It’s Mother’s Day in the States, but not, it turns out, in England. They had theirs about a month ago. It’s called Mothering Sunday and always falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent.
My mother was very dismissive of what she called, “another Hallmark holiday.” “Every day should be mother’s day,” she’d remark with a sniff, and I must say I agree with her. Whenever I noted the day with a call or a visit or a flower delivery, we’d have the exact same conversation and it became our own kind of Mother’s Day ritual.
So, on this Mother’s Day, I’ll just list the bits and pieces of my mother that I brought with me on this tour of the places she lived in England.
-a pale blue satin nightgown that Zuni, her faithful Paraguayan caregiver, urged me to take when we were clearing out her house. It’s become one of my favorites.
-the two gold link bracelets with the initials of each of her fifteen grandchildren and the four great-grandchildren that were alive when she died. I’ve worn them ever since her death 19 months ago.
-the last bottle of her favorite perfume
-and finally the pink cotton shoe bags, that travelled with her to Poles Convent School in April, 1939 and stayed with her the rest of her life. She always took them when she went on trips. I remember them most recently when I helped her pack for our trip to the island of Guernsey in 2004 to visit Bee, her oldest and dearest friend.
“Where did you get these, Mummy?” I asked as I slipped her black flats into the two worn, but still serviceable, shoe bags.
“The dressmaker in Gibraltar made them for me when I left for Poles. She made all my clothes. And of course, the initials are hand embroidered. ”
PBH for Patricia Barnard Hankey.