Mother Dearest

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When an Englishman quarrels with his wife, he goes to the pub; when a Frenchman quarrels with his wife, he goes to his mistress; when an American quarrels with his wife, he rushes to his lawyer; but when an Indian quarrels with his wife, he rushes to his mother.


There are probably as many Mother jokes in the world as there are Polish and Sardarji jokes. And yet if one were ask all of humanity the question, ?Who is the person who has loved you the most in your life?? the hands-down winner will be ?my mother?. Of course, fathers love their children as well and so do spouses, but there is something about a mother’s love that is quite unique and incomparable. There are good and bad mothers, naturally, but most, being good, take first place in our hearts.


One comes across such wonderful stories that bring out this bond between mother and child. There’s a story of little Mary at Sunday school. Her teacher had taken over half an hour to describe heaven and the joys of heaven; she had made it appear so attractive that the whole class was excited. Except Mary, that is. When the teacher demanded, ?All who are glad that you are going to Heaven raise your hands!? All hands except hers went up. This perplexed the enthusiastic teacher. She asked her why she didn’t want to go to Heaven. Mary said cheerfully, ?When I left home, Mom was baking an apple pie; I’d rather go home, Teacher.?


Whether it is for emotional support or food, whether it is for love or caring, a mother often represents to us the still point in a turning world. ?A mother is a mother still, the precious  thing alive.? But one certainly knows that hers will be the last open door when all the world’s doors have shut. Some mothers sacrifice their lives so that their children might have a better life; some mothers wake up early, cook for the family, work a full nine-to-five shift in an office, return home, take up the children’s homework, serve the dinner and stay up late to talk to their husbands. Some mothers put up with difficulties both at home and the office just so that the children may not suffer as a consequence of their self-assertion. Sacrifices seem to come naturally to mothers, and when they don’t sacrifice, it is more often than not because they prefer to subject the child to short-term pain for the long-term gain. 


It is now widely accepted by professionals all over the world that women are the best time managers in the world. The number of tasks that mothers accomplish through their routine is stupendous. They tend to perform various household duties efficiently and seem capable enough to shoulder future problems as well. When the situation arises, they are rarely found wanting.


One of the most touching stories about mothers involves King Solomon. Two women fought over one infant, both claiming to be its mother. The two women and infant are brought before King Solomon and bear testimony. King Solomon tried hard to find out who the genuine mother was, but both appeared to love the child equally. He suddenly shouted an order to his soldiers. He ordered them to approach the infant lying at his feet and to put the sword to his body and cut him into two vertical halves, giving one half to each of them. One of them heard the King silently while the other cried out in anguish, ?No, no, please don’t do that, Give the infant to her, but please don’t cut my baby into two!? The truth was made clear through this test and the infant was handed to his real mother. A mother is recognised from the actions that arise out of her deep and abiding love. While one woman pretended to love the child, it was the devastated cry from the mother’s heart that won the day, her willingness to sacrifice her ownership of the child so long as it stayed alive. Real love wants the welfare of the other, at any cost. The Jewish proverb has summed up mothers perfectly, ?God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers?.


Working women have less of a transitional crisis than full-time home-makers. Penelope Lively has described the gloom of the unwanted mother in her famous short story, Black Dog. The summary: the children have grown up and gone, the husband goes to work, the home-maker suddenly finds a black dog sitting in her garden every day watching her. No matter what measures she takes with or without her husband’s help, when she peeps behind her carefully drawn curtains, she finds him sitting there, watching her. One day she steps out to go shopping and he follows her there and back home. Neither her two daughters nor her husband can see the dog because he disappears as soon as they look out. They feel she is imagining it. They ask her to get out more. Finally one day she decides to befriend the dog and even keeps a small cane basket in her kitchen for it to lie in. When her husband returns home he finds his wife happily cooking and see the basket. He looks out towards the garden and, for the first time, he can now see that the black dog exists. The metaphorical use of the black dog to describe the emotional condition of the unwanted mother makes the sadness even more palpable. It is only when she accepts her current condition as a reality and stops blocking it, that she finds that she can welcome it and by doing so, once more find joy in her life. It is just when he sees her self-sufficient happiness that he sees the black dog himself.


Nappies, bottles, 3 a.m. feeds, sicknesses, and then the empty nest. The mother does deal with them, one by one, as only she can. And she is still available for baby-sitting the grandchildren. Bless her heart. There’s no place like home. Whoever said, home is where the heart is, knew what he was talking about.


I Love You Mother Dearest.

Author: Renita Pereira- USA


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