It’s coming. Every single year it’s sneaking up on me and then it’s suddenly here. Mother’s Day. (Oh alright, even I can’t help noticing it’s about to happen again with all the ads for flowers and everything possible and impossible in heart shapes left over from Valentine’s Day). And images start flashing through my mind … like me giving baking a try in the form of a Swiss roll with apricot jam as a young girl or presenting my Mum with a flower-style bunch of cooking spoons in various colours. Or making hand-painted cards, gift certificates, buying flowers together with my father at the florist, preparing Sunday breakfast in bed for her (which actually was not anything special because we often did that for Mum; it was just the way my father was …)
Basically, my Mum was not all that into Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. It was more important to her that we thought of her and did something nice occasionally all through the year instead of just once or twice on those particular days. And we did. I remember my father buying a single rose or orchid on his way home from work, hiding messages for her to find, sending post cards from his business trips and he always brought home little gifts for all of us from all over the world. I remember how often we prepared supper to have in the dining room instead of the kitchen, with cheese and cold cuts nicely spread out on fine china and decorated with carved radishes, tomatoes and pickles. Or preparing a hot bath for Mum to enjoy. And cooking … that was always Dad’s job on weekends. And still, Mother’s Day was Mother’s Day …
Being very close to my mother’s sister and my Aunt Do who had been in my life as long as I can think of – actually, she had already been in my father’s life from his childhood years on – and was not a relative of the usual kind, but a relative of the heart, I realized that Mother’s Day doesn’t just have to be about mothers but about the women in our lives we love. Both of them childless, I was their child as well and they surrogate mothers to me. How lucky I was to have them close during my university days, living in the same town as most of my relatives. It was Aunt Do and me who came up with the “Aunt’s Day”. And we always spent it together with my mother’s sister, my uncle and grandmother.
Everything has changed, of course. My Mum is gone. Has been for the past five years. So are my Aunt Do, my grandmother, my uncle. But I still have my mother’s sister, who has become everything to me. Even though she is far away back in Austria. And like every year I will talk to her on “Mother’s/Aunt’s Day” and send a surprise to her. Which … in the tradition of my family … I do in between as well. The latest mystery novel from authors she likes, a little something for her holidays, etc.
Mothers (and fathers, by the way) are not the only ones deserving a day to be spoiled. Everyone deserves a day like this. Those people who are there for you, always, at least deserve a “Thank you” once in a while.
So, happy “Mother’s, Aunt’s, Friend’s Day”! Thank you!