Sunday, May 12, 2013

When you're a boy...on Mother's Day

I’d begun writing about Mothers Day last week, as if to psyche myself into the inevitable choice on the day of either brazening it out in the world on my own or cowardly retreat instead.

But today I’ve been diverted, by David Bowie no less, and realised when you’re a boy – Mother’s Day is no biggie.

And David, while you’re about it – when you’re a boy:

You don’t have to form your own Women in Science group at work.
You don’t have to justify why white men just like you are always the best candidate for the job.
You don’t consider it's offensive to call a woman in her early 30’s an "older women" and think it’s actually a pick up line…

But that was last night’s delightful dinner conversation (and thanks M for not being offended by being the token male and bearing the brunt of it!)

So, if I was a boy I doubt I would have written the following in the lead up to Mothering Sunday (or the day that launched a thousand unwanted foot spas, as I like to think of it).

For the past two decades I’ve hated Mother’s Day.

Going forth into the world solo on such a day I feel more of a square barren peg in a round fecund hole than usual.

Public spaces are populated by family groups, the movie queues snake with mothers accompanied by dutiful offspring and forget about catching up with a friend for Sunday lunch, even if they’re free of family duties, finding a table it tough. 

But something changed last year. My mother died. The first mother-less Mother’s Day approached. I cringed, fearing an onslaught of grief, and waited.


Somehow Mother’s Day became oddly sanitized. No longer did it memorialise my own lack of being a mother or living in a country without my family of origin, but a day when I was no longer mothered.

Two negatives really can make a positive

The world is full of mothers and children regardless of the date. I’ve reached the twilight zone where I’m mother-less on either end of the axis. Somehow the sadness from both directions has cancelled out the bulk of the pain.

...and if all else fails today, I'll think like a boy and get over myself.