Happy Mothers’ Day.
Flowers, cards, chocolates. You can’t miss the fact that today is the one day in the year where everything conspires to make us focus on our mothers. Not that this is a bad thing in itself. Speaking as a mother and the mother of a mother, I think it’s great that today, traditionally, our children show us how much we are appreciated.
That’s fine, if you have a good relationship with your mother. I’m very fortunate because I do and as the years have gone by my respect and admiration for Mum has grown, particularly now that I have been helping her put together her memoir. Deported from her home city of Lvov by the Russians in 1941 she lost not only her home and her country but also her beloved father. To go through all this and still be able talk about how lucky she, her brother and her mother were is nothing short of amazing.
Part of this is due to the way she made the best of what she had. When WW2 broke out she was about to start a degree in medicine. Her ambition was to be a paediatrician, but she never completed her studies. Instead, when her children were old enough, she applied for a course at Bristol University and qualified as a child care officer. So, as she says in her memoir, she did end up working with and for children.
This is only part of her story, but it gives a snap-shot of her resilience and grit. This is to be seen to in the way she adapted to living in a new country, with a new language and bringing her three children up in what was a very different culture.
I am very grateful to my mum, who always had our best interests at heart. That is not, sadly, true for everyone. Some daughters have a much more troubled relationship with their mothers and I must admit that this is a dynamic that, as a writer, fascinates me.
It can have sad, or even tragic consequences, but there are some daughters that can deal with less than adequate mothers.
Letty Parker, being one of them. To quote from “Bridge of Lies” her second adventure,
“Luckily her own ma was too busy with her career as The Bristol Nightingale to bother. Letty suspected that Bella de Vere often forgot she even had a daughter, which was better than being fussed over, cosseted and kept so safe that you never had a life of your own.”
Not the sort of mothering I had. Mum is always supportive of everything we do, from attending my sister’s exhibitions, to reading my books. She’s not an uncritical reader and it means so much to me that she is one of Letty’s greatest fans and it was her gentle prompting about when the next book was coming out, that spurred me on to write “Bridge of Lies”.