Forgive the short notice, but it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. With its Lent/Easter associations the date understandably doesn’t feature on the Jewish calendar, so that gets me off the hook. With everyone — except my mother. The notion that a 24-hour period entirely dedicated to thanking mums excludes Jewish mothers might work as a theological explanation, but I dare you to try explaining that to them.
In a weak attempt to do so, I Googled the word “mother” and the first one to pop up was the late Mother Teresa, the beatified Catholic devoted to helping others. A more specific search revealed that “a Jewish mother is devoted to helping others and she makes soup”, and who can argue with that? When I was 10 and better at planning, I prepared buttered crackers for Mother’s Day, a week early and kept them under my bed for that surprise breakfast. Though they were inedible, the thought was there and I didn’t have to do a last-minute panic shop for a gift.
For those who are acknowledging the day in some form and need something last minute, I’ve covered all the bases from the smelly stuff to the luncheon dress and everything is available to purchase all day on Sunday.
So forget the hurried petrol station bouquet and hit Fenwick or Liberty’s and invest in some permanent scent provided by Noble Isle’s Willow Song reed diffuser, which makes a house (currently mine) smell subtly of fresh flowers for weeks. At John Lewis there’s Dr Haushka’s Serenity gift set (drhauschka.co.uk) which is bath and hand cream scented with lavender, a flower regarded unfairly as old-fashioned. But in the right hands (ie Dr H’s) lavender is lovely and calming and every Jewish mother needs help with that.
At Debenhams and M&S there are clothes for bed that are not only perfect for mothering mother, but also give her something to wear on Pyjama Day for Comic Relief on March 15.
Better than lunch and far healthier, take mother and bubbe shopping on Sunday, for dresses to suit all shapes and ages at Ronen Chen in Temple Fortune and Marylebone, and then drop into Jessimara on the Finchley Road for something by Ingenue. Those who require an outfit for lunch should go to a branch of Phase Eight for something floral and fitting and drop into John Lewis for finishing touches by Azuni.
I love their Pompeii ring, though it’s my mum I’m meant to be thinking about and I know the Wilbur & Gussie bag with leopard clasp is more her thing. It’s also more than I would spend on a Mother’s Day gift, but then she has got a significant birthday this month. I also know that if I buy her the “granny shopper” at Debenhams, she is unlikely to be impressed.
More Fearne Cotton than Dot Cotton, the trolley my Nana once called a “pusher” has been given a makeover and even has a built-in cooling bag system. “Practical and fashionable”, I can hear myself telling the woman I once served mouldy crackers as a gift. I’ll let you know how it goes. Oh, and if you miss the official day, remember every day is Jewish mothers’ day, so she won’t mind when the present arrives.