Even as a toddler he’d be at a playgroup with me in the week before Mothering Sunday and see that other children were being encourage to make cards or craft piece for their mums.
I could hear intakes of breath, or notice sudden silence, as Max and I approached the area reserved for crafting at parent and toddler groups those weeks.
It’s that feeling of awkwardness, coupled with a little sadness I guess, of anticipating the deflation in a child when he discovers all the other children are doing something for their mums and his isn’t around any more.
Terrified parents worried that their children would point out to my son that he didn’t have a mother, and thus this activity didn’t concern him.
Thing is, I didn’t mind if they did.
It gave me the opportunity to put them right, or for my boy to put them right, and for me to reaffirm my philosophy that just because his mother wasn’t at his side didn’t mean she couldn’t be celebrated, and that she never really ceases to exist.
Children would struggle with the concept of Max making a card, candle or a monstrosity out of clay for his mum, if he wasn’t able to physically give it to her.
In truth, he probably struggled a little with it too, at first.
But I wanted him to be assured that he absolutely could make whatever he wanted, or whatever anyone else was creating for their mothers, for his own.
I’d say to him we’d keep them, either in his bedroom, or in my safe keep until he wanted to see them again, if ever.
When my lad started school these things were taken a little out of my hands, and despite attempting to instil my philosophy with his teachers I still found them fudging around Mother’s Day with him at times.
Guess out of fear of getting it wrong, upsetting him or putting him through unnecessary stress.
On one occasion changing Mother’s Day completely to one for him to celebrate the other women in his life.
It didn’t work, or sit well with me.
I appreciate that there are some practical implications, like if they are using daffodils to give to their mums, that these can’t be kept, but there’s no reason we can’t have them in water and think of Max’s mum when we look at them.
Thing is my son is maturing, and whilst I’m still keen to guide and assure him, deciding on a Mother’s Day card is really becoming completely his own decision.
And there’s the balance of assurance that he can feel he wants to make a card for his mum, without me labouring the point, and him then feeling guilty about doing so. Perhaps getting totally fed up about his mum, and me going on about her.
It is changing with his maturity, but gently, gently, firmly but compassionately, waiting rather than expecting, letting him, my wonderful son, express his feelings.
Because of the way he handles it, it isn’t a day I dread, nor one we make a huge fuss about.
I trust him to make the right call.