10 May 2020

3MM: Michele A'Court on Mother's Day

From Sunday Morning, 9:39 am on 10 May 2020

Three minutes max, succinct opinions from New Zealanders on topics of their choice. Here's one of our most beloved comedians, Michele A'Court with her thoughts on Mother's Day.

silhouette of mother and daughter holding hands in sunset nature

Photo: 123rf.com

"My great-grandmother famously disapproved of Mother's Day. Born in 1873, she was a captain in the Salvation Army and by all accounts, a feminist socialist with a warm heart and firm principles.

"Great-grandma said if you needed to set aside one day a year to celebrate your mother, you weren't doing it right.

"Mothers were for treasuring every day, she said. And indeed, she was much adored. In her later years before she moved in with her eldest daughter Ruth, her son-in-law Frank would drive to her house each evening with great-grandma's share of their dinner, carefully plated and placed in a basket on top of a hot water bottle to keep it warm.

"But although we were discouraged from buying into the Hallmark consumerism, it has been our family tradition to turn the dial up a little to celebrate motherhood on mother's day.

"Home-made cards, breakfast in bed, maybe something a bit daft from the two dollar shop. And all of us gathering together, at least three and more recently, four generations of us together under one roof.

"This Mother's Day under lockdown will look very different. It is the first one since my mother died, and while I know she would heartily disagree with me getting maudlin, I know that grief bypasses rational thought, so I expect to be bowled over by a wave of it at some point during the day.

"Like lots of us, my daughter and grandchildren's bubble is too far away for us to be with each other, so I won't get to sniff their heads.

"Instead, we will Zoom, which can be tremendous fun when my six-year-old granddaughter grabs the iPad and runs with it out into the garden, giggling at her own wickedness. Or when my two-year-old grandson smothers the screen in wet kisses.

"The madness of lockdown also means that I've tidied out some drawers and rediscovered some old handmade Mother's Day cards my daughter created over the years. I've taken pictures of them to send to her, to remind her of her lifetime of fabulous handcraft skills.

"This is a shout-out to anyone who might find Mother's Day a little tricky this year. People who can't be with their mothers for whatever reason, people who aren't mothers but wish they were. People for whom days like this might remind them of what is missing rather than what is there.

"I hope instead we can celebrate the mothering we all do. Looking out for each other, making each other feel loved and safe. Checking in, staying in touch, doing the metaphorical equivalent of plating up a dinner and delivering it in a basket with a hot water bottle to keep it warm.

"And then remembering that, like great-grandma said, we do that every day, not just once a year."