Monday, 31 March 2014

Missing Mum on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world in the vast majority of countries - understandably given that Mums are important the world over! The actual date, however, changes from country to country - while those in the UK, Bahrain, Egypt and UAE have just celebrated Mother’s Day, mums in the Germany, the USA and Japan will have to wait until May for their special day. In Argentina it doesn’t take place until October and Indonesia waits until much closer to Christmas in December.

Mother’s Day is a chance to give Mum a token of appreciation, whether that is a present or taking her out for dinner. For expats, it can be a bit trickier because you are so far away but it’s still a wonderful day to show Mum just how much you love her. When your younger years flew by you; she bathed and fed you, she checked your homework, she cleaned your room, she magic kissed your cuts and grazes better and she held you in the tightest embraces when you were upset. 

Image source: Creative Common/Myles Grant
As an adult, your relationship with Mum doesn’t totally change. She still feeds you every once in a while and she’s always there for you, through the good times of course but also when problems seem too difficult to overcome. She comforts you to ensure that you have the courage to step over any stumbling block you come across, or at least to get back up again when you feel as though you have fallen.

Then, you decide to become an expat and explore new horizons. That’s when she has to help you pack your bags and, hardest of all, she has to wave goodbye to you at the airport. She can no longer be by your side to take you by the hand through life. Expats usually take for granted just how difficult that day is for Mum…To say goodbye and wish you good luck for the beginnings of your new life without her in it.

If you are, or have been, away from Mum this Mother’s Day, do not feel as though you cannot be a part of her day – whether that’s arranging for flowers to be delivered plenty of time in advance, sending her a text for when she gets up in the morning on the day itself and organising a time that you can video call so that she can show you what presents she has been given.

On top of all that, why not spend a bit of extra time on the phone with your Dad and/or siblings to discuss what they are doing for Mother’s Day? If you can’t be there in the same place, you may as well make sure that those who are there have got plans in place to ensure that Mum is going to have a wonderful day. For example, it’s time to make those hints to Dad so he remembers that Mum’s favourite restaurant is the one down the road on the street corner (you can be as specific as you like of course!).

Expatriation is not abandonment, although it may feel like it when you first start off. It’s an opportunity to see the world and broaden your mind with experiences that few people from back home get to witness. Decades ago, you really did have to leave your family behind because the only way to get in touch was essentially by written letter. Nowadays, you can be walking around your home in some far-flung location, video call in action, cooking dinner, preparing for your night out—all while chatting to Mum. Take advantage of technology and bring your Mum on the experience with you so that she doesn’t feel as though you have moved on in life without her.  

Image source: Creative Common/Calsidyrose

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