I wasn't looking forward to today.
For lots of reasons, including the fact I have been unable to have children of my own, I have always found the day difficult. But, I'm always happy to celebrate with other mums and grandparents. It's not their fault I find the day hard, and they deserve to be celebrated - along with all the people who have 'mothered' me over the years. There are too many to mention here, but I am who I am because people bothered, noticed and cared.
But this year was an unknown quantity - because I've never known a Mothering Sunday without mum around.
People have been so kind and thoughtful. I have been well prayed for and received some precious messages during the day.
There was another dimension to the week though - Having lost mum last October, we finally signed her house over to a property developer this week.
That meant handing the keys over - keys that had been on my key ring for many years. The house had been my home for 28 years until I got married. I kept those keys on my key ring after that 'in case of emergency' for the next 23 years. Who knew so much could be represented by two pieces of metal on a key ring. I used them for emergency reasons only twice, one of those being the day before mum died. But it brought just a little reassurance to mum to know someone had them.
The day before we signed the papers, I walked around the house and garden to say my goodbyes.
I wanted to deal with and let go of some painful 'stuff'.
I asked God to replace the pervading sense of sadness in that place with joy.
I also asked Him to bring to mind the happy memories, thanked Him for them and tucked them away in my heart.
I then prayed for those who will move in after the property developer is done.
I and my brother have asked to look at the house when the work is done and I know I will find that a positive and healing process, laying some memories to rest at last. The fact the house as it is now will no longer exist, signifies a new start for me. I went through a similar process with my previous church when they had a major refurbishment - the places of fear and pain were gone forever, helping me to lay down hurt and forgive.
But there have been some lovely moments this week too.
We always love spending time with friends in the south, and we had arranged to go down for a few days this week. My friends became grandparents just before Christmas, and it was lovely to see their daughter and grandchild whilst we were there. I always count it a privilege to hold a baby, and even after years of being a children's nurse (Some of that time in neonatal care) I am still filled with a sense of awe and wonder as I gaze into the eyes of such a young child. It was wonderful to be able to cuddle, feed and comfort that little one - it was a gift and a healing balm to the depth of my soul. God can work through even the tiniest child!
So I got through the day I was dreading, with some sadness, but not nearly as much as I was expecting. I'm thankful for the good memories and I'm thankful to those who have been like a mother to me over the years.
I often go to the cafe in a local hotel to write. It overlooks mum's old house, so I'll be watching the building process with interest.....whilst also trying to concentrate on writing!