What annual festive occasion is the most lucrative one for the greeting card business? I think most of us know it is not Groundhog Day or Whitsuntide, but dear old Mother’s Day.
There is a fallacious belief that Ma’s Day was a calculated invention by the Hallmark Company, but actually it goes back much further than that, so Hallmark is off the hook. There are references to a special day honoring the materfamilia of the Roman Empire, and our observance was largely inspired by a proclamation by Julia Ward Howe in 1870, decrying the losses of husbands and sons in the recent US Civil War. It was essentially a screed that tied feminism and pacifism together, held by a glue that suggests violence is an exclusively male domain – right Karla Homulka and Lucretia Borgia?
Anyway, the point of the preamble is that we not only are expected to love and respect our moms, we are meant to sometimes elevate them to precipitous levels – I’ll daresay sometimes undeservedly.
Well, in that regard there are mothers and there are mothers. We have our fictional pop-culture moms like Mrs. Cleaver and Mrs. Cunningham, Donna Stone and even Marge Simpson (arguably the most long-suffering of all), but we also have the Ma Barkers of the world and a few others who would not be recipients of PTA awards for responsible mumsy behavior. But, I’ve known some amazing real-life mothers for whom I’d always doff my hat and must confess to having envied their children. For example, while my 2nd wife and I had a pretty tempestuous relationship (though it had its moments), I would never impugn her mothering instincts. Therein she was a warm, caring and nurturing individual. At least from my perspective. My late mothers-in-law, both of them, did not fit the bitch-crone image of the cliché MIL (as opposed to MILF, which is an entirely other matter and not to be mentioned here). I valued them in my life and envied their children.
I’ve already made mention of my own mother figure, and shall not belabor that issue again. Suffice it to say that Mumsy never quite got her head around the ‘nurturing’ aspect of parenthood, and let it go at that.
But, compared to the tale of one poor bastard, my mother comes up smelling of sainthood.
Story in the weekend papers about a man, a decent man, a good man, a hard-working, happily married husband and father who is, get this, being sued by Mom for support. OK, at one level, as creepy as it is, you might think she has a point, what with having brought him into the world and all.
But, that was all she did. She literally abandoned her son when he was 15, buggered off out of town, and left him in a small town in the BC interior to fend for himself, with no roof, no source of income, nothing, nada, zilch. And now this evil person is suing him and his siblings so that she (who has never worked a day in her life) can continue her lifestyle. Oh, and our subject, a victim of the recession, is just barely eking out a living as a trucker, and has kids he wants to send to college. But, the bitch-queen wants $300 per month from him and each of his siblings. And she has taken her ‘ungrateful’ offspring to court.
And her asshole lawyer who merrily took the case (beats chasing ambulances, I guess) is citing a law that was passed in 1918 and has very rarely been invoked, to justify the case. All I can hope is the presiding judge has an ounce of common sense (which is sometimes in short supply with superannuated members of the Canadian judicial body) and compassion for the circumstances.
Otherwise, if I were he, I’d be booking passage for Brazil (no extradition treaty) and raising my hand in 2nd digit salute to dear old Mom and a system that hasn’t trashed such a law.
Oh, and Mom, you look just a little better when I compare my tale to his.