There is no one ‘type’ of mother. There are the mother’s who get to experience the joy of watching their children grow up. There are the mother’s who must continue in this world with nothing but a memory and a broken heart. There are the mother’s who love children not born to them as their own and there are women who would give anything to be mother’s. We all love. We all cry. We all yearn.
We are all different.
I find myself somewhere on the outer cirlces of who I am as a mother. I am one of the lucky ones as I have Ieuan. Yet, I am unlucky as my daughter is not here with me. I am blessed and grieving all at the same time.
For these reasons, I’ve been dreading mother’s day for a while now. I am so very thankful to have my son. Beyond thankful. But how could I celebrate Mother’s Day when Evalyn’s not here with us?
“Let’s go away somewhere for the day?” I asked Nick, “I don’t care where. Let’s just get away.”
Of all the places, we decided to go to a theme park. I jumped eagerly at Nick’s suggestion – how less ‘Mother’s Day’ could you get? Plus Ieuan would love going on the rides! Perfect!
The first hour before we left the house wasn’t easy. I woke up and my first thought was of Evalyn and of how we’d be celebrating the day if she was here with us. I looked at Nick and I knew he was thinking the same thing. I reached across the bed for him and we both let the tears fall silently. We didn’t need to explain our thoughts to eachother.
Then we heard the pattering of Ieuan’s feet walking across the landing to our room.
“HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!” he exclaimed as he barged into the room, “I made you a card! Look!!”
It turns out that he had been making mother’s day cards at school and had hidden his masterpiece in his bedroom cupboard until the big day itself (which is also quite impressive for a four-year-old as secrets are usually spilled as often as the mik on their cereal). It was a beautiful card. He’d used his hands and fingers to paint flowers and had written his name inside in his best handwriting.
As I looked down at his little face all expectant for praise, I felt a lump in my throat. It was perhaps a little selfish of me to want to ignore Mother’s Day completely. I may not have felt like acknowledging a day that reminded me so much of losing Evalyn, but I am Ieuan and Evalyn’s mummy . . . . and Ieuan wanted more than anything to acknowledge that fact. To him, Mother’s Day may as well have been my birthday. And birthday’s were meant to be full of fun. . . . .
So, we went to the theme park . . . .
We went on rollercoasters and log flume rides. We went on rides that dropped you from the air and rides that swung you from side to side. Ieuan laughed and excitedly squealed his way through all of them and I realised that a day that I had been dreading for a long time was actually turning out better than I thought.
I thought that I would have to pretend to be happy for Ieuan’s sake. But if anything, Ieuan unknowingly spent the whole day reminding me about the good parts of being a mother. He reminded me about the good parts about myself. I can smile. I can laugh. I’m stronger than I think I am, even some days it’s hard to believe.
That evening when Ieuan was tucked up in bed, my mind drifted to Evalyn. It’s surreal sometimes to think that she’s not here as she’s changing each of us more than we ever thought possible. We’re a stronger family unit. We take time for eachother and plan our weekends around being together and going on adventures. Nick’s started to go running in order to take part in The Great South Run in October to raise money for SANDS. And I’ve started to do my photography again – something I have always wanted to go back to but ‘never had the time’. In not being here, as much as it hurts, Evalyn has given me the time to focus on my own goals. And I’m determined to reach them for her and make her proud . . . .
And I am a better mother to Ieuan. Evalyn has made me a better mother. It becomes so easy to get fixated on ‘house jobs’ and to answer Ieuan’s questions with an “in a minute,” or “just give me a moment and I’ll be there.” But to be honest, none of those things matter. What matters is appreciating what you do have. And I have Nick. I have Ieuan. I have the memories of Evalyn and the love I feel for her. . . that love never fades away.
And I’m so very greatful for that.