All for a bunch of DaffodilsMarch 12, 2016
I saw them selling daffodils, huddled behind a bucket of posies, out in the gathering dusk on the Saturday evening. The yellow heads bobbed their strangely distinctive shapes, flooding my memory with images of Mothering Sunday. “Buy me some daffodils” I murmured, buy me some daffodils for tomorrow is mothers day. It wasn’t, I was a week early, it didn’t matter, nobody celebrates it here anyway. It was my right of passage though, it was my honour to be honoured, it was something I’d delighted in as a child, squirmed over as a teen, endured as a childless adult. I stopped the party and had them buy me daffodils.
Part of the joys of living in a different country is getting to share in their celebrations, but part of the sorrow is sometimes needing to let go of your own. We have a wonderful opportunity as parents to chose which celebrations we will encourage our child to join in with, which celebrations our foreign status will allow us to downplay and which we will ‘import’ with us. This chance to really asses the events you have always taken as given is a great eye opener.
For the first few years I imported the delight of bonfire night. I told the story of a failed explosion and watched the murky autumn air fill with vivid colour. It was a physical marker of autumn for me that I had adored, but as time passes I’m less eager to continue. As time passes the defence for keeping a tradition can easily erode. Easter and Christmas traditions stand firmer in my head, but Mothering Sunday simply wasn’t on the radar until recently. Locally March 8th (International Women’s day) is like valentines and mothers day rolled into one. This year the real date for mothering Sunday was only 2 days different, I foresee this celebration being one I need to let go.
If I’m totally honest with myself part of me is glad. While the celebration is a great thing it’s not without it’s bitterness. I’ve stood amongst the barren and bereaved, I’ve held the hands of those who never found a partner and seen the uncomfortable hesitation on faces that don’t know if they should be giving flowers. I’ve seen the faces of youngsters vie over their better gifts and mothers boast over receiving them. Yes it’s their honour, yes it’s their pride, but pride goes both ways. If I’m totally honest with myself I’d prefer tulips or roses but I suppose that’s besides the point!