Today was Mother’s Day. I don’t’ have any children, so I’m not a mother. But I had a mother, and she was a swell one. She wasn’t perfect, but as moms go, she had a lot going for her. She was a single mother long before it was acceptable to be one. As a matter of fact, most if not all of the safety nets our society created for a single mom didn’t exist then. Also, finding derelict fathers for child support was a lot tougher. It wasn’t just a case of going underground. All a man really had to do was go to the next county or state and he might not be found for years. Lastly, there was a real stigma in being divorced. Being a proud woman, she made her way by herself so she didn’t have to listen to a lot of judgment calls. Or owe anybody anything. It wasn’t easy, but she raised two kids, really, truly on her own.
As a writer, I decided to compare her to some of pieces of literature because she certainly had a lot of traits people write books about. She was self-reliant and knew the virtue of it. If Virginia Woolf hadn’t written A Room of One’s Own, my mother could have. She didn’t for one moment think she didn’t have the right to make her own way. It’s a form of independence many people strive for and never attain.
She was a poor man’s Auntie Mame. Patrick Dennis would have adored her instantly. She had color, flair, compassion, wit, and drama, all done in Rhinestones instead of diamonds. But she sparkled just as grandly.
The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off! I included this because if my mother had written a book, this would have undoubtedly been its title. But Gloria Steinem captured it. Mom was irreverent, a barrier breaker, and most notably a person entirely unto herself. She was by no stretch of the imagination anyone’s take on the classic mother. She didn’t cook, she didn’t clean, but she had the wisdom of the ages and was a survivor. And so importantly, she loved with the fullest heart imaginable. The was a woman who did not belong to me alone. People from all walks of life mourned her passing 6 years ago. And most still do. I am but one of them.