....Mother's Day. I celebrate it with my Mum of course, with the yearly purchase of the traditional card and flowers combo, or, when I was younger, sneaking out of the house on Mothering Sunday clutching my pocket money and running round to the corner shop (these were the days when it was moderately safer than now for an eight year old to do this unaccompanied) to buy a box of Milk Tray or Roses. And don't even get me started on the fact those boxes of chocolates seemed to be much bigger back then.... And I'm still lucky enough to celebrate with my Mum each year, with my Mum in law and with my Aunt-who-has-always-been-my-other-Mum. I count myself incredibly lucky to have a lovely group of Mum figures around me. But, until almost seven years ago, one little tiny thing was missing in my life.
Well, a big baby shaped thing to be precise. A big bawling, stinking, I-want-to-be-a-Mum-so-bad-it-hurts kinda thing. When I was in my late teens and early twenties I didn't have this gap in my life. I'll be honest, I didn't really want children, they weren't on my agenda. But then I hit the grand old age of about 25 and suddenly thought it was maybe about time that I started adulting and assumed that the all too cliched process of meeting a nice guy, getting engaged, getting married, knocking out a few kids, buying a sensible family car and having a greenhouse would start its natural course and things would just fall into place.
And I absolutely managed to tick a few of those off the list. I wasn't (and still aren't) great at the adulting bit (I mean, who wants to class themselves as a "grown up" anyway? Not this girl.) I did however nail the meeting a nice guy, put a ring on it, had the big dress and then it all stopped. Or rather, the questions from the well meaning family members started.
"So, you've been married a while, babies next?"
"When will we hear the pitter patter of tiny feet then?" (A frankly ridiculous thing to say, as babies almost certainly do not pitter patter, more thump and squawk but I digress...)
"Did you not want children?"
With every question, my heart would sink a little further. And then we had to get through the constant barrage of baby announcements from friends. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing more beautiful than knowing that people you love are expecting a bundle of joy but when you haven't been blessed yet and more to the point, it isn't just a case of you haven't bothered trying, it's the very real fact that there is something wrong and maybe you will never have that moment of telling friends the happy news that you're expecting, or being able to do the modern day equivalent of posting a scan picture on Facebook or Insta and feel the warmth of the collective "likes."
There were many times I would hear the newest announcement, or hold a friends newborn and have to take time out to compose myself, to stop crying my heart out at the thought of something I may never have.
And, each Mother's Day I would think "Will I ever have a Mother's Day card?" "Will I ever be able to drop massive hints to my husband that he needs to go and buy me some flowers?" (More hints than usual in other words...)
Of course, any regular readers of this little blog of mine know the ending to this particular story. After a lot of pain, hormones, ups and downs that I never knew possible and a huge amount of middle of the night "why's?" we somehow became the proud owners of first the scan picture and then the bawling, stinking, thumping, squawking bundle of joy. In August 2011 I landed the best job ever. "Mummy."
Put simply, it's the most ridiculous job I've ever had. And, coming from someone who had to dress up as a giant dog for a holiday company and also ran a kiosk selling ice creams situated next to a Rhino lake, in total fear that they'd knock my shed down turning me and the mint chocolate Magnums into a tasty Rhino snackette, I'm telling you I have had some ridiculous jobs.
The hours, for a start, are lousy. We're talking at best 15 hour days, often though it's round the clock. I'm told as the bundles become older, this decreases and the sleep for all involved increases. The 15-18 year old models in particular have this feature. Bring. It. On.
The upkeep is pretty much never ending. These bundles really like food. If they're not taking it from you (thankfully this will only be for a short time) they will be taking it from the fridge, the cupboards or wherever you like to hide your favourite stash of treats. Nothing is sacred. You can try telling them that Mummy's Lindt chocolate is "spicy" but this will only work between the ages of 3 and 5.
Anything after that, something called "wising up to Mummy's lies" kicks in and you are effectively scuppered.
But, I have to say, the rewards these bundles kick out are pretty good. Weird things happen to even the hardest heart. You find yourself staring at them in the middle of the night and even when you feel you could drop dead from the lack of sleep you find the amount of love you have for the bundle makes your heart hurt a little, in the best way possible.
The bundles get larger and heavier. (Trust me when I say the world's strongest man knows stuff-all against a Mother carrying a bundle up the stairs whilst gripping a teddy bear between the teeth and a story book under the arm before expertly manoeuvring them into a mid sleeper bed.) (I say manoeuvring, I of course mean launching.) But, as they do get bigger, they start to back chat. In between the back chatting and them strongly believing they know far more than you ever could, they occasionally come out with possibly the best four words known to man. Or Mums at any rate. "I love you Mummy." These words can pretty much make up for anything, including finding a half eaten anything at the bottom of your handbag, felt tip on the walls or a broken brand new Clarins lipstick. (RIP my Joli Rouge....)
This Mothering Sunday, I woke up to my now six and a half year old bundle arguing with his Dad about how loud his music should be at 7.30 in the a.m and a card given to me the day before Mother's Day simply because he couldn't wait until the Sunday to give it to me.
It read "To Mummy, Happy Mother's Day. Love your best pal."
I made it. To all the women out there wishing so hard to celebrate that special day in March, I hope so much that, one day, you can. xx