Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

So, did I enjoy a nice relaxing Mothering Sunday? My eye

My son bought me a precious casket of ocular unguent for Mother's Day.

I've decided to call it that, as it sounds far more exotic and a lot more appealing than a jar of eye wrinkle cream. Now I can pretend I'm the Queen of Sheba or Cleopatra as I slather it on before bedtime and fall asleep content in the knowledge that I will look and feel as fresh and radiant as they were in the morning ... instead of the overwrought, underwhelmed, rapidly-ageing has-been that I usually see in the bathroom mirror.

Although there's never going to be a good time to buy the person you love an anti-ageing product, when I thought about it, this was actually a very sweet gesture. It proved at the very least that he had looked close enough to notice my emerging crow’s feet and had frowned upon my frown lines. Also (and no mean feat) he must have been concerned enough to go into a pharmacy, search the cosmetics counter for the right remedy and then take it to the overly made-up orange-tinted assistant at the till — a venture that would strike dread into the soul of most teenage boys who aren't gay.

As far as ‘it’s the thought that counts’ goes, I'd rather have that than a bunch of artificially-dyed chrysanthemums wrapped in pink cellophane, still dripping wet from its plastic bucket at the petrol station.

So, yes, all in all I was quite happy with my remedial Mother's Day gift.

It was delivered to me on a tray with a cup of coffee, along with a box of Ferrero Rocher sent by my other son, on Sunday morning as I enjoyed my weekly lie-in.

When I finally emerged downstairs and groaned at the state of the kitchen, he said: “Look, Mum, don't even think about doing the washing up today! It's Mother's Day for goodness sake ...”

“Aww, how lovely,” I almost thought, until he finished the sentence: “Leave it until tomorrow instead!” So I was henceforth banished from the kitchen. Meanwhile, a crucial football match was on the telly so he wasn't leaving his seat, either.

And so our celebratory Mothering Sunday lunch was an entire box of Ferrero Rocher with coffee in front of the footie.

Actually, although I may sound jaded, one of the things I like about being a single mum is that you can really please yourself. As much as I love cooking, it's nice to have a day off from time to time, and this was a perfect excuse.

In the days when their dad was still here, he used to ‘organise’ what happened on Mother's Day. This would usually involve the presentation of artificially-coloured flowers still dripping wet from the petrol station, followed by a haphazard breakfast in bed served on a tray by the children.

One year in particular stands out in my memory. They brought a plate of sandwiches up to my room alongside the usual mug of tepid tea, which had a tea bag still floating on the surface.

“Ooooh, goodness me! Very nice!” I said with the extravagant gratitude you reserve for kids who've done something special. “And what have we here?” I asked.

“Chopped egg and cress sandwiches!” they replied, all delighted by my over-the-top enthusiasm.

“But Daddy helped us by chopping the egg and cutting the cress!”

It was only after I'd ingested two sandwiches under their close scrutiny that I realised the so-called “cress” was actually from the shamrock plant I had been growing on the kitchen windowsill in time for St Patrick’s Day.

I just managed to stop myself short of spitting it out across the bedspread.

So a lunch of Ferrero Rocher really made a pleasant change for this mother.

Ah, monsieur, you are spoiling us!

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