Mother’s Day musings


THEY ACTUALLY begin, Mother’s Day musings, before you can begin the musing itself: like, where the firetruck do you put the apostrophe? I’m a singular Mother’s Day man myself but I may find that the paper prefers a plural Mothers’ Day or (probably) no apostrophe at all.

These musings began before they began because, on Sunday, Mother’s Day – or perhaps Mothers’ or Mothers Day – I just couldn’t get through to my own mother; not unusual, really, since I haven’t been able to get through to her all our lives.

Whatever chores my brother and I did as boys and young men – moving her houseplants around, weeding her flower beds, washing her car – my brother could interpret a tilt of our mother’s head as though it were a step-by-step, illustrated guide: he would put down his potted palm in exactly the right spot in one attempt and get the thumbs up from our mother, the emperor in our family circus, while I had to shift my cactus all over the porch before finally getting it right – or, at least, close enough so my brother could fix it – and I only knew I’d got the imperial thumbs down when I got the calpet in the back of the head.

Last year, one of us – me and my mother – was trying to explain something fairly trivial but a little complicated to the other and it was like a Spanish deaf-mute talking to a blind Mongolian. After a few minutes, we just abandoned the explanation altogether, whatever it was, and looked at one another in silence. “Have you ever wondered,” I asked, eventually, “whether I’m really your child?” She raised an eyebrow, considering the proposition: that would, after all, explain it.

The gap between parents and children never disappears, no matter how good the relationship. Perhaps at a fairly late stage in the parent’s life, the gap may be reversed – the child begins to take care of the mother – but it never disappears.

It’s a magical thing, the connection between a mother and her child, and I envy it. I wouldn’t give up fatherhood for all the tea in China or all the money in the bank accounts (offshore and onshore) of all of Trinidad’s attorneys general added up (and that would take some adding, I’m guessing). Being my children’s father is easily the best thing I’ve ever done and I’d quicker die than deny myself that.

Nevertheless, no one, no one, no one can come between a mother and her child.

Except the Alabama state legislature.

This week, the descendants of those noble defenders of liberty – the liberty, ie, to enslave other human beings – took away the only personal liberty that truly affects us all: the right of women to decide whether or not they will become mothers.

Giving women full choice over their own pregnancies is the only thing that will stop poverty in the Third World and misogyny, exploitation and abuse in the First.

It’s an intractable problem, abortion, because both pro-life and pro-choice arguments are valid: there is a point at which abortion becomes termination of a viable human life – but, up to that point, it is ridiculous to consider a fertilised human egg a human; well, send it to school, nuh.

And, if anyone has the right to say what happens within their bodies, it is the woman who has to decide whether or not to become a mother.

Except in Alabama.

Following the barbaric line of thinking that, insanely, presents itself as being on behalf of God itself, the Alabama law prohibits abortion in even cases of rape or incest.

And the Alabama legislature has now begun carrying out His work.

Funny, really, how the same people who vote steadfastly against government interference in people’s lives can vote for interference in women’s wombs.

Makes you wonder if they ever had mothers themselves.

BC Pires thinks there is no womb for argument. Read a longer version of this column on Saturday at


"Mother’s Day musings"

More in this section