| 9.6°C Dublin

mum's love There is nothing on this earth as gorgeous as a mother’s embrace

On this Mother's Day tell her you love her


Roy with his mother Betty and father Aidan.

Roy with his mother Betty and father Aidan.

Roy with his mother Betty and father Aidan.

In the hierarchy of selflessness, as donors of love, they stand alone, these blessed, beautiful creatures we call mothers.

They bear us for nine months, but, in truth, the umbilical cord is indelible, an eternal conduit transporting doting lifeblood from one beating heart to the other.

Until her last breath a mother carries her child's burdens.

She rejoices in our triumphs, frets when our lives veer off course, sacrifices herself to allow us to prosper.

Her life is a love song to the imperfect creature she introduced to the world.

Those pictures of an elderly mother waving through a window reimagined as an emotional Berlin Wall at the grandchildren she loves more than life but cannot touch or hold, is lockdown's defining picture, Covid's devastating curse.

A mother is a credit union from which we borrow wisdom, knowledge, assistance and time, safe in the knowledge that we are never required to repay the debt.

The greatest architect to have walked the world could not design such magnificence.

Her soul is a palace of warmth, the immersion of her tolerance never switched off. Each room of her being is insulated with benevolence, centrally heated by her smile. She sustains us from the pantry of her humanity.

From a bottomless well she ladles the aqua of her sensitivity.


'A mother is a credit union from which we borrow wisdom, knowledge, assistance and time' (Stock photo)

'A mother is a credit union from which we borrow wisdom, knowledge, assistance and time' (Stock photo)

'A mother is a credit union from which we borrow wisdom, knowledge, assistance and time' (Stock photo)

There is nothing on this earth - nothing - as gorgeous as a mother's embrace.

Mothers were photoshopping long before Photoshop existed: Her mind's eye smoothed our many imperfections, cropped out our endless kinks; she alone saw us as picture perfect.

They bleed affection and tenderness these creatures of Venus, their inexhaustible loyalty a salve to the corrosive fluids - rejection, loss, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, isolation - a pitiless, acidic world too frequently fires our way.

At the supreme court of motherhood there is no judgement: Just a verdict of boundless indulgence for repeat offenders.

Call her Ma, Mam, Mum, Mammy…she is our emotional anaesthetic against life's most painful trials.

The pulverising trauma of a mother's loss will today accompany many of us to the graveyard where she rests.

We will speak to her and strain our ears, hoping her response might somehow be carried on the wind.

Travel restrictions mean that, for many others, the priceless Mother's Day embrace must be virtual.

In these dislocating times their framed, smiling portraits on the mantelpiece have the power to both brighten a day and induce a tear from the deepest part of our being.

We think of her, singing along to her Matt Monroe or Fureys or Nathan Carter records, lost in the music, the lyrics maybe carrying her across the years to her own youth.

We see her in a favourite dress, the sparkle in her eyes reflected in the little trinkets she wore like a second skin.

Or diverting to the TV pages of her daily paper, concerned some witless programme schedulers might have inflicted the terrible calamity of scheduling Morse and Mrs Marple to run simultaneously on a Tuesday night.

We think of how her face reddened like a sunburnt tourist after even a thimble of beer or wine.

We see her tending to the garden she so loved, the lawnmower or hedge-clippers like a backing vocalist to her singing voice.

We think of her at the funeral of her own husband, how she found the strength - as these incredible women do - to walk into a dark tomorrow without the light of her life.

We remember how it was when, as adults ourselves, we would visit, the weight falling from her world as she put the kettle on.

And how, somehow, within ten minutes, that cuppa would morph into a bowl of stew, a corned-beef sandwich, a chicken curry and a mountain of Custard Creams that stretched higher than Mount Everest itself.

We remember her appearing at the school gates on Friday lunchtime, a chocolate bar her passport to pour a few extra seconds of love into our world.

We remember her during Italia '90 or during Dublin's fallow days, fleeing to the back garden, unable to watch, offering novenas that God's light might guide Packie or Jayo.

We remember how she would talk of her own mother, and our understanding, as she regaled us with happy stories from her own childhood days of little, of that handsome phrase about the apple not falling far from the tree.

What images will accompany you as you sign a greeting card or buy flowers today?

When I think of my mother, I see her dancing, singing, smiling, her face drenched with joy.

I see her before a dessert of sherry trifle, each sugary, cholesterol and calorie-laden spoonful sending a lovely rush of delighted dopamine signals to her brain.

I see her years of sacrifice so that her son might shine.

Most of all I see love in human form.

The world feels like a lump of nothing right now, the broken vaccination promises maddening, the absence of any Official Ireland vision on how to break out of this Covid prison ever more intolerable.

But there is one simple act which, for a little while, is guaranteed to lift us all out of slumps and slouches.

On this special day, make a point of telling your Mam you love her.

In decades to come that declaration will shine on as the crown jewel of all your memories.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Sunday World

Top Videos