Much of my Pelee life revolves around family. My children mean the world to me. So a few weeks ago when Kim Cattrall made the news for parenting comments she made I had a pretty strong reaction. The controversy? She called herself a parent even though she had never birthed any children of her own. Kim got a lot of flak for that.
I’m a mom in the traditional sense of the word in that I gave birth to two children, a boy and a girl. And aside from the friends my kids brought home in their younger days and the occasional feral neighbourhood child, I never felt responsible for anyone other than my own. Sure I went on school trips with my kids where I had to constantly round-up classmates. I helped out at sports events. I carpooled. But at the end of the day, the kids in my charge were always returned to their rightful place. I wasn’t going to pay for their education or stress about their grades. I didn’t have to teach them any life lessons on dating or bullies or balancing a cheque book.
So you probably think I’m going to disagree with Kim Cattrall. I don’t. In fact I get her. While my own maternal instincts have always been focused on my own biological children, growing up I was one of those kids in need of a Kim Cattrall.
Emotionally detached, I guess you could say my mother lacked the natural ability to bond with her children. I think undiagnosed mental illness had something to do with it. Of course I didn’t understand that at the time. But as an adult now looking back, I realize I always gravitated towards those nurturing mother types; the Mrs. Cleavers and Mrs. Bradys of the world. Those that would always welcome you into their home, offering lemonade and cookies.
I spent a lot of my time outdoors as a kid. Most kids of the 70’s did. Summertime meant that I could wander the neighbourhood looking for playmates and while I was pretty content to do so, I was equally content to wander upon a mom out gardening or sipping a cool drink on her front porch. I would linger in her presence making childish observations and small talk, enjoying the feel good moments I so often lacked at home.
On school field trips I enjoyed nothing more than grabbing hold of the parent volunteer’s hand. My mom for a day, I was always sad when it was over. Not because I had to return to school but because I had to return the mom. Mrs. Nutley was my personal favorite. Even into my teens and twenties, I turned to friends’ moms for guidance and inspiration. I knew I wasn’t going to nominate my mom for mother-of-the-year so I was always looking for role models and making mental “how to be a good mother” notes along the way.
To say those moms didn’t help mold me just wouldn’t be accurate. Every moment, no matter how fleeting, left its mark on me. Every one of them touched me and inspired me to be the type of parent I am today. I’m not divulging all this personal information for pity or even praise. I’m just saying, I could have used a Kim Cattrall growing up. She looks to me like she’d make a pretty good parent.