The Blands

An ode to Rachael

Mother's Day is the perfect time to pay tribute to all of the remarkable women and mothers in our lives. To mark the occasion, Steve pens a very special tribute to his wife Rachael.

We’ve just celebrated International Women’s Day and hot on its heels, we now have Mother’s Day… or Mothering Sunday if you want to give it its correct name!

Whatever you choose to call it, it seems like this time of year is the perfect time to pay tribute to the women and mothers in our lives. To be honest, every day should really be women’s day because if we really think about the important things in our lives, 99.9% of them are related to the women we’re lucky enough to call our mums, wives, sisters, nieces, daughters and grandmothers.

But as Mother’s Day is upon us, I’m going to focus on one very important mum who will be getting plenty of attention on March 26.

As you might know if you read her brutally honest blog, Big C. Little Me. Rachael has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer for the past few months. It’s led to very few ups, plenty of iffy moments and a fair few downs too. But what has struck me through it all, is Rachael’s bravery and her total devotion to her role as a mummy to our little 18 month old ball of perpetual motion, Freddie.

So, if you’ll forgive me a little soppiness, here is my ode* to Freddie’s wonderful mummy.

Rachael and Freddie Bland

Rachael, I am constantly amazed by your endless enthusiasm for playing with your little boy. Even when you’re not feeling well you summon up the energy to read him stories, chase him around the living room or just sit with him and watch Fireman Sam. He thinks the world of you and I know the feeling is mutual.

I can’t tell you how proud I feel when I see the two of you reading together, or playing with his kitchen or even just having one of those very special cuddles that only a mummy and her son can have.

I know that sometimes you think he prefers his daddy but I promise you that he doesn’t grip onto me anything like as tightly as he does to you before he goes to bed.

Speaking of bed time, I wish I was as diligent as you when it comes to brushing Fred’s teeth. Too often I have to fight the urge to dodge the nightly teeth brushing battle and get him straight into his PJs. But for you, nothing is too much trouble.

I know you worry about whether or not his speech is coming on, just as you did about his walking, crawling and sitting up, and even though I might tell you to stop worrying from time to time, I know it’s just a part of being a mummy who wants nothing but the best for her little guy.

I love how much pleasure you take from making sure Fred is dressed to impress! I think it might be the manifestation of a childhood dream to have your very own living doll, but either way, it’s wonderful to see.

I know it’s hard, but seeing how upset this nasty, vicious cancer makes you, not because you’re worried for your own future, but out of concern for his, makes me well up with pride. He’s given you the most powerful reason to punch cancer square in the face and I know that’s exactly what you’re going to do.

Unless you’ve been diagnosed with and treated for cancer yourself you can’t possibly understand how it feels but I have no doubt that the mummy and Fred double act has plenty of miles left in the tank yet.

So there we go, just a few reasons why Freddie and I are going to be celebrating and raising a glass of bubbly/beaker of water to Rachael on Mother’s Day this year.

*I realise that, in fact, this isn’t an ode in the traditional sense. It’s severely lacking in any kind of lyricism and the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode (whatever they might be) are nowhere to be found.

But I will just end with a simple little poem that I read a little while ago:

When it comes to Mothers

There are lots of them about 

But you're the very very best 

Of that, there is no doubt

Happy Mother’s Day Rachael – and to all the mums out there!