WE’RE sat inside one of the booths at the Galvin Brasserie de Luxe. It’s Mother’s Day and it feels like we could be in Paris. Only the presence of seagulls swooping overhead in the car park earlier reminds us we remain in EH1.
Wall tiles are arranged in a brick pattern. A framed Burns’ poem hangs on the wall. We’re ushered to our own booth, next door to the kids’ corner. Our area is secluded, but opens out onto the buzz of the main restaurant.
After perusing their menus, our daughters head off to the kids’ area, where they start decorating chocolate boxes. It means I get to sit and talk to my husband – oh, yes, I remember him, think we maybe even got married a few years back – while imagining myself in a Paris bistro with him.
I choose smoked salmon with fromage blanc to start, my husband has beetroot, goat’s cheese and blood orange.
Taking my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) to Paris is not something I ever dreamt of doing, I’ll be honest. But the illness isn’t stopping me from enjoying the service, food and surroundings.
There’s a nagging thought in my mind, though. I can’t quite believe I deserve all this pleasure, all this happiness.
“This should be about you,” I tell my husband, as we’re sat in our booth together. “I don’t deserve a big Mother’s Day lunch. It’s you who gets the girls their breakfast, takes them to school.”
Maybe it’s just because the food and environment have put us both in a good mood, but he demurs, refusing to go along with this.
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“You are one hundred per cent a mother to our girls,” he says. “You absolutely deserve this.”
A couple of days earlier I was at a mother’s day assembly at my children’s school. The headmistress reminded us that the most important gift any of us can ever give our kids is time. Nothing fancy. Just time.
And my MS isn’t stopping me from spending time with my daughters (though sometimes they might wish it did, when I nag them to tidy their rooms).
My younger daughter has given me a card shaped into a flower for Mother’s Day. Each petal displays a drawing and description of things she enjoys doing with me. She has included sewing, knitting, cooking, baking and buying jewellery (a girl after my own heart).
MS means there’s a lot I can’t do as a mum. But on a day like today I prefer to focus on what I can do. Yesterday we all four went for a walk on nearby Corstorphine Hill. Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly like the mountains my husband and I climbed when we met. Yes, I had to cling onto my husband. And, no, I couldn’t go very far.
But I could share my children’s excitement, watching them as they clambered up some rocks and raced towards Corstorphine Hill Tower, before greeting a St Bernard dog named Baloo. I pointed out to them the view across the Firth of Forth, stretching to far-away hills in the north.
So as I’m sat this Sunday in the surroundings of the Galvin Brasserie, thinking about the time I spend with my children, I realise that maybe my husband is right, (much as I hate to admit that, obviously).
Even MS isn’t stopping me being a mother to my children. We can still enjoy spending time together. They look triumphant as they return to the table bearing chocolate boxes they decorated themselves. Almost as triumphant as I am feeling myself.