But what about their mothers, hmm? What about them?

Categorized as 01/17/11 Goshen News column

What about Michael Jordan’s mother?  Did she rue the day she bought her little boy his first indoor basketball hoop, the kind that fits on the top of the door?  Did she ever question his future in the sport when his accuracy at hitting wastebaskets and clothes hampers was less than stellar?  In the dark of the night, did she wrestle with this question, “Exactly how big are his feet going to get?”  I wonder.  Then there were the Wright brothers.  I have a feeling that Mrs. Wright’s nerves were shot by the time those two were all grown up.  You can’t tell me she didn’t catch those boys experimenting with cardboard wings in all sorts of places.  I feel for her.  When one of our boys inquired as to the feasibility of parachuting from our barn roof, I was a nervous wreck for months.  At 17, he is just now allowed out in the yard without supervision.  You mamas who ground your kids for years, I “get” you.  And what about little Maria Augusta Kutschera, later known as Maria von Trapp from the famous musical, The Sound of Music.  Before von Trapp Family fame, though, did her mother get songbird fatigue from a little girl who sang everywhere she went?  When her report cards read, “Maria is a bright child, but she insists on singing her sums in class,” did she throw up her hands in despair?  Threaten the little warbler with a no-singing ban?  We’ll never know.  How, I wonder, did Mrs. Hanna, Jack’s mother, feel about having a menagerie in her back yard?  She couldn’t have known as she stepped in a fresh pile of something-or-other that her son would grow up to be a famous zookeeper.  All she knew was that a creature (was that an ostrich?) was nibbling at the wash on the line and that something that wasn’t a dog was sleeping in the kennel.  Then there’s little Winston.  If he was as sober in his youth as he was as an adult, then Mrs. Churchill had her work cut out for her.  Did she tell corny knock-knock jokes to spark a smile from her boy?  Did she serve his breakfast wearing plastic glasses with a fake nose and mustache just to make him chuckle?  It’s hard, dirty work, gouging a laugh out of a truculent, surly audience.  I know.       Surely it was frustrating, raising a child like Florence Joyner who could outrun her mother by the age of three.  Had she known, during one of their many chases around the yard, that little Flo would one day be an Olympic sprinter with medals around her neck, it may have helped a little.  It might have, but I doubt it.  So do we have the next great inventor on our hands?  A future president?  I don’t know.  I just hope that if there’s an inauguration in our future, the president elect will remember to slick that cowlick down and that I won’t miss it because I’m too busy talking to the vice president’s mother. 

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