Monday, May 14, 2007

Raise your glass to the Mothers of the world

Happy Mothers' Day, y'all.

We put our mothers through hell, don't we? C'mon, all of us. From the first time we try to stick our hand in a flame or on the stove, we give our mothers stress and aggravation. Next they try and stop us from using that bad word we just learned and keep saying over and over and over. Or try to keep us from eating grass or mud pies or whatever's in the cat's bowl or whatever's up our nose.

Then comes teenagerhood, and all the worrying they do when we're back hours later than we said we'd be - that's good for a dozen grey hairs right there (each time!). Or the people that it's a bad idea to spend time around, and us not admitting to ourselves that Mum might just be right until someone screws us over. Or the boys and girls (or boys and boys or girls and girls) and all the heartbreak they know we're going to go through, that they have to sit back and let us suffer because we can only learn from the experience, especially at that point when we know everything and we're bulletproof.

This isn't really coherent (forgive me, sleep deprivation does strange things to a blogger) but I guess what I'm saying is, even if you're not on good terms with your mother, like I'm not, today's still a day to give her a call. Or at least think about the things she did for you, that you might not have appreciated at the time.

And it's a day to think about the mothers all around the world. The mothers in Beirut, or Gaza, or Tel Aviv, or Belfast, or Basra, or Darfur, who might not have their sons tomorrow because of wars outside their control. The mothers who have had to console and comfort their baby girls (and sometimes boys) who've suffered sexual abuse and rape, like Melissa McEwan, and the soul-wrenching anguish they must feel. The mothers of thirty-two Virginia Tech students, and thirty-five Port Arthur residents, and thousands of others who've known the senseless loss of life that can take place when some lone psycho has access to overpowered firearms.

The unwilling mothers who are shamed or cajoled or threatened into carrying an unwanted child to term, for whatever reason, instead of having a right to decide what they do with their bodies in a society that values their lives and their choices. The mothers who want a better life for their kids but don't have the opportunity or the means to get their kids out of the cycle of poverty. The mothers of drug addicts and petty thieves and vandals who might be visiting their children from the other side of bars today, because our society still hasn't found a more civilised way to get these kids rehabilitated than locking them away with our worst criminals.

Spare a thought for those mothers today, and all the other mothers. Because even your most hated nemesis, your most despised ideologue, your most reviled scapegoat has a mother. A mother who wanted the best for her child. A mother who had hopes that her child would far outshine her achievements. A mother who muddled along the best she could and made mistakes along the way.

Happy Mothers' Day.