The Best Holiday

I think the Mother’s Day award should go to James James Morrisson Morrisson Weatherby George Dupree. After all, he warned his mother ‘she should never go down to the end of the town if you don’t go down with me’. Especially since James was only three. And did she listen? No, she did not.

I discovered this rather dark poem by Winnie the Pooh’s A.A. Milne when I used to stay at my grandparents’ house in Suffolk. Grandma Ivy put the poetry collection in my room. Of all the poems, this one stuck to me. Poor James. And yet the poem has the best rhythm. Anyone who I meet now called James… thirty-five years later – the poem goes straight through. Oh man. Like a burden.

I also discovered how my Grandma Ivy loved Mothering Sunday (as she always called it) – and for a good reason. Was it because she loved her mother so much? Perhaps. But not exactly as she told me.

Her first job was a ‘domestic’ in a manor house in the 1930s. She explained they only had a tiny amount of annual leave. One day was revered above all. Was it Christmas or Easter you may ask? I did. Nope. It was Mothering Sunday.

‘I could go home then,’ Grandma Ivy used to say with a grin.

I normally completely forget about Mother’s Day. My own husband calls it a marketing exercise. My kids shout it out to me happily and then forget. I only knew it was yesterday because Facebook reminded me.

I called my own mother who, of course lives with her own mother at the moment. We said it to each other and almost instantly I could hear my mother and my grandmother start bickering. Excellent, I thought. Here were real-life mothering experiences.

But what about poor old James James Morrisson Morrisson? Would he be enjoying all the mother tributes when he’d lost his? Like he says later in the poem to his relatives – not to go blaming him. Yeah, exactly.

I’m not sure how much the poem about James and his missing mum affected me – but I was bowled over by death. How I could love my people so much, I’d wonder, and we still all end up parting ways? I didn’t want to forget them, let alone lose them. Damn you death.

Of course, I’ve had to accept I’m never going to resolve this thing. And since we lost Ivy, I do still feel close to her. The main thing is she has a beginning and an end now – which kind of encapsulates her. In this way, I try and pass her on to the girls.

Ivy also had this cool way of saying ‘Oh yes?’ as though it was an interested question. I still imagine her rushing home for her one day off.

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