Sunday, May 8, 2011


      Photo: Louise Bourgeois' sculpture "Maman" 

     I’ve often wondered what abused children feel about Mother’s Day.  What do they think about all the advertising exhorting them to pay tribute to their mother for all the loving guidance, encouragement, protection and support she’s never given them? 
     What do they make of the gift-giving, floral tributes, dutiful telephone calls and loving lunches to be given to the woman who gave birth to them, who holds the powerful and venerable title of “mother” but who doesn’t deserve it?   
    What do they think of doing to the woman who beat, kicked, slapped, insulted, burned and humiliated them? Abusing a child is condemning him to a damaged life so, what kind of tribute should be paid to someone who’s abused trust and innocence and made a child suspicious and wary of others for life? Solitary confinement, drawing and quartering? A day in Abu Graib?
     What kind of flowers would you send to an abusive mother? Dead black roses with plenty of thorns? Weeds and poison ivy for evil and wickedness? A wreath of nettles with black ribbons mourning the death of motherhood in her case?  
    What kind of gift does cruelty merit? Arsenic-laced chocolates? A rack, handcuffs, a water-board?
    What kind of mother abuses her own child? Obviously, a cowardly one, deserving of the utmost contempt. Who would raise a child with hatred instead of love, sneers instead of encouragement, hits instead of protection? Imagine being attacked by the very person whose job it is to protect you. If your own mother hates you, what’s the world going to do to you?  
    On Mother’s Day, do abused children make reproachful phone calls with angry accusations? Send their mothers cards full of curses and bitter reproaches?
    Or do they send Mike Tyson to beat the crap out of her, bite her ear off, pull her hair, scream at her, belittle her and tell her she’s bad, evil, twisted, insane, selfish and cruel?
    It must be tempting.                                   
    What would you do?
    Perhaps grown abused children don’t mark the day at all because it has too many ugly memories of having their sovereign self beaten into non-existence, their accomplishments ignored, their dreams held in contempt.
    I like to think that, on Mother’s Day, abused children choose to celebrate themselves instead, knowing that they mothered and comforted themselves as best they could. Perhaps they send themselves a mothers’ day card and flowers. Why not, they certainly deserve them. I hope they refuse to waste one iota of reclaimed life on an evil female who once had total control over them and abused that power. I hope they prefer to celebrate the fact that they managed to rise above the slaps, whips and harsh words to live a generous, loving life even if it is a bit bruised, broken and patched in places. 


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