From One Mother to Another

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Today is the day we honor mothers, and in this great country of ours, marketing geeks nationwide have provided us myriad ways in which to do so.

For those with unlimited resources and abundant aversion to their mothers, there are some very nice travel deals that put the old lady and her European houseboy well out of sight and sound for an extended stay — the perfect gift for sucking up in abstentia while securing one’s inheritance.

venusmotherhoodFor those who’ve learned to stop blaming their mothers for whom they’ve become — moneyed or not — there are plenty of less extravagant options, in keeping with our doddering economy, for letting her know of your undying gratitude.

Most facile, perhaps, is to send her flowers. And to make sure the token is deeply felt, the price of those precious carbon dioxide absorbers typically leaps skyward the week leading up to Mother’s Day. You want to honor the loins that bore you with a fragrant tchotchke? Be prepared to pay more than you would the rest of the year when Mom is just the babysitter.

If you actually want to be with your mother on her special day, and get a little more bang for your buck with some face time, you could take the old gal out for brunch.

And what an unfortunate drag that is.

Despite Google’s producing 1.08 million options, every adult with plastic and a mobile mother within commuting distance shows up at your local elder-friendly eatery at the same time. The pubescent hostess, who has yet to connect the dots from her backseat activities to motherhood, herds you to a table. The bedraggled waitress, a mother who at the moment has a deep and dangerous loathing of Mother’s Day, fills you up. And then you pay the bill and you’re herded out again, with a wilted red carnation pinned to your mother’s sagging bosom, next to the dribble of egg yolk, and her cheeks aflush from the supposedly free glass of cheap champagne that came with her meal — no substitutions, please.

Instead of the Mother’s Day special, you might try a nice book about bird watching or a World’s Best Mom mug or slippers to compensate for her poor circulation. Although devoid of originality, they do provide some tangible reminder that you are her progeny and though she might have forgotten, you haven’t. Even one of the plethora of banal greeting cards might do: It will last a lot longer than flowers and there’s significantly more room to write a poignantly appreciative message to her than on that teensy card some florist fills out for you in the handwriting of a troglodyte. Sadly, though, the greeting card industry has yet to produce a reasonable rhyme for “mother,” which leads to insipidity and egregious grammar. (Of course, there’s “brother,” but that’s a relative distraction, and “smother,” which too strongly suggests a dysfunctional maternal bond).

Whether by default or natural inclination, some of us do reject the commercial crappola and go for the direct approach we’ve been lucky to inherit from the powerful women who bore us, the smarm-be-gone style of honoring our mothers.

Yo, Dear Mother of Pearl, we say, looking deep into her wise and witty eyes, thanks for birthing us and bearing the seemingly endless pain we have caused you with such extraordinarily unconditional love and delightfully profane humor, targeting whichever offspring isn’t present at the moment.

Thanks for agreeing that most men are swine and not worthy of the many fine pearls we shouldn’t bother tossing before them. Thanks also for strategically ignoring that thought and pointing out to us when we found the right ones — just in case we weren’t recognizing them.

Thanks for taking our unrepentant children during the summers so we could recover from their daily discourse on what terrible mothers we are. Thanks for comforting us, while we wallow in the latest abject failure, with the prediction that one day we will pee in our pants laughing about it. Thanks for reminding us how exceptional we are when we feel like utterly mundane caca.

And thanks for teaching us both the heartening and horrifying aspects of motherhood, but holding back just enough of the truly sucky stuff to assure we would perpetuate the species.

Love, Your adoring daughter

©2009 Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Note: This column is cross-posted at

(Photo of Venus by Dequella Manera 1993, via a Creative Commons Attribution License.)