CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - It Ainít Easy Being a Mother, Especially for a Man!

(05/11/2002)

By Jack Cawthon

My fellow columnist Suzanne-obviously Suzanne isnít a fellow-has written quite knowledgeably about Motherís Day (see the Frog Pond), having fulfilled the qualifying stages four times herself. Iím not about to quibble with an authority with such valid credentials. To say that women have an advantage in this matter is like saying Tiger Woods plays better golf than I. I donít play golf at all.

However, after reading Suzanneís descriptions of what mothers experience I feel that I can identify with most of them, except possibly stretch marks and contractions, but like Bill Clinton might observe, I feel their pain even in those.

Mothers come in for all the glory on this one special day each year, and it isnít by an accidental gift of nature. We must give credit to the great American capitalist system with all its promotional power. What Anna Jarvis began back there yea so many years ago has been seized upon by the incessant efforts of merchandisers to sell goods.

Honor your mother on this special day? You had danged sure better or youíll be made to feel guilt for the remainder 364, and by honor I mean buy those flowers which may wilt in a couple of days or buy that candy that will add to her weight problems or spend on some gift. Donít just stand there with that silly grin of devotion on your face!

If my mother were still living I would gladly buy her a most bountiful gift. There would be a selfish motive because I know when I delivered such gifts in the past there would be a delicious meal waiting for me with fried chicken that only she knew how to prepare and with all the fixings and with a gravy unobtainable in the fanciest restaurant. The meal would be concluded with a pie of homemade goodness. This would be a work of love for her and not a burden as my mom loved to cook and took pride in her ability in homemaking chores. I once expressed this thought in the presence of a citified, out-of-state woman of a militant feminist persuasion who verbally skinned me alive for my insensitive male attitude.

Back in the 50s when L. T. Anderson was king at the newspaper other than the one he now writes for he wrote one of the best parodies of Motherís Day that I have ever read. I keep thinking that someday Iíll try to retrieve it from the Gazetteís archives. Of course, you had to be geared to Andersonís style which was witty, devilish, disrespectful of most traditions, and full of all such other good things to fully appreciate him. Oh, how I longed to write like him!

Anyway, as I can recall, he wrote of the son who set out to honor mom with wife, kids, and dogs all in tow. They werenít bearing gifts as the son was unemployed but instead mom set about to care for them by preparing a meal. However, she didnít have enough groceries, so the son happily drove her to the supermarket where she spent the remaining few dollars of her meager Social Security check on supplies, then went home and over a hot stove cooked up a large meal which the family heartily devoured. At the end of the day the son drove home feeling he had paid a proper homage to his dear old mom.

But I must say that moms do get all the glory. What do fathers get? Generally nothing other than someone, probably a woman with a guilt complex, felt that a special day should be proclaimed for him. But who really thinks much of Fatherís Day? After all, while mom goes through all the agony of transport and delivery after nine months the father goes his merry way and, in most cases, is quite proud of having given of himself so prominently.

Then comes the day of deliverance and what could be more meaningless than a father? In fact, I think that is why fathers have been finally declared unnecessary by the likes of Rosie, Ellen, and that most famous of all, Murphy Brown. Now, Dan Quayle was a bumbler, and I had my share of fun with him, but give him credit for calling the proper shots with Ms. Brown.

The American home is in serious trouble. We have same sex partners who want babies but for some quirk of nature canít produce them conventionally. But a trivial like that doesnít stop them. No, pick one up at the supermarket on the way home, dear. Who needs an old-fashioned mommie or daddy? If evolution modifies to protect survival perhaps someday there will be self-pollination and men, especially, will become obsolete. Do I hear cheers from some women out there? And we wonder why our society is coming apart at the seams!

Suzanne wrote a prior column commenting on how some people view a stay-at-home mom. What once was so normal has now become almost abnormal. Why donít you have a job? She is asked. Arenít you bored? What do you do with all your free time? And she is expected to offer a defense? Come on, people, this is the sort of mom who should be celebrated on this special day. I had one of those and I feel I did a pretty good job of showing appreciation for her, not by the gifts I showered on her, but by trying to be a good son, although I could have done better, not just one day but year-around.

No, even though I have gone through most of the experiences Suzanne writes about, I just donít make the final cut. That means I wonít share in any of the loot either. Life just ainít fair, a wise man once observed.


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