So it's about that time of year again, where we raise our glasses and toast the womb from which we squeezed out squealing.
It's a manufactured holiday to be sure, Mother's Day, and there's that other parental holiday, the forgotten stepchild who pokes his head out in June from his nook beneath the stairs to claim another tie and a pair of socks and maybe, if you really love him, a 750ml bottle of fine scotch.
He ~is~ the one who inserted you into your mom's womb, after all, and that baby was a lot easier going in than coming out, wasn't it Mom.
But really, those aren't two halves of the whole modern parental unit, are they? Used to be we planted a family tree with Mom and Dad at the roots and all their offspring sprouted into clean, well-pruned branches. But today it's more of an unruly family bush, with offshoots of divorce from the wildly popular put-em-all-to-work corporate, everything's-free government culture we embrace in modern civilization.
No more staying at home, Mom! Get a fucking job, you bum!
Anyway, now that moms worldwide have been successfully sewn into the workforce tapestry, we see the proliferation of this Neapolitan-style family unit where parents are no longer defined by their biological ties to the children they are raising and supporting.
In other words, the terms baby-daddy, baby-momma, and biological parent are no longer redundancies.
See, in today's world, the terms mom and dad and parent can mean just about anybody.
And yet we continue to dedicate two days a year to bio-mom and bio-dad, just because one poked the baby into the other, and her choice was not to kill it. These days, being the bio doesn't mean so much as it used to mean, that's the point. It certainly doesn't default you into the mother and father status that we rightfully covet.
No, those terms should be reserved for the folks who do the heavy lifting. Want my opinion? Here it is anyway.
Let's say thanks to the people who are actually doing the work!Because Mom might really be grandma. Dad may be the boyfriend who coaches the soccer team and pays the apartment bills.
How about the step-parents in remarriage arrangements? Often the ex-wife viciously attacks and sabotages the new wife. This is a theme so common it has become cliche. It is almost mandatory for the ex-wife to poison the kids and wreak financial havoc on the father and his new family.
The wife endures these attacks and drives her step-children to school, to the doctor, buys them clothes and Christmas gifts and plans their birthday parties only to have bio-mom sabotage her efforts through quiet manipulation and wormy words in the child's ear. Bio-mom launches social media sorties, spreads rumors through infiltrating the friend network, ties up the finances and so on. It never ends, and we never say thanks to the step-mom for the pain she endures on behalf of someone else's children.
Step-Mom will never have her day...
And that's a sad fact, folks. There will never be a Step-Mom day. My son will go to his mother's on Sunday, and she will be Mom to him for all his years. She'll be the mom at his wedding, and she'll be the "real" grandma to his children.
And yet my wife, the step-mom who has raised him since he was four, has endured more suffering than a few hours of labor and nine months of weight gain to raise this boy. She chooses to be a mother to him, even during the hard parts, and never once has she asked to be paid for her service.
She loves without reward, and does so while under constant, relentless attack from the ex-wife on all fronts. She has for thirteen years refused to surrender, and she always rises to the occasion when called, and does so with admirable poise. Her love is utterly, totally without condition.
And isn't the definition of unconditional love to love without thanks?
Well, I for one say thanks to those women on Mother's Day. Thank you step-moms. Thank you grandmas. Thank you aunts and sisters and cousins and friends.
Thank you for being the mom these children deserve, even if they they never call you Mom.
Oh, and thank you step-dad for paying for everything in two households. Here's your tie, don't open it until June.
Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels WINK, STEPS and RISEN from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.
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Your wife is definitely a mother and deserves the acknowledgement. But it can be anyone who steps into those roles, even an older friend who was there when you needed guidance.
How does the saying go? Anyone can be a mother or father but it takes someone special to be a mommy or daddy.
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