Vol. 10, No. 19

May 9-15, 2002

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Mother Has Her Say on Mother’s Day

Miss Mother’s Day and risk damnation, as we know from hard experience. Bay Weekly would never miss Mother’s Day.

Part of our coverage is always the nice things people have to say about their mothers. Over the years we’ve had some extraordinary tributes, rich with the idiosyncrasy of individual relationships. Trouble is, the mother they praise is seldom around to hear the words she longed for when she was getting a load of manure from the same people now so lavish in their praise.

Ah, how Mrs. Burton senior would have loved the words flowing this issue from the computer of her reckless son Bill.

Then again, maybe Mrs. Chronister’s going to think her daughter Sonia has gone too far in pronouncing her senile.

The rub is simply this: However you define Mother, whether you praise or glorify her, you’re always going to miss the mark. You’re going to be writing about your mother, which amounts to yourself: your hopes and satisfactions, disappointments and despair.

As any mother will tell you, children come from the inside, but Mother, by definition, comes from without. Nobody has ever called herself Mother — except when she hopes, against the odds, to wield the authority of the title. No, Mother is who she is to other people: her children, their friends and teachers, the neighborhood children. She may perhaps be Mother to her spouse, though that is a bad omen.

As she ages, she may become Mother to people the age she remembers herself when mother figures seemed desirable. With great age or goodness, she may even be enshrined in the collective memory as Mother Mary, Mother Jones, Mother Teresa, Mother Meera. She probably wears such titles like a garment given as a gift, nice but not her size and not what she’d choose for herself.

In herself, she may be a mother — alone or with all sorts of modification, as in blissful or stressed out — or Jack’s mother. But Mother, never. That’s who her Mother is.

Ask her who she is when she is being Mother, and the answer will likely surprise you. That’s what Sonia Linebaugh did when she was finished reflecting on her own mother. Linebaugh may well be the happiest mother in Chesapeake Country this Mother’s Day, for she’s had her say both ways, from the inside and from the out.

Happy Mother’s Day reading.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly