Miele’s Musing — 5/10

Mother: the Wonder Woman

BY PUBLISHER EMERITUS ARMAND MIELE

Ah! Mother’s Day. Don’t we all wish at times in our lives that we could be babies again, even if for a day, even an hour? Don’t we wish we could be held in our mothers’ arms? Your mother is always there in your soul, your mind, and your heart. Every day should be Mother’s Day. Every day you should honor your mother, or honor her memory.

Here’s a story I read years ago. A 96-year-old woman got sick. As she was brought into the hospital, she was moaning, “My baby, my baby.”

Her doctor became concerned, wondering whether there was something to this moaning about a baby. He called the police, who went to the woman’s little house to find out if there was a child there. That’s right: the baby was her 72-year-old son.

Mommies out there, don’t laugh! You would do the same. Ask any mommy. No matter what the age of her child, he will always be her baby.

Nowadays, more than ever, we have children growing up with “non-biological” mothers. A woman who becomes a mother through adoption is just like any other. She instinctively sacrifices almost anything to raise her child. Even a live-in nanny can become like a mother to children whose real mothers are rarely home. The mother’s instinct is in these women, and they worry about their children, no matter what their age.

Some people never know their biological mothers, unless they go out and find them. Often when an adopted child is growing up, he has no thought about whether his mother is “biologically” his or not. The questions come about when he has his own family. He becomes curious, and would like to have some answers. Why did my mother give me up? Was it because she couldn’t take the pressure of having a child? Was it my fault, somehow? Did I do something wrong? Do I have any brothers, sisters, or other blood relatives?

Everyone is happy, at first, when the grown adoptee finds his biological mother, but the process can hold some surprises and disappointments. The adoptee might feel resentful or guilty, and these feelings are confusing. A person who grew up without parents might see how years of not getting held or hugged was a loss for both the parents and the child. Maybe he begins to wonder about his mother’s sorrow at never witnessing his childhood pleasures and pains. He begins to understand a little of what it means to be a mother, what his biological mother had to go through for him to come into the world, and what his non-biological mother has been going through to raise him to be who he is.

I have often wondered, does it matter that I wasn’t adopted? Is there a difference? I don’t believe so. What I know is that my mother, with all of the heartaches and the problems of raising five children during the Depression, had to be a dedicated, loving woman. No washing machine, no dryer, only human dishwashers.

For me, mothers are wonder women. They dedicate their lives to their families, when a child comes along. It’s an enormous responsibility. It takes endurance and strength. The mother becomes the link that keeps the family together. Those of us who can only reminisce about our mothers feel that tie the most strongly.

On this Mother’s Day, if you are lucky enough to have your mother still with you, go give her a great big hug, and don’t forget to do the dishes today!

Publisher’s Note: This, and many other popular Miele’s Musings columns, are reprinted in Armand Miele’s book, Born Minus: From Shoeshine Boy To News Publisher, An Italian-American Journey. Mr. Miele’s book is available for purchase at www.bornminus.com, and now available for loan through the Ramapo Catskill Library System at Suffern Free and Nanuet Public Libraries.