John Andrist: Only a Woman Can Be a Mom


There is a reason why the second and third biggest gift giving holidays in America (Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day) are primarily directed to appreciation of women.

It’s pretty much the same reason why Father’s Day is a distant fourth. And it isn’t because we don’t like fathers.

It is because mothers are . . . well . . . just extra special.

When you see a mature bird leading her ducklings across the road you know it’s a mom.

When you see a young calf bellowing, you know it isn’t looking for its dad.

Men don’t get to experience what women do and feel when they are growing and nurturing a new human being inside their bodies.

The closest it got for me is when I got to be the bone marrow donor for a brother fighting leukemia.

Both my sister and I were good matches for whatever it is they were looking for in a 1980s donor.

I can only imagine the feeling a real organ donor experiences when they use an irreplaceable piece of their body to give life to someone else, because my marrow would regenerate — unlike those who give a kidney or a piece of their liver.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Men don’t get to experience what women do and feel when they are growing and nurturing a new human being inside their bodies.[/mks_pullquote]

All I can know is that it is a heady experience that is difficult to describe.

In this world of trouble imagine what it is like to have carried and given birth to Albert Einstein, or Abraham Lincoln, or one of the Roosevelts.

So I am relegated to feebly trying to express my love of women with flowers, mushy cards, boxes of candy, or . . . a vacuum cleaner?

Goodness knows, I was richly blessed by having a great dad I could love and admire. But there is no way he could be my mom.

And I feel enriched knowing that my own children feel the same way about the love of my life. It’s nearly eight years since we last touched her and knew her presence, but she remains at the center of our collective memories. She is our tie that binds.

There are some things we dads are simply incapable of doing. It was my mom who held my hand and made milk toast for me when I was sick. It was my mom who could heal a skinned knee with a hug and two squares from a Hershey bar.

It was my mom who came to visit my classroom way back in grade school. Dad was also important, but it was for attending my basketball games, and to take me hunting.

It was mom who patched my clothes and helped me pack them when I set off into my own new world.

And it was my mom, not given to teary goodbyes, who was so visibly shaken when I moved out to make my new home with my own bride.

There’s a 98 percent chance you feel pretty much the same way, because it is given to each of us to have one mom, and only one mom, with whom to celebrate this Sunday.

If you still have your mom you don’t need to be reminded to tell her how special she is.

She will be able to see it and feel it herself. Because you are the reason for her being what she is.

Science is awesome

Out of curiosity this week I decided to look into glaciation. And I learned that scientists have identified five glaciation periods in world history, and the last is still with us.

The rest of whatever is eternity our world has been ice free. I wonder where the water was stored?

I’m a firm believer in science, even when it changes its mind. It’s pretty awesome to be able to determine this stuff.

I also learned that the present ice age has lasted somewhere around 100,000 years, and the big glacier that reached well into North Dakota disappeared only 15,000 years ago.

That’s about 30 times as long as what’s happened since Columbus landed on this continent.

But I’m skeptical about the far out predictions. Science is pretty good at figuring out what’s happened, but even your favorite weatherman admits he is guessing about what will happen next week.

So for me, science is awesome at figuring out what’s happened. Not so much about what is yet to come.

They aren’t good fortune tellers.