Thoughts from the ammo line

With MOTHER’S DAY 2022 coming into view Ammo Grrlll writes:

Sunday will be Mother’s Day. Even though I still send cards to a sister-in-law and a couple of nieces, Mother’s Day has been a bittersweet day for me for the five years since my mother has passed on. On the one hand, it would be unseemly and ungrateful to feel I deserved to have her for more than the 70 years I was blessed to have! On the other selfish hand, I miss the heck out of her. She would be 101 now and probably not all that thrilled to still be here.

She always planned to go meet Bert Blyleven (Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame pitcher and former Twins color man) when she turned 100 – mostly for the 100 Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets he would give her. But she would never have gone to Target Field if the kneeling ninnies were in evidence and she would not have countenanced the deification of a drug-addicted career criminal on the wall either.

She loved Bert, even with his double entendres, enough to do the late Jay Comeau proud. (For newbies, Jay was a good-hearted livewire regular commenter who walked right up to the banning line and put one toe over on numerous occasions.) When Bert got in trouble for a “didn’t know the camera was running” F-bomb for which he was suspended for several weeks, my Mama, who in her whole life barely said goshdarnit, wrote the Twins organization a personal note of support for Bert. She got a lovely handwritten thank you note back from him, too, that pretty much made her year! I have it now.

Were she still alive, she could very well be in the gulag from taking the Stop the Steal Invitational FBI-Guided Tour at the Capitol. Because the Steal would have made her crazy. And I can’t see her ever wearing a mask. Had she got COVID (like Daddy did and survived), she would have made a poultice of goose grease and turpentine and sent that vile little commie virus packing! But I am grateful she never had to face that and Heaven is a much more desirable address in any event.

She was the Gold Standard of Motherhood. Which brings us to the question: What is a mother, anyway? (We won’t stray into the multiple definitions mentioned in the late, great Merle Haggard’s lyric “There’s two kinds of brothers and two kinds of mothers and two kinds of babies to hold…”) We will confine ourselves to the kind of mother who has given us life.

And even then, the question is not quite as simple as “what is a woman?” and oddly enough, that proved a real poser for a person who was allegedly CHOSEN for her new job on the grounds of being one.

Only female persons, called women if they are over the age of menarche, can ever ever give birth. A woman with a fully functioning reproductive system who gets pregnant but has opted to mutilate herself, by either adding some parts surgically while amputating some other parts, is still a woman, albeit a mentally ill one. The uterus/ovaries and vagina set-up is decisive for a baby getting both IN and OUT. No men can give birth. Period. Men have inadequate plumbing that is particularly challenging for the egress. End of story. And the creepy little Harridan of Truth, who looks exactly like the Wicked Queen in my childhood Snow White book, cannot make me say otherwise.

On the day my son was born, I made an entry in a diary I still have that – call it love, call it postpartum tsunami of hormones – the feeling I had for him was so overwhelming that should anyone attempt to harm one hair on his not-yet-curly little head, “I would fight to the death with tooth, nail, and whatever weapon came to hand to defend and protect him.” And I feel that way to this day, although I think that in my dotage I would choose a more reliable and long-range weapon now than teeth and nails. As luck would have it, I have several. Accurate at quite a distance.

Parenthetically, our son now has a LOT of curly hair, like his father. You’ve heard of the SNL Cone Heads. Well, our son is a Clone-Head. He is almost 6’2” and the spittin’ image of the famous novelist Max Cossack. Without a DNA test, I would be hard pressed even to prove I had anything to do with his creation except that we both share the superpower of Sarcasm. Our very first visitor in the hospital took one look at him and said, “Paternity Suit. Exhibit A.”

But, as usual, I digress. Back to our Topic – what is a mother? So Motherhood consists in the main of us Regular Female Birthing Persons and also Stepmothers who raise one or more children to semi-adulthood, usually sometime around age 40, give or take.

Some of those female persons who find themselves pregnant are in physical or psychological circumstances which do not lend themselves to successful motherhood. But instead of opting to sweep the baby from their lives, these mothers have what courage and sacrifice it takes to place their babies for adoption. So we have some special Birth Mothers, and God Bless them every one. And then we have Adoptive Mothers who are willing, able and often thrilled and grateful to raise those babies.

Sadly, sometimes a woman who thinks she is up to the task turns out through a variety of circumstances to be unable to do so, and then there are Foster Mothers who try their best in difficult circumstances. God bless all of these women.

In my life, I have sent two Mother’s Day cards to men. Not because I — or they — believed for an instant that they had given birth to the children in their lives, but because they were raising them alone. They were Daddies, but also assuming the role of Mothers.

The men to whom I sent those cards a long time ago were raising their children with no help from the ex-wives who gave birth to them. In both cases, the women had abandoned the children willy-nilly to pursue other interests, like a petulant six-year-old might throw her dolly in the toybox. They caused untold damage and I despise both of them. Yes, I realize that there is a much larger pool of irresponsible fathers who bug out as well, but somehow it seems yet more unnatural when women do it. At least to me. Is that “sexist”? Probably. So be it. That’s how I feel. And “Feelings” are what matter nowadays anyway. It’s “my truth,” which can neither be debated nor questioned. Whoopie said so.

Motherhood must entail unconditional love, encouragement, and of course, physical support. But the good mothers have to teach us independence and responsibility as well. To fail to do so, is not “spoiling” so much as “neglect.”

Our generation has produced a new phrase to describe the phenomenon of basement-dwelling adult children: “Failure to Launch.” I have told this anecdote at least once, possibly twice, in previous columns but we get new readers all the time. My friend Linda told me a co-worker had a lazy, unemployed, weed-smoking son who had been living with her — and off her — for 20 years. On top of everything else, he was ungrateful and mean to her. On one Mother’s Day, late in the day, he had obviously stopped at a convenience store at the last minute, run in and grabbed a Mother’s Day card from the dwindling supply. He didn’t even sign it. When she opened it, it read: “You’ve been like a mother to me.”

Hey, husbands and children: it’s still only Friday. You have a whole day to make a restaurant reservation (Good Luck!), order flowers, buy candy, or at least get a card. Do read it first.

Motherhood is a tough job, not for the faint of heart. Is it possible – to use the wonderful sin-absolving passive voice common to politicians – “mistakes were made”? How could it be otherwise? Let me assure you that the vast majority of us were doing the best we could with the imperfect human material we had to work with. So let’s hear it for the mothers. I’m sorry not every one could be my Mama. But I bet your Mama came darn close.

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