My father used to surprise me on Mother’s Day with a carnation corsage.
Can you picture a young mum (British – mum; American – mom) with three kids, rushing to get into the car to get out the driveway to church (time-sensitive, public destination with young children)?
Seat belts are buckled, after a struggle with the baby seat. Oh-oh. Middle child has a balled up sock in his boot (wistful wailing, angry punctuations). Stop everything, get out, run around the van, remove boot, fix sock situation. Get back into my seat and buckle-up.
But wait. Behind me, another crisis.
“What! You lost superman dolly?” Mum undoes her own seat-belt, runs around the car to locate the he-man dolly. Ugh! car floor has last week’s toast and peanut buttered toast crust – oh, found my favourite pen under a muddy Kleenex, some Lego (well, that’s a bonus find) … and the figurine is hiding in rubble under the passenger seat. Superman is back into your little man’s hands. “There, hang on to him please!”
More tears - Mum was too gruff!
Hug child, wipe nose (his and yours), run back into the house and get everyone a drinking box for the 20-minute road trip, restoring calm and quiet.
“Motherhood is the exquisite inconvenience of being another person’s everything.” I don’t know who said that, but it’s true, it can be a joy, and it can be taxing.
So, amid this kerfuffle, my father, a widower living in a home across the yard from us, showed up at my car just in time, with a white carnation for me. White, I suppose, because my own mum was no longer living.
I was touched. I wish Dad was still here so I could tell him how much his kindness on Mothers’ Day meant, both then and even now, as I look back on it. That little gift had a heavenly touch.
Over the years he continued to present me with a white carnation, or something pretty. And I was always surprised by that.
Now, I am reminded to pass that loving gesture on to some mum who needs it. We have a whole week to think about it. Maybe, do something special for a young mum, or for an old friend. There’s no formula. It could be flowers, a hug, a card or the spoken words “You’re doing a good job” or “I appreciate you”. For me, Sunday, May 12 is an opportunity to surprise someone.