The Mother Of Us All
It’s been a very long time since I had a mother, almost 30 years now, so I’ve pretty much forgotten what it feels like. And into the bargain my mother and I weren’t close, so that when sometimes, even now, I Want My Mommy, it’s not my personal Mom I’m longing for, but just the mother of all mothers. Capital M Mother. The essence of comfort and wisdom and caring, the person who loves us more than anything in the world, the mother that we all want no matter how old we are.
I try to believe that each and every mother wants to be that perfect one, the one that so few mothers manage to become. Probably every mother has one shot at perfection, in the moments after birth, when she can think of nothing but the new life before her eyes. But it’s a tumble downhill from there, as the distractions fly fast and furious.
Because mothers , in addition to motherhood, also work, they pay bills, they put food in the fridge and meals on the table, they go to college, they clean house, they have parent-teacher conferences, they keep the kids in shoes, they worry about wrinkles and sags and the fact that those jeans will certainly never fit again. They try to remember who they were before that first kid arrived, and they try not to think about who they’ll be when the last one leaves the nest. They have a lot on their minds besides the actual mothering part of the whole business, so who can blame them for their fall from perfection?
Now, in retrospect, I see that I really ought to cut my Mom some slack. She did the best she could, and really, it’s hard to ask for more than that. And I hope that my sons will cut me a little slack too. Most of the time I did the best I could, and those times I didn’t, you better believe that I still regret them. It’s tough being a mother at all, let alone a good one.
Motherhood: it’s a damned hard job, but somebody’s got to do it.
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