Motherhood is not an easy task

Published 12:31 am Sunday, May 9, 2010

Billboard magazine’s famous ranking of America’s most popular songs may be completely wrong for the next few weeks.

The magazine will likely report the most popular artists include Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

For most of the year, Billboard is among the most respected, most trusted measure of success in the music industry.

But they are wrong at least two or three weeks every May. Lady Gaga’s latest hit will be eclipsed by the work of a man of whom you’ve likely never heard — Sir Edward Elgar.

You may not know the name of the man who is perhaps England’s most famous composer, but you’ve almost certainly heard his work.

It’s likely it will be played at least a dozen times or so publicly in our community over the next couple of weeks.

Elgar’s claim to fame for many Americans is that he wrote the music that we most associate with graduation ceremonies — “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The slow march has led millions and millions of Americans down the aisle and across the stage at high school and college graduations for decades.

Interestingly, for many of us, it’s that song that we remember most about our graduation.

Despite tons of effort and preparation on the part of the thousands of commencement speakers, most of their words of wisdom will be quickly fleeting.

Two things seem to actually stick with graduates.

The song, of course, is a quick memory that, just like the wedding march, sets the mood and the expectation of what’s to come.

But the other thing that sticks with graduations is the example set forth by their parents.

Friday night at the Miss-Lou Relay for Life event, a conversation with a co-worker drove that point home.

After talking for a minute about the insanely short shorts teenage girls seem to wear now, the co-worker, who has grown children, relayed a story about a gift from her daughter.

For Mother’s Day, her daughter sent her flowers with a card that read something like, “Thanks for being my mother and not trying to be my friend.”

The point being that after becoming an adult, her daughter realized the value of having a mother who, well, mothered.

Too often, the co-worker said, parents seem intent on being the child’s best friend instead of being parents.

The result is often a lack of structure and decisions that are not in the best interest of the child’s long-term benefit.

Being a parent, particularly a mother, doesn’t seem to be an easy task. That seems especially true during the teenage years when rebelling and sassing seems to come along with puberty.

It must be incredibly difficult to remain unwavering and resolute in one’s parenting beliefs when faced with teen angst.

But perhaps there’s some solace in the hope and belief that one day, that insolent child will thank you for keeping them out of the ditches long enough to hear the famous graduation march.

And maybe, just maybe that child will send you a Mother’s Day card saying “thanks” for not being a friend, but being a mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there and a special thanks to my Mom.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or