Like most parents, I have days when I really don't feel like I'm making the grade. You know, the days when the supply of clean school shirts has run out, that form about the trip hasn't been sent back or I've forgotten who fell out with whom last week and who is still on the invitation list for holiday sleepovers. These days are usually accompanied by a soundtrack of slamming doors, raised voices and even me giving it the "I'm not here to win a popularity contest, I'm here to make the right decisions" line. Oh yes.
Our family of five has a complicated, by by no means unique, dynamic. We are son, me, My Mr and his two children. The smaller ones are all very different, all at different school, all friends with different people, all indulging in different clubs and all require different handling. My son regularly goes off to stay with his Dad and my two stepkids are getting to grips with having a woman about again after their Mum's death almost seven years ago. It's not simple, by any stretch of the imagination and I'd be lying if I said I sometimes didn't wish for an easier, simpler life.
But sometimes, it all comes together for a moment and you know you're actually getting somewhere. You know that, as it turns out, you might just be heading in the right direction after all and Mother's Day was a case in point.
I'm not a massive fan of these pre-ordained days of declaration. I don't need a date in my diary or to be told on when I need to tell someone I love them but hey, it's always nice to have a bit of an excuse for a celebration or just to do something different. Yet, after this year, I'll never be snotty about Mother's Day again.
My step-son chose me chocolate. Not just any chocolate but chocolate with a particular flavour he knows I love and that is the basis for one of my signature allergy-friendly bakes - salted caramel chocolate brownies. I love he chose this gift. Not a huge gift or an exuberant gift but something carefully selected and definitely linked to me. It's the little things you see...
Son had gone shopping with Grandma and had hunted down a little calligraphy set. He knows, you see, that I'm trying to master the art of the sweeping pen at the moment. He'd wrapped it himself and he'd put a lot of effort into writing lots in the card. Take that Dyslexia, you can be beaten by love every time...
Step-daughter had also plumped for chocolates (oh, how well they know me) but had accompanied her gift with a letter that made me heart swell to read it. For a reserved fifteen year old to pour out her heart without reservation and without fear of judgement was a big deal and the hug I got was also pretty special.
So, Mother's Day, you've won a reprieve. If your presence induced these three bundles of contradiction to think and do then I'll forgive you the sad and overpriced bunches of forecourt flowers and the cards filled with so much standard schmaltz that there's no room and no need for your own feelings. Instead, I shall be glad you got these three away from their ipads and ipods long enough to make a big impact with little things.
Oh, and to my dog, the Miss Marple boxset was perfect too xx