Mum is 86. A lady who in the midst of all the crisis has one overriding concern — will the hairdresser still do my hair.
She’s always a great leveller.
No matter what in the world may be going on, mum will still expect her calls to be answered after two rings and will want to tell you in detail the latest news from Lisnaskea.
A native of Sandy Row, she came to Clones on the old railway and then travelled to Dernawilt, where we lived.
The collapse of the railway really cut her off from her family and was a massive loss.
For all of us who are mothers, it’s only now when our children are heading out for the night or weekend that we really understand the mindset of a mother.
Mum always thinks of us and the grandchildren. If she could go without to help any of us in any way, of course she would.
Normal mothering Sunday would involve church and then food with one of her children and their family.
This year will be different.
There will be no hugs for 10 grandchildren or kisses for daughters and sons. No nursing any of the five great-grandchildren for mum. At 86 she is in the vulnerable category.
Mind you, when we tell her that she’s quick to say: ‘Sure I’ll not go before my time’.
That is a prevalent attitude amongst that generation, so we need to be firm with them.
It is in their interest that we observe the guidance on contact with vulnerable people.
By doing so we can overcome the coronavirus and protect those we love most, such as other mothers.
I want to commend all those in the front line of tackling this virus who will spend mothering Sunday working to protect the rest of us. I also commend those mothers who will continue to work knowing the risk of bringing the virus back home to their loved ones.
This crisis will make 2020 a year to remember.
But it is also bringing out the neighbourly spirit that is unique to rural ulster.
Finally, the one thing we so often undervalue and never fully understand are the prayers of a mother.
Mothers never stop praying for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Let’s all take time this Sunday to pray for our mothers because we will need God’s grace to bring us all through these challenging days.