Well, it is in Spain, which is the place where I have lived mostly in the last thirty years. So yes, for me today is Mother´s Day. What does that mean?
To me, being a Mum is more about being a grandmother nowadays and I state that with an immense pride. My son is not only an adult, a father and man in his own right but now he has also become my protector, my shield and my friend. I am Granny Gill. I had the usual Brit choices, Grandma (what big teeth you have), Nanny/Nan/Nana (my husband´s mother and the dog in Peter Pan) and Gran/Granny. I could also adopt the Norwegian equivalent Farmor (oh yeah that´s me – far more …) but there really was not a moment of choice I was and am Granny Gill.
Today is Mother´s Day and I choose to celebrate my eldest grandchild, Stephany Jade. Fifteen years old (if you are female and reading this then you will understand the significance, fifteen, yuk! What an age that was), beautiful, full of confidence, fears, excitement and dread of the future and recently officially and publicly regaled as a young adult at her confirmation ceremony.
Confirmation is a very big thing in Norwegian culture. A formal ceremony where approximately 240 boys and girls receive their certificate under the watch of at least a thousand people all dressed in either the national costume or Sunday Best, in the town´s official concert hall. Relatives come from far-flung towns, Granny´s come from other countries, all to watch their one beloved fifteen-year-old grandchild cope with his or her first major public appearance.
Sitting in the audience surrounded by the unintelligible sing-song cadence of the Norwegian language, blown away by the clear beauty and sincerity of the proceedings, I sat with my two grandsons close by, both battling with the boredom of sitting still minus phones, ear plugs etc. Bless them both, a difficult hour and a half but they did it. I smiled to myself and noted the number of young boys in national costume – zero, number of girls in national costume – at a guess 75 or 80%. I took time to register my own opinion on this and recognised my own sense of awe on arrival and noting the many different and beautiful costumes of the female relatives. What national identity did I have as a fifteen-year-old in England? Fish and chips.
But I am old enough and wise enough to realise I would not have appreciated any such national identity before my thirtieth birthday at a guess and you could possibly add a decade to that estimation. Stephy chose her own outfit for the day and I am totally proud of her parents for giving her that choice.
When she was called I watched in trepidation, my heart stopped and my eyes achieved zoom lens status. There she was, a child all grown up, an outfit of her choice, extravagent high heels and never a teeter or totter (she is her grandmother’s granddaughter!) Her head was held high, her curtsey was neither overdone nor so slight as to be disrespectful, she did not falter on finding her path back to her seat, she did not look out to the crowd seeking her Mum and Dad.
From the ceremony we all left for her celebration party, a hall had been hired, food had been provided and friends and family gathered to celebrate her day. On arrival, my lovely granddaughter ditched the heels, donned socks and flitted around the room alternating between enjoying the attention and giggling with her girlfriends. She gave a speech, unintelligible to me but her demeanour told me all I needed to know and she was genuinely overjoyed at Granny Gill’s non-conformist gift (money is the norm but it lacks the thought and love of a personal item).
It was her day, not by her choice, but her day all the same and she carried it off with aplomb and made Granny Gill very proud indeed.
Today is Mother’s day and I salute my son and dedicate my words to my granddaughter, with much love and only one photo of you because this is your post, not mine.