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OPINION - On this Mother's Day weekend...

by Chris Conley

"Mother" is everything wholesome and all-American. We hear that mom provides us with hundreds of hours of cooking, clearing, first-aid, and nurturing that we can never repay. Our favorite jewelry store has been running commercials reminding us that if we paid our moms, their fair-market value would be more than $1-million.

Fathers Day, on the other hand, has become a once-a-year scold. We're inevitably reminded before that special Sunday in June about how many fathers are absent, and that it "takes a man to be a dad". And Dad is somehow worth less because he often has a paycheck with numbers on it that define him, instead of providing priceless motherly services.

Both images are stereotypes. There are many lousy mothers, but we don't focus on them during the special day set aside to celebrate motherhood. And there are many good dads who don't need the shine taken off their special day by casual mentions about how many have sired children, hiked up their pants, and moved on.

I'm blessed that both of my parents are still alive. That's not a given for people at my age. I also acknowledge that I didn't have perfect parents, but they have both been excellent for me. My biggest annual Mother's Day (and Father's Day) regret is that they live too far away.

A final mother's day cliche... "you never stop being a mom". Yes and no. Mandatory mothering - the bringing up and rearing of children - does come to a definite end. And every parent goes through a tremendous amount of trial and error during those years. The biggest gift my parents gave to me is helping me grow into adulthood. That's not a life-long process; it had a start, a middle, and an end. The best gift that a grown-up child can give to their mother is to let them look at you as an adult and realize they did a good job. 

Happy Mother's Day.

Chris Conley