We have never really celebrated Mothers Day in my family. It's a bit of a "Clinton Cards" event - in other words, it seems to have mushroomed in recent years because of the cards and gifts retailers' efforts to push their sales. And my Mum, having somewhat of a stubborn streak, has always quietly insisted on NOT marking any events that are rooted in Christian celebrations, as we have enough Jewish festivals of our own.
This year is no different. There have been a few modest cards, and that's it. Nonetheless it gives me an opportunity to be overt about the love I have for my wonderful, awe inspiring, fabulous, amazing, generous, kind, intelligent, loving mother. Hopefully I will have many more opportunities, but with my situation I just can't be sure.
Let me tell you a little bit about my mum. She was an only child of very hard working, first generation English parents. She was a quiet child, chubby in youth, very intelligent. She was from a very sheltered background, yet her amazing brain sent her to university aged only 17 to study French and Latin. Her degree included a year living in Paris - almost unheard of amongst her cohort. After university she secured a job as an account manager in a big advertising agency - again, very unusual. She met my dad at a family wedding at the tender age of 23 and they were engaged within 6 weeks and married a year later. She moved to work in the family business (my grandparents owned two clothing shops) and when I was born she became a stay at home mum.
I could not have had a better mother. I know a lot of people say this, but in my case it really is true. It should be clear how brainy she is and how she wasn't afraid to step outside her comfort zone even at a young age. And yet she was happy to put raising my brother and me (and looking after Dad and our home) above everything else. As a mother of young children, she was selfless, energetic, kind, fair, even tempered and gave us clear boundaries. And above all, she was loving and self effacing. Nothing we wanted or needed was too much trouble. We grew up safe and secure in her love.
It is perhaps only since becoming a mother myself that I have truly realised what an amazing person my mother is and what a great example she has always set me. She is still entirely selfless - to a fault, perhaps - as well as kind, generous and extremely loving. Having been treated for breast cancer herself five years ago, she knows and understands a lot of what I am going through. Her practical and outwardly unemotional approach to her own disease has set me a wonderful example. She continues to inspire me. I hate so much that I am the source of sadness and anxiety for her because of my own battle. The desire to remove that worry makes me even more determined to vanquish Genghis.
Happy Mothers Day, Mum. I love you xxxxxxx