Both the Incredibly Patient Mother and I have to work today, so any chat will have to wait until evening.
In fiction, the majority of mothers seem either to be absent or various caricatures: vague, evil, ridiculous, too busy. If you only looked at our literature you might assume that the mothers of all of our teens were alcoholic drug addicts who had abandoned their children with a) a father who doesn’t love them b) a father who cares but is absent or c) no one leaving them to fend on their own while she pursues men, money, etc. It’s not new–one need look only at Grimm’s Fairytales or Shakespeare to see this is a long standing trend.
For what kind of drama would it be to have a good (alive) mother? Would you want to read a book where the character grew up knowing her mother loved her and always could depend that no matter what happened or what might have gone wrong, that she could go home? Would you want to read about a girl who faced betrayal from friends and other family members, but always had her mother’s shoulder to cry on, even as that mother was facing similar betrayal? Would it be so exciting if the mother was always there–not in an intrusive helicopter kind of way–but in a supportive way such that everyone knew that you’d best not hurt that daughter? Would you want to read about a daughter who spread her wings and flew on her own, but kept her mom’s cell number on speed dial–just in case she needed advice, an opinion, or an ear to rage about general frustrations of life?
Would it be exciting if this mother was a good woman, doing the best she could, raising her children without trying to define herself by finding a new man, designer shoes, or public office? If the mother was only a gifted cook, talented gardener, brilliant seamstress, excellent writer, and incredible listener–what a boring story that would be.
Fortunately for me, that’s only real life.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Incredibly-Patient-Mother.