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What motherhood means to me

In celebration of Mother’s Day two of our wonderful Bookends authors discuss what motherhood means to them.

Daniela Sacerdoti, author of Keep Me Safe

Mother’s Day is a sweet day for me. I still have the first card I ever received from my son Sorley, picked in Marks and Spencer together with a purple candle – my husband explained that Sorley had gone to M&S himself and was carried about in a wee basket to choose my present!

Strictly speaking, I made my children – but really, they made me. They awoke a love I didn’t know I had in me, the willingness to give all of myself, the pride and hope to be growing a new generation – growing them like little trees, to become big trees and take their place in the world. But before they go into the world, at 12 and 9, they’re still mine – still looking for cuddles, even the big one – still looking to me for sense and meaning and comfort, still smelling of puppies and of little boy.

Mine, but not to keep – although they’ll forever keep me.

Tracy Rees, author of The Hourglass

My new book, The Hourglass, has strong themes of mother–daughter relationships – unsurprisingly, since my mother and I have always been, like Nora and Jasmine in The Hourglass, “closer than close”. It was famously Mum who spotted the flyer for the Richard and Judy “Search for a Bestseller” competition and encouraged me to enter. She’s always been my comfort, my champion, my friend.

Neither of the mothers in The Hourglass are my mother. In looks, characteristics and the events that befall them they are all quite different. Yet my own experience of a strong mother–daughter bond, with all its complex joys and frustrations, has inevitably influenced the book. Leaving her parents for a summer holiday in her beloved Tenby, Chloe reflects that “a parting … made such love a double edged sword”. When Nora realises that her mother exerts a too-strong influence on her she moves to Tenby where, “Despite everything, she missed her marvellous, maddening mother.” It’s hard to express in words how fundamental and precious this relationship is – but I certainly enjoyed trying.

When I’m planning the Mother’s Day lunch I’ll be cooking on Sunday, and arranging tulips to make the house look welcoming, I’ll be thinking about Mum, and about The Hourglass, and feeling deeply grateful for both.

Catch up on more of our Mother’s Day posts on the blog

Five dysfunctional families, according to Amy Engel

Or,

Hannah Doyle’s third baby