Happy Mother’s Day!
My mum’s no longer with us, so while Mother’s Day for me is often tinged with sadness, I’ve realised I can celebrate and appreciate all the women in my life who are mother-type figures – women I love and who love me.
I have a dear elderly Aunt who isn’t related to me but who has been a mother-figure all my life. She was a friend of my mum’s and once, she saved my mum’s life – when my mum needed some crucial medicine. My aunt and I are going to a pony sanctuary together this Mother’s Day weekend as she adores horses.
Then there are friends I’ve known for years – the kind that know you really well – just a word or a look – and they know what’s going on. The truth is, we mother and are mothered all the time.
There are two mother figures in my Warsaw-based novel Are My Roots Showing? and I’d say my mum’s in both these characters. There’s the protagonist Magda’s mum – who is Polish – but who has lived in Doncaster since the War. She dreams of Magda finding a Polish husband in Doncaster and suggests they go to Lidl to look out for one there. Failing that – she could put Magda in the Polish Gazette in the classified section.
My own mum suggested putting me ‘in the paper’ many a time and I can just hear her now. ‘That’s how people met after the War!’ she’d say while cooking up some Polish dish, like pierogi. I’d imagine the ad she’d put in if I let her: “Aged 39, good at most things, with child-bearing hips”.
There’s another mother-figure in the book who is Magda’s elderly Polish aunt, Aunt Basia (AB). If I’m honest, AB is the character who is really like my own mum. She’s been through a lot in the war, struggles with ill health and offers Magda nuggets of wisdom, advice and unconditional love.
The tender times I’m currently having with my elderly aunt are also a really good parallel of the relationship between Magda and AB. You don’t have to be related to someone to love them or class them as family and that describes the bond between Magda and AB.
Mum would have been proud of my book and would have no doubt seen herself in it. I hope that one day – some of the younger people I know and love now – will think of me as a mother-figure too. Maybe even my elderly aunt.
And finally how could I not included a picture of my dog – mum just adored him.