Mother’s Day – 26 March 2014
As both my birthday and Mother’s Day fall in March, I not only receive too many gifts at once and then nothing until Christmas, but it also tests the ingenuity of my three hungry men to the limit. Last year, it being my big 50, they went to town – well Paris, actually – and celebrated my birthday with an array of original, creative and beautiful gifts, all of which I continue to wear, use and admire. However, when Mother’s Day arrived, they were clearly maxed out in the imagination department. I awoke to find that no one had planned to cook lunch, nor booked a restaurant for a lazy brunch; there was no dinner shopped for nor breakfast in bed. I was presented with a gift to which I responded with unseasonal, unusual and reprehensible ire. Not in front of the kids, I hasten to add in mitigation.
What thoughtless gift could unleash such a tirade of emotion you might well be wondering? Strangely enough, it was one which, under other circumstances, I would have been delighted to acquire. The Le Creuset casserole dish matched the others in my collection and was the one size I did not yet own.
I blame my outburst on the stress of turning 50 with its accompanying hormonal roller coaster, but it felt more than that. Kitchenware on Mother’s Day is the equivalent of a tool set for fathers or socks for Xmas. It says ‘know your place’ loud and clear – or at least that was the message I mistakenly interpreted. This was a gift deeply mired in the translation.
For weeks it sat accusatively on the sofa while I deliberated about whether to return it or to stop sulking and use the damn thing. My poor husband was simultaneously upset by my feeling wounded, puzzled by my misinterpretation of his motives and downright annoyed by my lack of grace and gratefulness.
‘But you love cooking’ he reminded me.
I tried to explain that on Mother’s Day I want to be valued for more than being the resident chef. I spend most of my non-working time on shopping, cooking, taxiing, planning, thinking and providing. (My husband does the cleaning). I did not want to be presented with a pot, albeit one that cost a bomb and looked so lovely in burnt orange.
Perusing the magazines I notice that Mother’s Day gifts are full of kitchen gadgets or household appliances, or worst of all for the cholesterolly challenged – food hampers and chocolates. No, No, NO.
This year my long-suffering man has wisely asked for any suggestions I might have. I have pointed him in the direction of several new books I have my eye on. Top of my list is a cookbook I am excitedly awaiting. Fortunately for us all it is yet to be published. I doubt he would have been brave enough to buy it on this occasion and who knows how I might have responded if he hadn’t.