Today I failed in my challenge. I was supposed to drive 3 hours to Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. To run a half marathon (and then drive 3 hours back). On Mothering Sunday. On the morning the clocks go forward. But I didn’t do it. I stayed in bed. Because I spent the past 3 days picking the used tissues of my eldest child up off the floor. By 9 o’clock last night I had my own impressive used tissue mountain. Sneezing, coughing, streaming nose, basic misery. No run for me.
But isn’t that what Mother’s Day celebrates....the picking up of used tissues and the bandaging of wounds, the watching of matches, plays, concerts, speech competitions, poetry recitations, science projects, assemblies, to say nothing of the laundry, meals, driving...ok, boring myself, so will stop. Now don’t get me wrong, I rank Mother’s Day right up there with New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. Days when ones expectation level cannot actually be low enough....so over the years I have taken it upon myself to plan my own days. This year was going to be a run, alone, ridiculously far away, but then the duties of motherhood trumped me. I admire the irony.
So what is a mother to do? I sleep in and enjoy three cards and two lovingly handmade gifts (thank goodness for art teachers!). And I plan a different perfect day. I leave typhoid mary and the cripples plus the extra boy at home and Kat and I head out. But not before I read an article on the history of Mother’s Day. I knew the UK “Mothering Sunday” had some religious origin, but assumed the rest of the world had been press-ganged into an American Hallmark event. But I am wrong. For the US, the day is a result of campaigning on behalf of organizations of mothers who had lost sons in the US Civil War. In Britain, Mothering Sunday may refer to a medieval tradition of attending the “mother” church of ones area on the 4th Sunday of Lent. So with that in mind, I decide St. Paul’s it must be. With a lengthy detour on the SouthBank. Perhaps my favourite place in all of London.
What is on the SouthBank today???
Sunshine, skateboarders, dancers, free runners, crazy organs, famous landmarks and public art. We buy books at Foyles. We eat Mexican street food and churros. We dash into the Tate.....and then realize the time and run, run across Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s. We are greeted like royalty and shown to seats of our choice....for Evensong. Beautiful music. Sermon by fav Canon on Righteous Impatience. Whiffy homeless woman snoring in chair in front. Perfection. So no challenge, no challenge at all.