With countries in lockdown thanks to COVID-19, this is one Mother's Day like no other.
I live in the UK, and Mother’s Day over here takes place on Mothering Sunday, which is the fourth Sunday in Lent, three weeks before Easter. (Don’t worry, I had to Google it.)
This year, Mother’s Day fell on March 22, and for the first time in 10 years, my mum, who lives in Australia, was going to be in the UK with us. She and my dad were flying over for our daughter’s tenth birthday the day before, and my husband’s parents were also travelling down from the north of England for it. We three mums were all going to be together on Mother’s Day so my husband booked a posh afternoon tea for us all at a beautiful country house. Surrounded by my loved ones in a glorious setting whilst consuming tiny cakes, scones and finger sandwiches . . . well, I couldn’t wait.
But alas, it was not to be.
One week before they were due to fly over, my parents and I made the sad decision for them not to come. The situation with COVID-19 was spiralling out of control and the Australian Grand Prix had been cancelled that very morning as people stood outside the gates waiting to get in (my dad was on his way to the track at the time). It seemed crazy for my parents to get onto a plane and travel halfway across the globe when they really should be returning home and staying safe inside their apartment.
As the days passed and borders around the world began to close, we knew we’d made the right decision. That didn’t mean we weren’t all terribly sad. We had no idea when we would all be together again.
The day before my daughter’s birthday, UK schools closed. My husband and I cancelled the sleepover we had planned for her party and instead had a shorter playdate with four of her besties. That was the last time any of us saw any of our friends in person. That night, we hunkered down and began social distancing in earnest, and two days later, the UK went into full-blown lockdown.
I spent my UK Mother’s Day with my husband, son and daughter. I was brought a cup of tea in bed, and in the afternoon, the kids helped me to make scones which we ate with jam and cream. They picked me daffodils from the garden and then we all went out for a sunny walk in the neighbouring fields. The day was very simple, but I was with my favourite people and I felt lucky.
The scones and flowers I received from my kids for Mother's Day.
On Sunday, May 10, I know my mum will be feeling sad. She was gutted to miss our daughter’s birthday, and she was fighting back tears when we spoke on Easter Sunday too. She can’t be with us or my brother’s family and I know she misses us all.
But she’s also getting to have some precious downtime with my dad, and for people who rarely put their feet up, that’s a good thing.
So, although I can’t make my mum a cup of tea or bake her scones, let alone take her out for a fancy afternoon tea in spectacular surroundings, I can send her flowers and give her a FaceTime call for a good old chat. And every time her eyes water, as they probably will, I’ll remind her of the family holiday we’ll have when travel becomes safe again. The most important thing right now is that we all stay safe and well so we can all be together again one day.
Happier times are around the corner, I really believe that. And they’ll be worth the wait.
Paige's new novel, The Minute I Saw You, is out May 19 (RRP $32.99).
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