Today is Mother’s Day in Ireland. I have been blessed with a wonderful mother – not wonderful in many of the traditional measures of motherhood, but wonderful in ways that I have really only been able to appreciate, or possibly just accept, in my own middle years.
I have spent time for so many Mother’s Days past hovering in the aisles, looking for just the right card to send; the “Best Mum Ever”, “Thanks for Always Being There For Me” genre never seemed to fit. I had to navigate the soppy prose to find one that simply said, “I Love You, Mum”, and indeed there were years when even that seemed disingenuous.
You were a wild thing, Mum. You had dreams you had no right to and the audacity to pursue them, even if that sometimes meant your own children were left in your dust. The circumstances of your own childhood left you ill prepared to mother, and the chemistry of your brain routinely spun your perspective from that of a sewing, baking, dinner party throwing super-woman to that of wild animal clawing at its cage.
You were my hero and my nightmare; the glamorous creature I trembled to call mother, and the person locked in the bedroom for weeks on end. But you are my wonderful mother. If not with responsibility, you have loved with ferocity. You loved as you were best equipped to love. The gaps in that love allowed for the arrival of my other mothers – those beloved women who nutured me when you were unable to. I am grateful for them as I am grateful for you. You are the writer, the artist, the intelligent, creative and humorous soul that I am so connected to.
So, I send you a card that I won’t find on a shelf. It reads, “Mum, it hasn’t always been great; there’s been wild laughter and high adventure, there’s been darkness and scars, but I know that you have loved me, that you continue to love me, in the most profound way that you can. If I had to do it over, even with (or maybe, especially with) the benefit of hindsight, I would still choose you as my mother. I love you. Entirely.”