Wherever the Road Leads


Mothers have to be the most common thing on earth. They’re everywhere and everyone seems to have one. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a single soul or being who doesn’t have one.

I have one. She seems to have been with me my entire life and the first one I can remember. The second one I remember was a cat. She was an outdoor cat who ate with us and hardly qualified as a pet. Though she did want to be around the house when she was ready to deliver a litter of kittens and the only place she would settle to give birth was the laundry hamper.

After a week my Uncle Bob came to visit. He worked with the Department of Lands and Forests. I guess he took them to live in the wild as I never saw the kittens again.

Mothers become your friend and best playmate. They teach you to tie your shoelaces before you really want to and they seem to know that water is hot long before you stick your finger in it to find out for yourself.

Just when life is getting good, they dress you one morning in something other than your play clothes and send you away to be with twenty other children who also are missing their mothers.

The next day things get worse. She lines you up for a yellow bus to take you to the twenty other children missing their mothers.

Mothers never know that you are poor because they give you everything that you need. I was lucky. We didn’t have a television when I was very young so didn’t realize that I needed so many things that my mother couldn’t have provided.

Mothers know everything until you become a teenager. Almost overnight, they lose it. They have NO idea that to be popular or fit in you have to act in a certain way. Mothers become a hindrance. Obviously mothers were never teenagers or they would know better than to give you a 10:00 curfew when the dance goes ’til 11:00.

Mothers don’t seem to understand that smoking is a necessity to a high-schooler. No, the smartest girl in the class doesn’t smoke, but the one with the bad grades and the first to wear a bra does.

After much cajoling, they eventually let you sign up for Driver’s Ed. Of course, you can never let them find out that your ultimate goal is to get your own car, or they’d never agree. You’ve got to keep that a secret.

Even though pumping gas in the middle of winter is nobody’s idea of fun, step two in the covert plan to freedom is a part-time job to get the money for your own car. Just when you figure you’ll be in your mid-forties before you’ll have enough money to buy even a clunker, lo and behold your mother gets some sense back and offers to match you dollar for dollar with your savings to buy something safe.

Somewhere along the way, another woman becomes more important in your life and your mother takes a back seat. Even although she provides advice, emotional support – even financial support – cooks Thanksgiving dinner and gets just what you need at Christmas, she becomes the forgotten woman.

It’s just as well, really. You know in your heart that she wouldn’t like to see you during your years of what might politely be referred to as ‘hedonism’ but you know full well is nothing like a commercial for Sandals Resorts and much more like King Henry VIII’s ways of drunkenness and debauchery.

Amazingly, after being ignored for years and now seeing you at your worst, she still loves you and comes to your rescue. In a blinding light and a mother’s love, the story of the Prodigal Son becomes perfectly clear.

Perhaps Mothers best handle relationships when you become an adult. For some of us that rite of passage, unfortunately, takes much longer than for others.

When I was a teenager, I read that the older one’s parents become, the smarter they get. Truer words were never spoken. I have learned to keep my mouth shut when my mother utters the most ridiculous statement as far too many times she has been proven right.

As we age, we enter into a comfort zone with our mothers that is almost reminiscent of the coddled feeling of being a child. Now that she has become as smart as you, it’s easy to have conversations as if with a friend.

Mothers do remain aggravating, though. It doesn’t matter how wise, experienced or worldly you become, they feel as if you need constant guidance. That gets under my skin.

But it doesn’t upset me as much as the ultimate betrayal that I will have to face. Eventually she will die.

And that will really piss me off.

My Mother


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  1. Alistair Mair  December 1, 2012

    My concern is your reflective nature these days. Wilma looks great!!!

  2. elayne  December 1, 2012

    all I can say Gordon is WOW.. I do hope you show this to your Mom

    What an amazing tribute to your mother and thank you for expressing our thoughts so well about our own mothers.

    As always I am envious of your writing ability and your honesty and wit. I look forward to the next post. Take care..


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