13th November 2017
Shades of pink fill the advertising space.
The TV ads have started, the supermarket have already ‘politely’ reminded us (for the past month) not to FORGET.
The high street chains tell us to ‘love your mum’ and ‘give your mum a treat’ and ‘mums the word’.
It is of course important to find a gift that lets her know ‘she means the world to me.’
A LUXURIOUS LEATHER HANDBAG will do or a BEAUTIFUL SILK SCARF or a HAND PAINTED POTTERY MUG or a VICTORIAN HIGH TEA WEEKEND or a FUDGE TASTING SUBSCRIPTION or an INDOOR SKYDIVING EXPERIENCE. A gift to celebrate the mother and motherhood and maternal bonds.
Mothers day, in the garden, Croydon, March 2014.
Here we are.
My Mother, her three daughters and our three daughters, somewhere in between the ground and the sky.
Nearly five years earlier I was in the garden in Bristol on Mothers day. It was my due date and I was waiting for my first baby to show me a sign that she was coming.
Here we are, all of us, JUMPING. Somewhere between the bending down and the pushing up.
This is the best I could find in a series of photographs hoping to capture us all in the air. Considering we are three generations of the same family, we have no inherited, genetic skill that allows us to rise and fall at the same time. We can’t manage any unity. In fact we can’t even hear the count of 1…2…3…GO! because we are laughing and arguing and talking over one another. Instead we resemble the arcade game WHACK-A-MOLE, each popping up and down of its own accord in a clear attempt to irritate.
So here we are, all of us attempting to JUMP at the same time. Repeating this action over and over getting worse and worse as we tire and giggle.
I asked my four-year-old daughter and six-year-old niece to show us the sort of JUMP that would be best. We copied their moves and listened when they shouted that we weren’t doing it right.
So, here we are, all of us, being pulled back to the ground. Being dragged back down to earth. Some of us mothers, some of us yet to be. With only GRAVITY stopping us from floating off into the atmosphere. Like Sisyphus’ boulder, all our JUMPS (regardless of our poor timing) end up back down from where we started. This is Sisyphus’ fate, to roll his boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again, doomed to repeat this action FOREVER. Forced to begin over and over again, Sisyphus is consigned to an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration. My mother keeps JUMPING. As do I. As do my sisters. As will our daughters. Albert Camus saw Sisyphus as personifying the absurdity of human life. And from the garden in Bristol, through the last 5 years, the seemingly endless struggle seems nothing but absurd. But Camus concludes “one must imagine Sisyphus happy” as “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a (wo)man’s heart.”
So the women in my family keep JUMPING.