“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.”
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
When I was a young girl, a wise maiden aunt – my Great-Aunt Gwendolyn, told me how important it was to do nice things for oneself.
Although in poor health, and often taking meals on a tray at her bedside, this elderly woman still regularly made an effort to enjoy a more formal meal, although she was the only one dining. Once a week the table would be set with the good china, she would dress for dinner, and then she would dine on her own.
‘Why?’ I asked her. ‘Why would you go to so much trouble?’
‘Wouldn’t you do that if a special friend were coming?’ she said. ‘Don’t you make an effort for others?’
‘Of course,’ I said.
‘Well,’ the old lady said, looking down her long aquiline nose and fixing me with her steely gaze, ‘why should you be any less worthy of such treatment?’
Aunt Gwen’s long since passed, but her advice is especially valuable today – Mother’s Day.
Mothers are usually hallmarked for their sacrifice to others; their children, their parents and grandparents, their communities. They often don’t take time for themselves.
Mother’s Day is also a difficult day for the many people who come from fractured or dysfunctional families, who have lost parents or children, or who have never been able to become parents themselves.
While many people will be gathering for a meal with their loved ones today, or being served breakfast in bed by their children, there is also a group of people for whom that can’t be possible.
For those of you who identify with that group, I want you to know that it is entirely possible to celebrate or commemorate Mother’s Day without parents or children being present. You don’t have to be a mother. You don’t even need to be a woman. Mother’s Day can become a gift you give yourself.
Today is a day where you can acknowledge your mothers, grandmothers and the women of your line.
Today is a day where you can acknowledge those people who have played a mothering role in your life – in mine that includes my husband, my dog Nurse Bert, and various friends and neighbours who have done everything from soup-making and care-taking me when I am ill, to tough-love talks and gentle guidance.
Finally, today is a day where you can acknowledge your own mothering journey – for the role you play in mothering others. For the role you play in mothering yourself.
Me? Right now I’m alone in the city with Harry the Cafe Dog. For my own personal Mother’s Day celebration I have set the table with my favourite rose-patterned china, a candle and some fresh flowers.
I’ve designed myself a simple and delicious lunch menu: Warm Salad of Baby Vegetables with Crispy Bacon, Pistachios and Feta Cheese, followed by Baked Persimmon with Honey Cream and gluten-free Almond Bread . (Of course there shall be extra bacon for Harry.) To finish I’ll enjoy a pot of good tea, and a square or two of rich dark chocolate while I curl up on the couch with a good book.
I know Aunt Gwen will approve, and I’m sure she’ll be smiling down upon me, or sitting at one of the empty chairs at my table.
Wherever you are today, and whatever you’re doing, I’m sending you love and warm wishes. Be kind to yourself today, and always. Nicole <3 xx