The Mothers of All Living.


The role of woman in this life is not one I’ve come by willingly. In fact, even now in groups of people, I end up at the man’s table. Not by nature, but by default; women, sooner or later, prefer to discuss their children. I am the distinguished breed: I am childless.

Not politically-active, this childless female is nevertheless devoutly pro-life. Children, distinct from the vessels out of which they come are, in my estimation, deliberate acts of God; many a glowing star has been borne of the most bewildered and completely unprepared. Lord knows, I almost became one of them.

A few weeks ago, I faced a terror. It was not an unfamiliar terror. Once before, over a decade earlier, I’d confronted the possibility of having conceived. This time, however, the man was a known factor in the equation. Moreover, his mother was, and is still, very much alive.

Every mother of every son I have known has, sooner or later, become a contender. The closer I have gotten to a man, the greater his mother loomed on the horizon. It is as if I was to pass the ultimate test, without either warning, training, or time to study. Needless to say, this is my ultimate failure; I cannot mother another’s son.

How many mothers do we need? Should a man’s mother be a woman’s friend? To what terms do they come? If the building is burning, who gets carried out first?

Sooner or later, unless I behave like mother, I am cast aside to fend for myself. Surprise; this is what I do anyway. If the world doesn’t like the way I fend, well, tough; I mother myself.





© Ruth Ann Scanzillo


all rights. Thank you, mum.

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