Mothers and Others

I think I understand the singletons on Valentine’s Day pretty well now. I am happily married, and I love Valentine’s Day, but if you don’t have that romance that is advertised in the popular media, you don’t and with good reason.

The parent days leave me cold.

Now, I do think they are a good idea. There are loads of people out there who are fortunate to have wonderful moms and dads. And if you do, and you don’t celebrate them, you are an ungrateful wretch. I don’t, and I recognize the value of what you have. NEVER take really good parents for granted. I wish I had them.

For me, I only have fantasy parents. My in-laws are fantastic people, but the parent holidays actually remind me that they aren’t mine. Christmas is similar. That little voice in my head wishes more for what I don’t have on the holidays. I appreciate the wonderful surrogate, but they aren’t mine. And since I’ve gained more sanity points, I can’t pretend mine are better than than they are/were (my mother lives, my father is dead), just in time for the holidays.

I am also not a mother. It didn’t happen. I like kids, but I was busy doing other stuff, and I never felt the lack. Or, if you prefer, when you have 125 kids per semester, your nurturing needs are well met. I’ve done a great job creating a family, but in this way, I don’t feel terribly attached to Mother’s Day. And I can admit that while being an abused kid wasn’t the reason I didn’t have kids, it did influence that decision.

Every Mother’s Day I get to watch the world worship the position of mother, a concept about which I have pretty mixed feelings. I understand it, and intellectually I appreciate it, but in the end, I usually wish I’d stayed home from church and just gotten drunk. I get wished a happy Mother’s Day by people who are hedging their bets. Well, they mean well. They don’t know that Mother’s Day makes me feel angry, sad, and abandoned, all at the same time.

Yes. I am tragic.

With this in mind, I have to work extra hard to write mothers and fathers. It’s not the realistic good ones that I have trouble with. It’s to avoid going over the top with the less than desirable ones. I’m writing a really strict granddad right now, and I’ll have to make sure we don’t go too far into the unbelievable.

Well, all writers have their myopia. I count on my readers to keep me on the right path. And I’m always looking for portrayals of mothers and fathers in fiction. If you have any that you think are particularly well done, good or bad, let me know. I’m always on the look out for data.

And hey, there’s another 365 days until the next Mother’s Day. That’s a reason for me to celebrate.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

One thought on “Mothers and Others”

  1. I have the same feelings about Fathers Day. And for slightly similar reasons. On both sides of the parental fence. As for Mothers Day, well, Mom got us out of that situation (mostly), so I have better feelings that way.

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