When I wanted to put together some illustrations to celebrate Mother’s Day, I wanted to think beyond the generalised bouquets of flowers, hearts and generalised expressions of the relationship, and more the concrete things that a mother, a step mother, a grandmother or anyone who takes that role can bring you. The thing that really came to mind is the things that you’re taught to love by your own mother’s interest in them. Rather than those days you are taught something because they think you should know it, from tying your shoelaces to how to drive, think of those things that you love because someone in your family loved them first. It could be music and dancing, cars and mechanics, or, as I’ve drawn here, food and cooking, gardening, and books and reading. There is something special about taking part in these sort of activities with a parent. It seems that so many contestants on Bake Off and the Sewing Bee, when asked when they started, give wistful looks and recount childhood memories of standing at the sidelines while parents cooked, baked or sewed, and joined in, learning stage by stage. There is something so powerful about learning the early difficult stages of these skills when you’re very young. While I grew up knowing how to crumble flour and butter with just cold fingertips, stir a roux and cream butter and sugar, I have no ability with plants at all. You learn when you’re not thinking about learning, taking an interest before you realise it’s a skill. These memories of shared moments are the best things to celebrate on Mother’s Day.
If you’d like to spend your time on Mother’s Day with a cup of tea and a wry smile, here’s This American Life on Mother’s Day.