Every year she tells us not to make a fuss on Mother’s Day. It’s commercialised nonsense she says. But, just as we can count on her self-deprecating speech, we can just as much depend on her toothy grin when we present her with that year’s ingenious gift. It only seems fair to dedicate a day entirely to her given that Christmas is a family affair and my younger sister conveniently usurped her birthday many moons ago.
It often falls on my shoulders to find a present that will ‘out do’ the year before as I have unofficially been christened as the ‘creative one’ of the Phillips clan, whilst my sister takes charge of practical logistics as the designated ‘science brain.’ I’d like to think our gift giving has improved since the days when my good-intentioned father would let us loose on the Argos catalogue. We’d leave our local store clutching brash ‘Best Mum’ necklaces and enigmatic dolphin clocks. I’d bet good money on that necklace being hidden away from the light of day in the deepest depths of my mother’s jewellery box and on that clock still sitting on a dusty charity shop shelf.
This year in honour of her newfound Grey’s Anatomy addiction I purchased a themed top with ‘Team McDreamy’ emblazoned across the front, a boxed selection of pink sweets, some flowers and we spent the day at the seaside in Saundersfoot. She really seemed to appreciate the top and was expectedly enamoured by the assortment of her favourite treats, which included Haribo eggs and Percy Pigs.
We couldn’t have picked a more glorious day for our day at the West Wales seaside. And neither could the rest of Wales. Minus navigating the mind-numbing traffic to our destination, the afternoon was very enjoyable. We walked along the seafront admiring all of the enviable homes with sea views, ambling around the local trinket shops, smelling the candles, laughing at the original plaque quotes and taking a walk down memory lane by buying confectionary from an old-fashioned sweet shop.
The only glitch of the day appeared when the lady sitting to my right in the coffee shop we’d chosen for lunch ordered the last halloumi salad. It looked utterly delectable, and I was taunted by its sweet aroma as I made do with a savoury scone. They’re just not the same without a hearty dollop of clotted cream. Nonetheless, the balance was restored as we stopped off at Joe’s where I enjoyed Welsh cake flavoured ice cream.
Days out like these and little gestures can only ever be tokenistic in comparison to all that my mother has already done for me. From day one I brought drama, having been born three months prematurely and spending a few months more in the neonatal intensive care unit. Then came the night terrors, the blaring signs of anxiety, teenage troubles and illnesses. I’m sure if I was in her shoes I’d have given me back to the stork or sent me away to the circus.
Instead, she was patient, caring, compassionate and forever in my corner – sometimes my only advocate. But despite all of the trials and tribulations, she has never lost her infectious laugh, her demonstrative Tina Turner and Celine Dion impressions or her ability to put things into perspective with a cup of tea and prolonged hug.
There really is something magical about mothers and I am so lucky to have won the luck of the draw by being given mine. She deserves so much more than a generic necklace and a fishy eyesore. She deserves to duet with the power ballad queens and to be wined and dined by TV’s most dishy neurosurgeons.
I am forever in my mother’s debt for teaching me that kindness will always be in fashion, that education is vitally important and that you can only ever do your best. But most importantly, that a sweep fringe and smocks really don’t suit me.