The Most Important Choice
I'm tempted to make some sweeping statement like "a mother because she must be, a father because he chooses to be" ... but I know there are no universal truths, no matter how much we wish for them.
But what I want to speak to, on this eve of Mother's Day, is the most important role a mother plays: the choosing of the father of her child.
That first responsibility is perhaps the greatest. It will shape that child like no other decision she makes.
I suppose there are some women who should never be, or should never have been, mothers. Temperamentally unsuited, lacking any maternal predisposition or skills, maybe cold or damaged.
But despite all that, even that mother can salvage her child through the most basic of acts: by either luck or good judgement, breeding with a male who lovingly takes responsibility for the being he helps create.
I know humans I consider to be good mothers. And, at this age, I am more and more aware of the humans who turned out to be exemplary fathers.
I wasn't lucky enough to have experienced good fathering as a child (although I have been extremely fortunate to have been nurtured by my partner, the man I believe to be the finest father in the world), so I am sensitized to what a good father is, and isn't.
Even at this late, late stage in my life, I have benefited from that nurturance. I can't imagine why I was given this gift.
And I encourage anyone reading this who, as a child, shared my belated experience -- that of having benefited from the kindness, patience and wisdom of a man who met the challenge of being a good father ...
Tell your mother how grateful you are for the choice she made.