10 May 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today I experienced something I still haven't gotten used to: people wishing me a happy Mother's Day. I don't know whether I ever will, or should, become accustomed to the experience.

It's not that I mind people perceiving me as old enough to be a mother: At least they're not taking me for a grandmother! Plus, I still remember how I felt affirmed as a woman when I heard that greeting on my first Mother's Day in my life as Justine. So, in all, it's not a bad thing, I guess.

Still, I have mixed feelings. I still feel as if I don't have the right to be wished a happy Mother's Day. After all, I have never raised, much less given birth to, any children. I may adopt a child. Even if I do, I will not have endured and sacrificed what my own mother gave in order to bring me and my brothers into this world, or countless other women who've given new lives to this world--sometimes at the cost of their own. I could never repay Mom in any; that she wants to accompany me in my surgery is icing on the cake.

Then again, Dominick and other people have told me that I'm maternal. Very often I feel that way, particularly when a student--or anyone, for that matter-- comes to me for help or guidance. I've been told that some of my female students, as well as other women, look to me as a role model. I still don't understand why, although I'm happy to oblige them.

Another thing people have told me--and I'm finally owning up to--is that I'm nurturing. I've had moments when it might seem otherwise. Hey, I'm not perfect. But I do believe that in any situation, I should deal with people in a caring way. I mean, what other way should I be if other people are, as I am, living souls who happen to be living human lives for reasons beyond our control.

Does I merit a "Happy Mother's Day" wish because I am as I've just described? I don't know. But if people want to express such a wish to me, I welcome it. Perhaps it's not politically correct to say what I'm about to say, but here it is: I can think of nothing more difficult--and more honorable--to do.

So to any mother who's reading this--and to my own Mom, even though she never has and probably never will use a computer--a hearty Happy Mother's Day wish from me!

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