Mothering Sunday - early in the morning and I am down on Worthing beach with two Darling Daughters and a Rascally Trio. It strikes me that there is no better place to be than by the sea, which is shimmering silver in the
sunshine. Tala (elder of the Twins by one important minute) is a little upset that, due to the early nature of their trip down to see me, she was unable to make her mother breakfast in bed. It was going to be a toasted bagel, she tells me, in confidence. It
is, and always will be, I assure her, the Thought That Counts where Mothering Sunday is concerned.
We line up for breakfast at the Sea Lane Café kiosk and
hold up the rest of the queue (which is lengthening by the minute behind us) as Faris comes to terms with the fact that they are not serving chips at this time in the morning. He isn’t totally appeased by my promise of chips for lunch….
At the water’s edge, while Faris and Tala search the rock pools for crabs and Lilia (younger of the Twins by one important minute) stretches out on the beach to catch
the sun, I decide to create a memento of the morning by spelling out the words MOTHERING SUNDAY in stones. I have barely completed the M of Mothering when the Youngest of the Darling Daughters protests that I have, as usual, bitten off more than I can chew.She
reminds me that our time on the beach is limited by my need to get back to Mr B by 11.30 a.m. to enable Sarah The Carer to get back to her own family. Maybe a simple MD would suffice, she suggests? We settle on MD, with the date, 2022, underneath it - and
Faris arrives to help me out. “If you build it, they will come,” I tell myself - if I had carried on with my original plan, possibly all three Rascals would have turned up to help? Or - possibly - not, I admit to myself…
I have a surprise at home, I tell them. It is for everybody but will hold special significance for the grown-ups. I have made a pudding to remind them of their childhood. Strange,
isn’t it, how so many of us will conjure up a particular pudding when thinking of their mothers? My dear mum (whom I’m missing more than ever today) used to make the most amazingly light, sweetly delicious syrup puddings. Every day we had two puddings,
one of which was always - but always - rice pudding. Because we had it every day, my brothers, Little Sister and I called it 365.
The Youngest of the Darling
Daughters only needs two guesses - my “special” pudding is banana-flavoured Angel Delight on a biscuit base, sprinkled with chocolate flake. It is, I have to tell you, as successful today as it was all those years ago. My daughters had second helpings
without being asked…
I don’t know how she does it but every time we come down to the beach Tala manages to find a painted stone - and today is no
exception. How does she manage it, I marvel? We look at her latest find which brings a lump to my throat. On one side the name - Skye - and dates which show the unknown Skye was just nineteen when she died. On the other side, among hearts and stars, the inscription
Mothering Sunday is always a poignant day for those who have lost their mothers, as well as for mothers who have lost their
children or not so far had the chance to hold a little one in their arms. I weep inside for Skye’s mother, painting that pebble so beautifully and placing it on the beach for others to find and ponder on. I will be looking up at the sky full of stars
tonight and remembering that motherhood is not earned, not somehow deserved, certainly not a right. I know I am one of the Lucky Ones.
For the fortunate
ones like me, Mothering Sunday is a delight ideally shared with your best beloved - near or far.
Like, well, Angel Delight…