This morning, Joy brought me this:
Which soon turned into this:
That’s my lovely girl for you. (My lovely boy is in London.)
I was thinking, as I hung the bird-heart in the porch, that it’s been eighteen years since I was wandering Wimbledon with my growing bump, alive with anticipation and wondering whether I would be able to do mothering.
Yesterday, I wandered Windsor with my lovely friend Emily and found I was doing much the same thing. For all that my children are almost done growing, physically at least, and won’t be my responsibility for much longer, technically at least, I still find myself wondering about the next challenges. Ned is planning to spend 6 weeks in Canada later this year, four of them On His Own. That’s a big challenge for a mother. (On the plus side, he will need a lot of knitted items.) So is watching Joy make choices about A’Levels and straddling that tricky space between advice and interference.
But then again: when I take my Mum her Mothering Sunday things later, I’ll be asking for her advice about things, and remembering a conversation we had the other day about how my job might be to look after my children but hers is still to look after me.
It never stops. I often try to explain this to friends who watch, part pride and part rue, as their babies learn to walk and talk and feed themselves. ‘Not my baby any more,’ they wail, but they are. They are, and they will be, and that’s the real joy of Mothering Sunday, and the real challenge and thrill of being a mother.