So, my first mistake the other day was asking my dear wife, Myra, what plans she had for Mother’s Day.
When she suggested that I was the one who should be making plans for her special day, not she, I responded before I thought it through, “You aren’t my mother.” That led to a “discussion” that was not dissimilar from other “discussions” we have had during our many decades of blissful marriage that have been mostly unidirectional and at a decibel level that negates any reasonable consideration of hearing aids.
In short, Myra is a woman and women are not people with whom one should trifle.
Since the females of our species are the only people who can be mothers, I thought it appropriate to discuss the difference between the times many decades ago when my father would write a Mother’s Day column about my mother and today, when I write about the mother of my child and my child, who is the mother of the two most delicious young people on the planet. Bias intended!
I can tell you with absolute certainty that mothers across our country have changed a great deal over the past few decades. And in so many ways, they haven’t changed a bit. They are still the same nurturing, caring, aggressively protective humans whose job it is to preserve and defend our futures — our children.
They are just being so much smarter about how they do motherhood.
Years ago — it was during the Arab Spring — former Israeli President Shimon Peres told me that democracy would be impossible to accomplish in the Middle East as long as half the country was still enslaved. He was talking, of course, about the role women were allowed to play in many old-fashioned Muslim societies which meant, basically, no role at all.
Contrast that to the increasingly larger piece of our “man’s world” in the United States that the women in our lives are usurping, and you can see that the evolution of the female of the species is faster and more noticeable in our part of the world. And never shall that particular clock turn back.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the current health care discussion that has been working its way through the Congress. Whether the issue is funding Planned Parenthood, which handles so many health matters for women in Nevada, or the role, if any, for insurance coverage for female health issues in whatever comes out of Congress as a health care fix; or the role of the federal government in matters of family planning, including abortion when necessary, the fact of the matter is that the subject of such consideration is in almost all cases a woman!
And lest there be any confusion, women’s health is all about human health. They are inextricable.
Many decades ago, while Mom was in the kitchen — whether barefoot, pregnant or making cookies — Dad would be making laws that affected the entire family. And the country seemed to tolerate that arrangement.
In the latter part of the 20th century and the entirety of the 21st — so far — it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of women and a sizable number of men no longer see women in such a subservient role. In fact, cookies come in a slice-and-bake roll, shoes are so stylish that women refuse to go barefoot, and pregnancies, well, pregnancies still happen the old-fashioned way. Most of them, at least.
One major change, though, is that women now walk the hallowed halls of Congress in ever-increasing numbers. And, boy, are they smart and capable and confidant and courageous. Just like the men used to be.
But you wouldn’t have known that in the U.S. Senate recently when the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, introduced the country to the Senate’s “working group” on health care. There was not a woman in the group even though whatever solution the group comes up with in the Senate will affect all women in the country. Once again, older white men have taken it upon themselves to decide what is best for women.
And, why not? Don’t men know more about women when it comes to pap smears, breast exams, family planning, cervical cancers and any number of female-only maladies and issues?
Why would anyone think that men can’t and shouldn’t make decisions about women in today’s world?
I can ask those questions here but I don’t dare ask them around my house because the woman in my life will tell me exactly what she thinks about such things. And it won’t be pleasant. I dare say, my daughter will concur although much more forcefully, and her 8-year-old daughter will be even more adamant.
We don’t live in another part of the world where women do not have a say in their own lives. We live in the 21st century where women in America not only have everything to say about their own lives but take it upon themselves to have a lot to say about ours.
That’s just the way it is.
So, on this Mother’s Day the best advice I can give to my male contemporaries is to acknowledge the fact that women rule. And the mothers among them rule even more.
Stop trying to control that which should not be ours to determine and let mothers do what mothers do best. Run things.
If you can do that, you will have a Happy Mother’s Day.
If you can’t, Father’s Day is just around the corner and it will be a bitch!
Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.