Give Me Back My Mother's Day

Families aren't what they used to be, even in Israel. Some 101,000 local families are defined as single-parent.

Those, too, are families. Some kids even live with mom's boyfriend or dad's girlfriend, and those, too, are families. Thousands live with mom's girlfriend and dad's boyfriend. Those, too, are families.

The traditional concept of a family consisting of a father, mother and 1.7 children does not always pan out. The definition of what constitutes a home needs to be updated.

That concept has changed since the days of my youth - then, there was still Mother's Day, not Family Day, and we would buy mom a big flower bouquet, while the few children of divorced couples from "broken homes" (may God protect us) were often sent to distant boarding schools.

This Family Day, as in previous years, I will feel lonely. Many years have passed since I separated from the mother of my children, and on this "Family Day," as on many past, I will not count as "family" according to the standard definition. Heady years of incidental partners who pitched their tent in my children's home haven't sufficed to cover the shame - I'm not a family.

Some time after I split with my partner I went to a musical festival in the north. There I met my friend, a Knesset member, with his wife and three children. I was jealous of the purity, the evident clarity of their family.

Several weeks later the couple underwent a tumultuous split, and my friend had a child outside wedlock, what was once called "illicitly."

It seems to me he is no less happy today than on that same day at the music festival. Maybe his kids are, too.

A forbidden child, a permitted child - we, too, the sensitive, jealous and stubborn, want to feel family. We, too, deserve it.

Until the concept is updated, let's return to the good old days of Mother's Day, so we don't feel quite so glum on Family Day. After all, not everyone has a family, but everyone has a mother.

"Each of us has a name given by God and given by our father and mother," wrote the poet Zelda.

Nowadays there are some children to whom that postulate does not apply. God there may be, but there is not always both a father and mother to give us our names.