Mother's Day is an unhappy time for Stella, who is approaching mid-life and is grieving the loss of her mother and her job. After reminiscing on the history of her larger-than-life mum, Stella looks to find the courage to believe her 'season for singing' has finally arrived. A work of short fiction from our Nibs literary line.
I started my own Mother’s Day tradition when my three children were young. Desperate to have some peace and quiet, I would go to my local garden centre for a few hours. I would start in the coffee shop with a large latte and a cream bun, then spend a pleasant hour wandering around the nursery, choosing a few plants to go into my garden. I would then return home where my husband would throw some steaks on the barbecue, open a bag of salad and a bottle of wine and sit down with relief that his yearly day of child minding was nearly over. When the children were older and wanted to buy me a gift, I would ask them to give me money or a gift voucher to increase my flower collection.
If I wander round my garden now in spring, it is full of plants that remind me of my children. Silky-soft Artemisia, so like the downy hair of my babies’ heads. The host of daffodils that welcome in the spring, which cause me to recollect the occasion when I was called to school to find my son sitting outside the headmaster’s office, in trouble for picking daffodils from a garden on the way to school. Then there is the red rose that blooms all summer, bought to remind me of my daughter as a teenager; beautiful to look at but dangerous if you come too close.
Another Mother’s Day has rolled around and I am sitting in my favourite spot in the café. My children are now teenagers and capable of fending for themselves, but I am finding, as I get older, traditions are important for keeping me anchored in life’s often stormy seas. Today I am in need of something sure and steadfast to hold onto.
I look out the window and see sheets of rain cascading down the pane of glass, matching my mood. I know the rain won’t last for long. What was it my Mum used to say?
After the sun the rain, after the rain the sun.
This is the way of life… Till the work be done.
But the rain is a minor irritation, compared to redundancy.
It is now one week since I lost the job I had held for only eight months. It hadn’t been the most demanding or stimulating job, but it had been a first tentative step back into the workplace after years of staying home with the children. My boss had been young, not long out of college, loaded with charm, good looks and bright ideas, but short on cash. Clearly going somewhere in the world, but not just yet. I had been employed as his part-time personal assistant, a job I was aptly suited for, as he seemed to require a mother figure to organize his chaotic life. But, as with all men who have a woman looking after them, part time is never enough. He might not have been able to fund a full-time job, but after six months he was demanding full-time hours and I politely declined to cooperate. The recession was the reason I was given for my dismissal, but when I returned to the office to collect my final pay cheque, a young gorgeous blonde was sitting installed at my desk. Clearly the boss no longer had a mother figure in mind!