Today is Mothering Sunday here in the UK. Our version of Mother's Day, which always falls in the middle of Lent, so we don't have the other one which the rest of the world has. And today is also my youngest son's birthday. My baby is 22. I am still battling to remember how he could possibly have been around for 22 years already.
However, he is at uni, buried under a pile of work due in this week, and not here, so I have spoken to him, and we will have a celebration of sorts when he comes home. You will be pleased to know that my fledgling attempt to shop for groceries on line worked, and bang on 10am this morning, the bags arrived on his doorstep, including the chocolate cake I ordered. That was a mistake. He wanted a caterpillar cake - the chocolate variety which has become synonymous with birthdays in this house. Oops. He has a cake. That will have to do. Bad mother.
He was thrilled with the Kindle the family got for him - now he has to wait to open the parcel until the work is in. And he was very happy with his care package too (the food). He will not starve.
So it is inevitable that today the thought of motherhood and all those years parenting my three should be at the forefront of my mind, isn't it. I have been a Mum for nearly 34 years. Well, 34 years and 8 months if you count pregnancy! It has been the best thing I ever did, and my greatest achievement, but make no mistake - it is hard hard work too.
Motherhood does not end at 18 either. It is something that lasts for your entire life. You will wake each day with thoughts of your children scattered around the globe (in my case) and you will wonder how they really are, if they are well, happy, busy, coping, healthy....... the lot. You wonder about the things they never talk about, and you pray for them all and it is really difficult to realise that you can't play a major role in their lives any more. They are all off doing what you raised them to do, making their own lives, and forging their own paths, and I am truly thankful for all that, and yet........
There are days when I wish they were all small again, and here. Together. Where I can watch over them. When I could kiss them better and it worked. When the tooth mouse came to visit, and letters to Father Christmas were written. When I tripped over lego blocks, and woke with little arms and legs like wound round me like an octopus.
Those days are long gone now, though, and instead, I have the delights of the new generation of little ones to enjoy and learn to know now. I love being a Granny. But oh, I miss being Mum. And being the fount of all knowledge!
David was my surprise baby, and he was a little tornado for the first few years of his life. He knew no fear and got into more mischief than the other 2 combined. I was a relaxed Mum, though, and I just enjoyed him and his antics. All three of my children are full of character and are interesting kids. David fascinates me, though. He has the kind of mind which constantly amazes me. He remembers rare bits of information and can use them in normal conversation, so I often start out chatting about something inconsequential with him, and out will trot some fact which stops me in my tracks, and I look at him and think - where on earth did that come from? He doesn't see facts as things on paper, you see. He sees them in context immediately and can use them. In fact, he is just like his father when it comes to being a mine of information.
He is quiet. Yes, I know I said he was a tornado, but that blew itself out by the time he was about 8. And while he is quiet, he does not miss a single thing. He listens, and learns, and watches and knows. And he is always aware of what is going on around him. Inscrutable. He is the biggest of my children - taller by far than the rest of us, but gentle too. Kids love him. Well, Missy took a while to get used to him, I admit, but generally, kids love David. And he has endless patience with them.
Each of my kids has his or her own special strengths, and weaknesses too. They are human, after all. They are each unique, and each very special to me. I have been honoured to be their Mum, and very blessed too. They have brought a whole lot of grey hairs along the way, but an immeasurable amount of love. They are the best thing in my life, and I am so proud of each of them. All of them.
Being their Mum will always be my greatest joy. I love them. It is as simple as that.
They are my kids.