On this special day, I am most thankful for a wonderful mother who has provided a lifetime of guidance, advice, support and, most importantly, love. Granted, words alone fall far short of expressing the importance of motherhood. But since I have yet to buy my mom a gift, these words are my cheap way of expressing my sentiments. Just kiddin' Mom!
What we need to understand today is the overwhelming numbers where a mother is the sole head of the household. That holds especially true in Sikeston. A statistic out this week from an area group shows that about 22 percent of the homes in Scott County are headed by a single female. But that is extremely misleading in our case. The reason is that the vast majority of those single parent households headed by a female are located in Sikeston. So the numbers here would approach 35-40 percent. Add to this dismal fact that the majority of those households are in the low-income category and you begin to recognize the struggle that goes on daily in our community.
Perhaps on this Mothers' Day we should pay tribute to the fathers of our community as well. And by paying tribute perhaps we can put some shame or at least focus attention on the growing number of fathers who ignore their parental responsibilities. I have long said and repeat today - the greatest problem we have in Sikeston is the lack of male role models in far too many households. But that brings us back to the moms who face this challenge each day. Most do an excellent job.
I've used this column before to detail the strength of character that I was taught from my mother. She may cringe from time to time at my current exploits but I always know that there is love in those eyes - even when they narrow and point in my direction with the stern admonition that I probably deserve.
We seem to put an emphasis on the fathers of society because their numbers are lacking in all too many instances. And perhaps sometimes we forget that despite their absence, there is normally a mother who remains and takes care of the day-to-day details that make a home. I know women by the hundreds who serve as both mother and father. Their task is daunting. And in some cases, unfair.
I try to express just how much my mother has meant to my life - past, present and future. But I know I fall short because there is not enough time nor talent nor words to express the importance of that support. All of society should be as fortunate to have that unconditional love.
Take the time today - no, take the time everyday - to say the words and do the deeds that illustrate just how important the mother in your life is. It doesn't take a gift. And quite frankly, it doesn't really take much effort. All it takes is a sincere appreciation of the importance of a strong woman and the realization that your life would be much less fulfilling without that mom.
Happy Mothers' Day. (And yes, mom, I'll get a gift!)