Tomorrow is Mothering Sunday in the UK, a day when we celebrate our mothers and say thank to them for being who they are. Tomorrow too many of you will be without your children and the thanks that they could give will go unsaid. I know It will be a lonely and difficult day.
And so on behalf of your children I would like to say thank you and tell you that you are loved, you are cared for and deep down inside you are missed beyond measure. Let me tell you a story of some children I have worked with recently to let you know that your children still love you, even though they are prevented from being with you.
These children live within walking distance of their mother’s home but she had not seen them for over three years. These children laughed when she last saw them and told them she loved them, they told her to go away and leave them alone, their lives were totally fine without her. When I met them they told me the most shocking stories of how much she had harmed them and how she had shut them into the wardrobe and would not let them out for days on end. They were confident, assured, certain and, at the end of my visit, just a little bit fragile I thought.
These children said they would never see their mother again, that she was cruel and unable to care properly for them and that they would run away if they were made to see her again. They were surly and angry and refused to do anything other than sit, silently and stare at the floor when we took them to visit their mother, who cried with grief and sadness at seeing her beloved children acting this way. She told us she did not think she could bear to go on with this and that she would rather walk away and let them be, she was convinced that their anger was real, even though she had done nothing at all to create it. We made her hold on.
Last month I went to visit this mum and her children who all came tumbling downstairs to see me, laughing and playing and slightly sheepish when they sat down to talk. I asked them how they felt now that they lived with their mum, the same mum they told me they hated and were so terribly afraid of. ‘I can’t believe I said those things’ said the eldest, ‘ though I knew at the time I was lying, I just had to say them because if I didn’t I had no idea what would happen to me’….the littlest one ran past me and out of the door ‘uh oh’ he said as he careered into the hall ‘don’t want to think about that stuff anymore’… and while we drank tea and the children ate cupcakes I looked at this mum, whose whole presence seemed lighter and brighter than the first time I saw her. She smiled back at me and said ‘I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking you knew they would be like this all along and I didn’t believe you did I?’ That was not what I was thinking at all, I was thinking how tragic that the world that I work in has been so utterly convinced that children are capable of knowing their own minds that they burden tiny shoulders with the ‘decisions’ that are not theirs to make, instead of being able to see how these children are captured in fear and in anger and revenge that is not theirs but that of the parent whose mind is distorted. And the utter abuse that is long drawn out court processes that torture these souls when their lives should be all about playing and sleeping and arguing over CBeebies.
Your children love you and if they could bring you a card and some flowers, a cupcake a candle a plant or some roses they would. That they cannot is cruel and so, on behalf of them all I am sending to you all of their love, til the time they are free to give it to you for themselves. They would do it themselves if they could and if people who should help them could help them the way that they need to be helped.
‘Happy Mothers Day mum’ they would say and ‘we love you’.
And they do. In that place they keep safe, so that when they are free and their hearts are unbound they can give you that love they will polish and practice and give you again.
Happy Mothers Day Mum.