needless to say, they were all brought up in accordance with her strict views on child rearing.  Her voice can still be heard echoing down the generations.

Granny didn't believe in celebrating Mother's Day, seeing it (wrongly as it happens - Mothering Sunday has a long and venerable tradition) as a recent and purely commercial innovation.  My own mother, being strongly influenced by her upbringing, was also not inclined to make an occasion of it and I, in my turn, although delighted with the handmade offerings of my sons when they were very young, paid scant attention to the occasion.

It wasn't until my marriage broke down and I realised too late that Mother's Day fell on a Sunday the boys were to spend with their father.  I didn't see the need to change this arrangement and fight my corner, the family script being so deeply ingrained, and spent the day alone, feeling lost and displaced, missing my sons on a day that focuses so strongly on the mother/child relationship.  It was during that long, painful day that I began to think again about Mother's Day and to accept that it did matter to me, that I did want my children to think of me on this special day and from then on I have carefully nurtured it in my own family.

Yesterday, it was a special joy to spend the day with my youngest son, down from University especially to be with me on Mother's Day, and to speak to my two older sons who couldn't join us this year but made special efforts to phone (they so rarely do - is this a boy thing?).  In  this family now, every Mother's Day will always be a special day.

I am rewriting the family script.

27 comments:

  1. I'm glad you learned to appreciate Mother's Day. As for me, well, Mother's Day is a very difficult day for me. It makes me miss my mother even more.

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    1. Granny wasn't always right, Pam, and now I never pass up an opportunity to celebrate family ties. And yes, it is always sad when your mother is no longer there.

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  2. I've never been very sure about Mother's Day, personally, but am always pleased when my son remembers - usually at the end of the day, mind you! And yes, infrequent phoning does seem to be a boy thing.....

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    1. I find it matter more now Rachel, when seeing the boys is a rare treat and I have to try harder. Glad your son does remember and how boy-like to make it the end of the day. Glad it's not just my boys then!

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  3. When my four children were younger, I would ask them to do all my chores for me on Mother's Day, including the cooking. It gave me a much appreciated day of leisure and perhaps gave them a sense of the unnoticed jobs that were done on a regular basis. Now they are grown so I get gifts and phone calls. I still try to visit my own mom (89 years old) on or near Mother's Day and take her some flowers that she always enjoys.

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    1. Yes, getting them to help with chores is an excellent idea Jenny. My older sons usually cook breakfast for me when they are visiting these days, which is much appreciated. I do think it's important to pay special attention to mothers though as we can be under-appreciated. I think a card, a phone call and/or a bunch of flowers is always much appreciated.

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  4. Glad your son came to see you on Sunday. These family days can be very difficult now that they have been so commercialised. It's the sentiment of
    nurturing family relationships that's important.

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    1. I do agree with you Linda. It really is the thought that counts. I just like to make sure that they do make a bit of an effort. Hope you enjoyed your day.

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  5. We won't celebrate Mother's Day here for another 2 months, but I'm very glad you've rewritten your family's script and had the Mother's Day you wanted.
    And thank you for the comment you left on my post today. It's good to know of others who have been through this tough stage of life.

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  6. I didn't realise Mother's Day was different in the US. I hope things go well for you with your Mum - it is a very difficult time.

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    1. Not sure when it happens in the States, but in Canada we celebrate on the 2nd Sunday in May. Thanks for your good wishes re Mom -- it is tough, as you well know. . .

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  7. I'm glad you forged your own path for Mother's Day. Kids are so naturally egocentric - we moms need to be noticed at least once a year. And the phone calls from our sons can be nurtured that same way. My older one gets that.. my younger one not so much. Belated Happy Mother's Day to you. Ours is coming up in May.

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    1. That is so true Hilary. I do rather have to jump up and down a bit to be noticed at times. I think boys especially are egocentric so making sure they know what I need is my responsibility.

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  8. Oh, I can somehow relate to this, as I am not a mother, nor will I ever be and I feel cheated by life. I feel somehow excluded from this universal celebration. I wonder if anyone ever thinks about how it is for women that are not mothers on this day and particularly the step moms, that are still totally excluded...
    I am glad you changed the "family script" and now enjoy the appreciation of that day, as there is noting stronger than a bond between a mother and a child...
    Have a lovely weekend.;)
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you Zuzana. I did have a good weekend and hope you did too. That is hard for you, especially the step mum bit - I am one too and find it is more of a friends thing than anything else - hard enough to get my own kids to remember me on special occasions. It's not that they intend to forget, they are just so immersed in their lives and I just like to make sure they know what I need from them, then we can all be happy x

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  9. I think Mother’s Day is a sweet holiday. For some reason I enjoyed it more when I celebrated it for my mother (who passed away in 2002) than having it celebrated to me by my daughters. In the US it is celebrated in the middle of May and in France at the end of May or first week-end of June, so if I forgot to buy a card here for my mother, by the end of the month they were not in the store anymore. But since she did not speak English I usually would buy a card with pretty roses on it. I am pleased you had a good week-end.

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    1. Yes, it is lovely when it can be shared with the different generations. I found my mother came round to it when I started making more of an effort and began to appreciate it too. It is a lovely occasion.

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  10. we each have to find our own way you know...and mothers day is important...we still have our coming up in may...mothers play such a huge role in our lives...i am glad you have nurtured it since...and congrats on the POTW over at Hilary's

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    1. Thanks you for popping in Brian. The POTW was a nice surprise. I wondered why I suddenly had lots of comments!

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  11. You are to be congratulated on at least two counts: having cultivated respect for something important to you and receipt of Hilary's POTW.

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    1. That makes me feel much, much better. It's always good to be appreciated (and I do have the flu!).

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  12. good for you - and your sons, too. congrats on your POTW!

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    1. Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. Much appreciated.

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  13. Good for you!!!
    And sometimes, it is a daughter thing......I have three, and they are all different. One I hear from every day, one I hear from a couple times a week, and the middle one........once every couple of weeks.
    Go figure.

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    1. Nice to meet you Hilary, but I still think boys take the honours on the phoning thing. I pretty much always have to phone them, unless it's something really important.

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  14. Congratulations on changing the Family Script, and on winning Post of the Week, as well...you deserve it...
    Sandi

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    1. It feels good to have done both! Thanks Sandi

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