The Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her daughter, known to me (and thus to you all) as Hazel Bagel, decide to stop on our walk along the prom (prom, prom) to take a selfie. They are a little way ahead of the rest
of us as we have had to stop occasionally to (i) persuade The Rascal that, yes, he does need to wear his helmet if he intends to scoot; (ii) read the inscriptions on the several benches adorned with flowers and cards in memory of gone-but-not-forgotten mothers;
or (iii) lift Lilia and / or Tala onto the sea wall so they can perfect their Twinkletoes balancing act.
What a good idea it would be, my daughter and her daughter think, to take their selfie while capturing
the rest of us in the background! They pose accordingly, gesturing behind them to the rearguard to smile appropriately as the camera clicks. It is only when they come to view the photo that they realise they have captured a party of complete strangers in the
background, all looking somewhat bemused at being invited to be part of this Great Photographic Moment. Yes, the rest of us are trailing way behind, engaged in one of activities (i) to (iii) above.
you call a gathering of four mothers, six off-spring (aged between 2 and 19) and a Grandad thrown in (metaphorically speaking, I hasten to add) for good measure? A Mothering Funday, that's what. The Darling Daughters are insistent that I am to provide nothing
bar the venue at Our House. The Middle of the Darling Daughters has prepared a chilli; her younger sister is bringing rice, crème fraîche and Doritos; the Eldest of the Darling Daughters is on Pudding Patrol. As meals go, it is quite Perfectly
Planned. Also exceedingly well-planned is the ratio of Older Grandchildren to Younger Grandchildren - three of each - meaning the Rascal and The Twinkles will have one to one attention in the event of any Rampaging. This does not, you will be pleased to hear,
prevent we adults from undertaking pleasurable tasks such as organising the traditional Potato and Spoon Race and giving cuddles whenever required.
There is always a lingering sadness, even as I accept
my beautiful flowers and open my thoughtful cards, that I no longer have a Mum to spoil on Mothering Sunday. In WH Smith, the other day, I bought my daughter, as a jokey extra birthday present, the book "Five Forget Mother's Day." Why didn't I take advantage
of the special offer, the sweet sales assistant suggested. She could take £3 off the price of the book if I bought a Mother's Day card? How to respond, without sounding pitiful? But, oh dear, WH Smith, did it never occur to you that your "special offer"
would be so hurtfully discriminatory against those who don't have a mother alive to buy a card for - but wish so much that they did?
The Darling Daughters say I should have bought a card and sent it to one
of them, in order for that daughter to send it back to me. That way I could have chosen my own card and saved £3 into the bargain. I have definitely brought my daughters up to be Practical in Any Given Circumstance.
The sun shines, the daffodils dance in the borders, we eat, drink and are exceedingly merry. So laid-back are we that nobody utters even the mildest of protests when the Rascal and The Twinkles discover the Delights of Gardening, particularly those
which are Water Butt Related. Watering cans, plant pots, old Sainsbury's shopping baskets, all are put to good use. Monty Don, you would have been proud of Our Trio as they set about their self-imposed task of emptying the water butt while liberally watering
both the garden and the patio - not to mention themselves, like tender plants in need of sustenance. The Gardening Game only ends when we grab a child each, remove every item of muddy clothing and introduce the Trio to the bath. Where, inevitably, they carry
on where they left off, washing the bathroom floor as if lives depend on it.
Later, when everyone has departed for their own homes, My Boy telephones to wish me a happy day. He has spent the afternoon
cooking up a special Mother's Day dinner for the Darling Daughter in Law (mother of the Not So Very Little Welsh Boys) and her mother. And I think to myself that, as he couldn't be with me in person, then I'm so glad he spent his time ensuring that not just
one, but two, Special Mums had a great day.
Perhaps, young as I was when I became a mother, I did something right. I mean, they've all turned out to be such loving, caring people - a son and daughters of whom
I am very, very proud.
It is, of course, perfectly possible that they turned out that way despite me...