i was forty one yesterday. my first birthday since my mother died. when my partner had our first child, i decided i’d start sending mum’s birthday card to arrive on her birthday rather than a few days later. it wasn’t a big change, but for me it was symbolic of the fact that i had worked out i owed mum quite enough (even without all the work she had put in subsequently) to merit a birthday card that got there on time.
yesterday i thought about the day 41 years ago and what she did and what the attitudes to it all were like then. flower power was surprisingly unheralded in North Shields maternity homes. she probably got on with it all in a businesslike manner and whatever they might have suggested to her, she wouldn’t have taken it lying down (as ’twere) – she didn’t do that. pit women were cut from strong cloth- even if she was the lucky one they paid to send to college and acquire ideas above her station. i don’t remember her flinching from anything in life, so i doubt she did much flinching that day either.
i would have called her and thanked her for the card and we’d both have said we didn’t have much to say and spent a while saying it. but i couldn’t this year – nor will i again. but thanks, mum – and having seen it myself, i now know exactly what i’m thanking her for.