Once we had established which local library was open, my mum in her usual style, had Mojo wrapped up, in her wheelchair and ‘out of my hair’ in minutes. I was left with a golden hour of alone time. My mum has been doing this since Mojo was born. Whether it was giving me time for a bath, a sleep or a battle with a DWP form she’s always been there. It helps that Mojo is such a good shopper, the two of them wander around the shops admiring and choosing. They love each other’s company.
When they turned up later with a huge pile of library books and ear to ear grins I knew it had been another successful trip.
In the library they had found the perfect book. It was about a little girl shopping with her Granny. Shopping for a present for Mummy. It was one of those occasions when a book reaches out to Mojo and she had the story/signing verbaitum within one or two reads. Now I must warn you that in detailing this story there will be significant spoilers for the gorgeous story ‘A Present From Lulu’ by Caroline Uff.
It’s a beautiful picture book with big print writing. It opens with Lulu shopping with her Granny, thinking about what her Mummy might like as a present.
Now ‘thinking’ is something we do a lot of in this house. We think before we make choices. When the act of pointing takes the kind of effort that the average person would have to expend to, lets say, run up a flight of stairs, thinking carefully is an important mechanism to make sure we know what we want to say, or choose, is the right thing! Mojo and her sister both do the same thinking sign, finger to the mouth, hmmmm, classic thinking posture. They have learnt it from me and their doing it has exaggerated my own use of it. It doesn’t speak well of my parenting, or my waistline, that frequently my youngest points at the biscuit cupboard and does the ‘thinking’ gesture. (It doesn’t speak well that we have an entire biscuit cupboard but I digress).
As the book continues, Lulu and Granny explore the shops ruling out various options, cuddly toys, books, chocolates, sugar mice, smelly candles, floaty scarves and sunglasses. Finally Lulu finds a sparkly necklace which is ‘perfect’. The book ends with Lulu giving her Mummy the necklace.
During the few days that my mum was here the two of them read that book so many times with Mojo anticipating each page, each prospective gift, with total joy.
A few days later there was much whispering and giddiness before the two of them embarked on another shopping expedition. This time they returned with a brown paper bag which was handed to me with tremendous pride.
My mum had taken Mojo to a shop which sells candles, scarves, chocolates, cuddly toys and sparkly necklaces. They had brought the story to life. Inside the brown bag was an organza bag with a tissue paper parcel inside.
Over a glass of wine later that night mum explained how she had lifted each tray of necklaces down to Mojo’s height so she could pick one. She chose mine from the first tray and while she looked intently at each following tray she went back every time to the first one with the long gold necklace and blue sparkles. That was the one for me.
When my mum took her to the shop she didn’t do it for me. She did it for Mojo. She didn’t even do it alone it was completely conspiratorial. They did it. Together. For me.
It’s present that means so much more than the gift itself.
When I write a Mother’s Day card to my mum I find myself thanking her for the train fares and the babysitting, the housekeeping help and the all encompassing ‘everything’.
In our case I think that everything covers a little bit more than the physical helping and the emotional support. It covers being the foundations underneath my own mother/daughter set up.
Mojo can’t use words to tell me she loves me she uses signs and looks and carefully thought through actions and I know, I feel it.
I can and regularly do, say ‘Thank You’ and ‘I love you’ and I write cards and buy presents but I still find I can’t articulate how deep that gratitude is. So like my own daughter I will just try to use actions and signs and maybe blogs to try and express my gratitude and my love.
Happy Mother’s Day.