By Larry Peterson, republished from the Catholic Writers’ Guild blog.
I found myself writing this around Mother’s Day because the legal definition of “gender” has become controversial. I begin with a quote from Cardinal Giovanni Ravasi; President of the Pontifical Council of Culture:
“The love of man and woman, capable of generating life, is a sign that points to God.”
The following comes from personal experience. My youngest brother, Johnny, had just turned two when Mom died. The previous six months she had been, for the most part, in the hospital. Johnny grew up without ever knowing his mom and her hugs or her voice or her caress. His “shrink” told him his problems with relationships were due to the fact he had lost his mom as a baby. Johnny took his own life three years ago.
Bobby was six years old when Mom died. He always had an anger in him that could expose itself to perceived provocations. He passed away suddenly, eleven years ago. His killer was congestive heart failure. I still think his heart had been irreparably broken at age six and it just took another forty years to give out.
Danny was ten. He is still fine, and we are in frequent contact. I was the oldest, and my sister was second. Dad died a few years after Mom, and we tried to be a mom and a dad to our three brothers. We did our best, but we were in way over our heads. We did survive as a family but, as you can see, having no mom had profound consequences (the dad part I will leave for another day).
I move ahead 16 years to the birth of my daughter. Times were changing, and when Mary came along, I was present, and all decked out in my scrubs and sterile gloves (prior to that time, dads were not allowed into the delivery room).
I was sitting at the end of the delivery room table with my right hand holding the top of my wife’s head. I was looking up into a mirror watching the birth take place. And then, Doctor Butler began to lift his arms and in his hands was a baby. Our baby — a girl.
It seemed that almost instantly the nurse was next to me handing me, my daughter. Her face was still gooey, and her eyes were wide open. She was not crying; rather, she kept staring at me. Her eyes were as blue as the sky and as big as saucers. That was my moment, etched within my mind forever. A more profound moment was on the way.
Within moments baby Mary was being lifted from my hands and taken to her waiting mom. Still lying on the delivery table, Loretta reached out for her baby. That was the moment I understood the power and intrinsic importance of a mom. A mother and her child are forever bound by an unbreakable bond that can only be felt between them. I also believe that dynamic is similar to every child that a mom gives birth to.
There are many moms who have, because of whatever circumstance and oftentimes out of love and humility, given their child up for adoption. In my heart of hearts, I do not believe any woman “happily” gives away her own child. Interestingly, the adoptive parents will generally love that child as if she or he was their very own and the children would assuredly love them back.
But, at some point in time, the children have a need arise within themselves to ‘find” their birth mom and/or birth dad. That is because an unbreakable bond is always there. No one can remove it or take it away or replace it. It is what it is.
For some, gender neutrality may be the “feel-good” movement for the present moment. But it is a premise built on quicksand and defies all of the Natural Law. Pope St. John Paul II summed it up best:
“God has assigned a duty to every man, the dignity of every woman.”
Within those words are the inspiration for both men and women to defend what God has created.
Please say a prayer for all those folks who cannot remember what having a mom was like.
Copyright© Larry Peterson 2018