Did ya know that skunks give warnings before they spray if they possibly can? My dad worked with wild animals for a time and part of his job involved dealing with skunks. He taught me their habits, showed me how they would stamp their feet in warning, sometimes multiple times, before they would spray.
Skunks are actually very placid creatures. They just want to be left in peace and they have no wish to cause upset or injury to anyone. If they are able to give warning they will. They will give many warnings if necessary, will stamp their feet furiously in a dance-like manner trying to get what is causing them worry to cease doing what it is doing; their spray is a last resort. One can hardly blame the skunk for spraying after multiple warnings have gone unheeded by the one who is creating the threat – and yet we do so often blame the skunk.
There are people like that too, ya know. They don’t want to hurt anyone. They just want to go about their business and be left alone. They will put up with a great deal and give multiple warnings before doing anything harsh to anyone, even when others are causing them pain or doing them an injustice. But eventually they will stop giving warnings and just do what they have to do to handle the threat. Just sayin’ . . .
On another topic: As of this weekend I officially hit the 62 year mark. My youngest son will be 18 in a week and has grown to be a capable, independent and responsible young man. It has been my job for the last 42 years to raise my children and to see to it that they not only grew into competent adults who are an asset to their community, but also into adults who can stand on their own. I have done that. My children no longer need or even desire mothering. They take care of themselves and take responsibility for their actions and the results of those actions. They do not look to me for anything beyond advice from time to time and for friendship. That is how it should be.
I am hereby giving official notice that if my own grown children, the ones I gave birth to, can function without their mom still wiping their noses and fixing their booboos, then so can others. I have done my Mom job. There are only a few small details to tend to and those will be finished when my son graduates school and heads out on his own . . . Bottom line: If I didn’t give birth to you, I am not your mother. My own grown children don’t expect me to make things work for them now, so don’t you expect it when you are doing something you know damn well you shouldn’t be doing. You made your bed, now lie in it. Yes, I know that sounds very mom-like. Forty two years of raising kids will do that to a person, but don’t mistake sounding like somebody’s mom for willingness to be your mom.
As I remove my “Mom hat” for longer periods of time I have found myself wearing the hat of a human rights activist and a writer more often and I like wearing that hat. It fits well and it suits me. I’ve decided to keep it. It’s not as up-close-and-personal as “Mom” – it’s not “making a better world one growing child at a time.” But it has the same ups and downs, the same “making a better world” part and the same wonderful rewards when done successfully, so that’s me now. Just sayin’ . . .