Mothers and the Grandmother Hypothesis

Last year my Mother’s day Musing was “ All children should be so lucky—to have a mom that leads the way—
Make Way For Ducklings, lives on!” That pretty much sums it up but here are a few more additions to what we might consider when pondering feelings embedded in what being a good mother might mean. No surprise these ideas come from the world of story, poetry and song lyrics that tell a story,

The first comes from words and music by Joan Baez, Honest Lullaby.  It is easy enough to find the complete song but the final refrain says is all:

“And if you should ever wonder
How the years and you’ll survive
Honey, you’ve got a mother who sings to you
Dances on the strings for you
Opens her heart and brings to you
An honest lullaby”

The next gem comes from a father who tells his daughter, ” I am sure one of the reasons we’re here for is to make certain that those whom we love fall asleep each night assured of that love, ”
From To Be Sung Underwater, Tom McNeal

A Mother’s Day Greeting could not be complete without adding a line from the infamous poem, The Reading Mother:
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be
I had a Mother who read to me.

And if that is not enough, lets add one piece of information that comes from the world of Science “ Thank You, Grandma, for Human Nature.” The findings come from a biological theory: “the grandmother hypothesis” that shows that biological mothers can’t keep babies going all by themselves. They need help and that help comes from grandmothers.  The idea is that grandmotherhood developed in tandem with our long childhoods, that long immaturity which allowed us to grow large brains and become smarter.   So on Mother’s Day, lets toast mothers and think to add an extra toast for the grandmothers behind the scenes. Children need both.


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