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Effervescent storyteller.

Welcome to My Modern Diary, an electronic journal filled with tales of nostalgic cuisine, wistful wanderings & personal recollections by Sarah Orman.

A Mother's Day gift

A Mother's Day gift

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Today is Mother's Day in England. A day for pausing to recall and celebrate how fabulous our mother's are.

I've written and re-written the start of this post more times than I care to admit. I don't know why really as there are so many things I could tell you about my mom {or "mam" as she prefers}. I simply don't know where to begin. Rather than waffle on without any structure, however, I've decided to share five key qualities that make my "Mother Hen" who she is today on this Mothering Sunday. So here goes.

Image courtesy of Astrid Photography

First and foremost, she is quite possibly the most patient person I have and will probably ever know. From standing in a queue to completing a complicated cross-stitch, mam has more patience than all the saints combined.

For as long as I can remember Mrs. Forrester has been a patient person. Take for instance this situation from my childhood. I would often spend hours playing with my favorite toy, covering every inch of the dining room floor with teeny tiny props and pieces while creating a "village" for my adorable animal characters.  With each addition to my collection there was something to be fixed or altered; from tying minute ribbons and bows on plastic ducklings to gluing fingernail-sized faux china and glassware back together, mam was always able and willing to help. I recall getting so frustrated trying to tie the cute little ribbons around the necks of the "Puddleduck" children; mam must have tied them in perfect teeny tiny bows a thousand times! I can't help wondering why she didn't accidentally lose them : )

Despite my best efforts, I have seldom seen my mam's patience waiver. Both my sister and I have tested her breaking point on several occasions, from fighting with one another as teenagers to having heated discussions after several bottles of wine around the family dining room table. More recently, insisting on a second trip to the grocery store in dreadful wintry weather for something unnecessary like 70% cocoa solid chocolate comes to mind. Only mam would say yes without a grumble or a gripe.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times my sister and I went too far; as soon as we heard "right, that's it, your dad can deal with you when he gets home," the barrage of apologies and begging for forgiveness would ensue, which brings me to the second of my mam's beautiful qualities.

In addition to patience, I have never met anyone more loving than Mrs. Forrester. One could argue that it is the duty of every wife to love her husband and children dearly. I have no doubt that there are millions of people all over the world who are lucky enough to feel and experience this unconditional love on a daily basis. What makes mam even more special, however, is that her unconditional love has always extended beyond the obvious, taking under her wing the many friends and loved ones who have come and gone from our lives for as long as I can remember.

Mother, Astrid Photography

Childhood friends and their newborn babies in addition to recent acquaintances I've mentioned merely once or twice all have a place in Mrs. Forrester's heart. The simple fact that some of my closest friends in England occasionally meet my mam for coffee says it all. The door is genuinely always open, even though the location of that door changed for the first time in 35 years last October, which brings me to my third quality.

Mother Hen will tell you otherwise {I know this for certain} but in addition to being patient and loving, Mrs. Forrester is strong. Firstly and figuratively, she can pump iron in the gym. I'm totally serious! My mam is extremely dedicated to her twice weekly body pump class and as a result she looks amazing! I'd like to be the same when I'm 58, however, I have to start working-out to achieve that!

Perhaps more impressive than her ability to bust lunges, my mam is strong in ways she doesn't even realize. Let me set the scene a little here. My hometown in England is a small industrial city set in the rural farmland of Northern England. From the very first day I was old enough to know better, I dreamed of moving away. When discussions about university began I was excited beyond measure to visit campuses in far flung places. I couldn't wait to flee the nest and see the world.

My sister on the other hand was quite the opposite. By the age of 21 she was a full-time working, home-owner who said "I do" the same year she became legal to drink alcohol in the United States. For 15 years my sister lived just 10 miles from our childhood home while I flitted from Sheffield to London to Washington D.C. We were like chalk and cheese.

While I obviously missed home and the people that made it so, I was happy to be fulfilling my dreams and there was an unspoken comfort in having my sister play the important role of daughter for the both of us. That is until two years ago when out of the blue, Gemma's life turned upside down.

Today my sister is divorced, happily engaged to be married once more and expecting her first child. Furthermore, she now lives in Kent, a generous 375 miles away from what we've both always known as home. I guess deep down she always wanted to flee the nest too. Working as a very successful Financial Director and living in a breathtakingly beautiful corner of England, I couldn't be more happy and proud of the person she has become.

Mother, Astrid Photography

What does any of this have to do with my mam I hear you ask. Throughout all of our life-changing decisions, from moving overseas to admitting a marriage of 10 years was failing, Mrs. Forrester has been our rock. I know there are times when she has privately crumbled, what mother wouldn't when both of her daughter's decided to set-up "home" seven hours away? With that being said, however, although I'm sure she's wanted to be selfish on many occasions, she has never stood in our way or discouraged us from following our hearts. That takes real strength.

The cherry on top is that after 35 years my parents finally bit the bullet last October and moved themselves! Can you imagine saying goodbye to the home you raised your family in? The house you made your own for well over a quarter of a century? I know I would struggle. Again, my mam's strength is extraordinary. I don't doubt she had her moments, but today she is as happy as can be in her new digs. Which brings me to quality number four.

Besides being much bigger and way more beautiful, my parents new home sports a pretty neat walk-in closet. And no one needs a walk-in closet more than my mam. I've often stood and stared in wonder at her collection; shoes, handbags, jewelry, summer blouses, party dresses, sweaters... how does one person wear it all?! I'm not complaining, goodness, no! Mother Hen's fine taste in fashion has undeniably helped me out of a tight spot once or twice and of course she never says no to me borrowing something : )

As a result of her impeccable taste, Mrs. Forrester always looks so well put together, so well put together in fact that it's not uncommon for her to outshine everyone she's with, including me and my sister! How many 30-something year-old girls can look at their mother on a regular basis and say "woah, I wish I looked that good!" I love her dearly for that.

In short, my mam is not only patient, loving and strong, she is honestly as cool as a freakin' cucumber.

Finally and entirely unrelated to any of the other qualities I've shared, Mother Hen is without question my biggest fan, which is why I chose to write this entire post about her.

Mam, I know how much you enjoy reading my work. You have no idea how grateful I am for that. So rather than flowers or chocolates this Mother's Day, I thought the best gift I could give you was this. Every day I wish I could tell you how much I love you in person. I wouldn't need to choose just five qualities to write about because I'd have all the time in the world to tell you face to face how amazing I think you are. The distance between us often seems overwhelmingly vast, but the love we share is much greater and although saying goodbye at train stations and airports will forever be a part of our future, the memories we'll make in between will always outweigh the heartache.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me something so wonderful to write about this Mothering Sunday. With all my love, happy happy Mother's Day.

Mother, Astrid Photography

Strasbourg

Strasbourg

Banana bread

Banana bread