You don't have to be religious to appreciate this story of King Solomon. I remember discussing it with my mother when I was very young, and the ideas it gave me about motherhood.

Two unmarried women came before the wise King Solomon with a baby, both claiming he was theirs. After listening to each case, the King threw his hands in the air and declared he couldn't decide who the real mother was. Best thing, he announced, was to cut the baby in half and give each woman a piece. One woman stood back, satisfied with the verdict, but the other threw herself at his feet, begging him not to harm the child, even if that meant letting the other woman have him. Thus the case was solved - the child was placed into the custody of the second woman, and the people marvelled at the wisdom of their leader.

And frankly, who wouldn't? Come on - that's a freaking awesome story.

The thing is, my mother explained, only the real mother could possibly care enough about the baby to react in this way. I went away thinking that King Solomon, through his ingenious actions, had unmasked the true biological connections of the case.

Suddenly, today, it occurs to me I may have missed the point. Where in the text does it provide conclusive DNA proof of genetic relationship? It seems to me King Solomon unmasked something much more important than that. Perhaps his wisdom was this: the woman didn't act that way because she was the "real" mother - rather, she was the real mother, because she acted that way.

So this is for all the real mothers out there today - regardless of what definition others may hold. Regardless of whether you've conceived, given birth, passed on genes, or held your child in your arms. Happy mother's day. I recognise you. And you're doing a terrific job.


22 Comments

Vee said...

Wonderful story and a nice way of perceiving it.

Thanks.

andrea_jennine said...

A truly lovely post, Bea. Thanks.

Thalia said...

well, I wouldn't have predicted that that is where your post was going to end up, but you are right, it seems right as an interpretation. Thank you for that.

Bumble said...

Thanks Bea, and we recognise you too. Nice Post.

Rachel Inbar said...

You continue to amaze me :-)

Karen said...

What a wonderful perspective. Thank you for sharing. I have a 3 year old foster son, whom I've had for 2 1/2 years, but I never feel like I'm not his "real" mother. His so-called "real" mother hasn't contacted him in over a year.

The Town Criers said...

I love it, I love it, I love it. This is a great way of seeing that story.

Mary Ellen and Steve said...

What a great post Bea. I had completely forgotten about that story.

Jess said...

What a wonderful take on that story! I remember discussing it with my own mother, too, and as I reread it on here, I admit I was like...WHO would let someone cut up a baby?

Because, you know, it's often those of us who can't have who appreciate and love the children (ours biologically or no) the most.

Wonderful, Bea.

Happy Mother's Day.

millie said...

I loved this post. Thanks.

Heather said...

tears

You rock.

Cibele said...

what a wise post! Thanks for sharing

ak1908 said...

Hi,
Just popping over to check on ya. What a beautiful post and a wonderful way of looking at things. I honor you as well!!!

Mel said...

Thats a great story and I thought of Seinfeld when I read it.
The ep where Elaine has that bike and said she would give that bike to anyone who could make the pain in her neck go away. Kramer made it go away and wanted the bike and ended up getting Newman to decide who got the bike. He said he would cut it in half and Elaine and Kramer could have half each. Elaine said fine, cut the damn bike and Kramer said NO. He would rather see Elaine have it that destroy the bike. So therehore Newman said he was the rightful owner.
I now know where that came from. And as you can tell I watch WAY too much telly.
But thanks for that Bea

steph said...

Perfect. This is what I remind myself at work every day.
It's why I smile at the conclusion of both severance hearings and adoption hearings!

Beagle said...

I LOVE your revised interpretation!

bells said...

Thank-you for the lovely story and the wonderful interpretation. It was very touching.
*hugs* from another "mother at heart"

Reproductive Jeans said...

Awesome way of looking at it--thanks for the reminder--that is fantabulous!=)

Sarah said...

excellent post.

Lut C. said...

That story always left me wondering. Did the bio mother get the baby?
How come I didn't see that was not the point?!

Laura, the (reluctant) baroness said...

I haven't thought about that story in years. Thanks for refreshing my memory, and putting it into perspective!

GLouise said...

very true!

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