People are funny aren't they?
Kind. But often very funny.
My name is Nick, my husband is Jay and we have two children. Our son is now eight having come home to us when he was three. Our daughter, now four, came home when she was eighteen months old.
Both adopted. Not birth siblings. But they do look very alike. "The work of a good Adoption Social Worker," I say by rote in answer to that question, invariably asked when people have summoned up enough courage to do so.
Our children don't seem to blink at having two male parents. Other people don't seem to take too much notice either, or indeed notice at all.
Except for one day of the year.
The fourth Sunday in Lent, which for us in the UK, is Mothering Sunday.
The rest of the world generally celebrates Mother's Day in June. I don't know why we in Britain choose March, we just do. As, unsurprisingly, do Ireland and also perhaps more surprisingly, Nigeria.
So Mothering Sunday is a constantly moving fixture of the British Spring. This year it's early, next Sunday in fact.
Cue numerous cards depicting daffodils and tulips made by adoring children for their doe eyed mothers. For weeks ahead of the date play schools, kindergartens and school early years classes are filled with children madly gluing, pasting and colouring their cards ready for presentation on the big day.
That pressure never leaves the dutiful British child .
I had a friend when I was a teenager who invariably forgot it was Mothering Sunday. In North Devon, where I grew up, the country lanes are sunken between earth banks topped with hedges. At this time of year they abound with daffodils.
My friend would therefore get up, often slightly the worse for wear, early on the morning of Mothering Sunday. He would drive around the lanes near his parents' farm holding his arm out of the window. Grasping bunches of daffodils as he went, upon his return from this frantic drive he would present his mother with the largest bunch possible, normally wrapped in newspaper. The condition of the daffodils varied, some had short stems, some had long, quite a few still had their bulbs attached to their roots.
So against this background of Mothering Sunday hysteria, it's understandable that over the years various teachers, play school helpers and creche supervisors approach the inevitable 'for whom should we make the card' conversation with us with visible dread.
Last year, our daughter's play school teacher approached me and asked, in slightly embarrassed tones, "Mother's Day is coming up, we'll be making cards, who should we help your daughter make a card for?"
The teacher shifted uneasily from foot to foot.
"Don't worry, let her make a card for whoever she wants to, it could be Granny, or one of her aunts maybe?" I said.
The teacher looked slightly happier.
"Please don't worry, it really isn't a big deal," I reassured her.
Those are words I have found myself saying very often. "It isn't a big deal. We genuinely don't mind. Please don't worry."
The concern of those around our children to ensure they are not left out, but that equally we are not offended in any way, is I think extraordinarily thoughtful and kind. Putting them at ease becomes a concern in itself.
Approaching Mother's Day I face the dilemma. Do I wait for the children's teachers to raise the annual issue with me, or should I say something first?
If I say something, does that give the impression that actually we are concerned about it? If I say nothing I condemn them to having to raise the issue with me.
One word describes the situation. Awkward.
Believe it or not we also face similarly awkward issues when Father's Day comes around. This time of course there's no problem about to whom the children should address their card.
No, the issue in the run up to Father's Day usually consists of a concern that insufficient time or resource has been allocated to allow our children to create two Father's Day cards. Therefore, (embarrassed pause and shuffling) would it be OK if the children just made one card for the two of us?
The poor, kind, lovely professionals who look after our children. They just can't win!
© 2016 Nick King, All rights reserved.Suggest a correction