Image by chris.corwin via FlickrThere's nothing worse for a mother than to see her child suffer, just ask the Welsh goddess Ceridwen, who had the bad luck of giving birth to some of the ugliest children ever born. Take her oldest son, Afagddu (yeah! Try to survive middle school with that moniker). Afagddu was so hairy that people mistook him for a shag-carpeted ottoman. His teeth were rotten. His nose looked like a grapefruit. And his limbs were so scrawny and akimbo that his father once mistook him for moss-covered kindling.
Think of every mean name you've ever been called. Think of every person who teased you. Now multiple that by the entire planet: Now you've got poor Afagddu's childhood. He was the butt of so many jokes that even goats laughed when he walked by. It was a bad scene.
Mothers can do a lot for their children, but there are some things they can't do. Mothers can't take their children's SATS. They can't shield their children from every hurt and insult. And they can't take Afagddus and turn them into people you would want for your secret boyfriend. All mothers can do is try and help their children make the most of what they have, which is all to say that Ceridwen had a plan.
If Afagddu couldn't be beautiful, she decided he could be wise. In fact, she decided he could be the wisest man who ever lived. She totally signed him up Kumon. Plus, she decided to make him this special wisdom potion. It took a year and a day to boil, and when it was done there were only three drops of it -- but that was all Afagddu would need. Unfortunately, one of the drops fell on Cerdiwen's younger son, Gwion Bach, who licked it right up, so poor Afagddu only became smart enough to know how ugly everyone thought he was, which made him really depressed.
Now, when you've been cooking something special for a year and a day, and one of your kids snags it when it isn't even for them, it kind of pisses you off. I mean, just think how annoying it is to stand there stirring instant pudding, and that only takes one minute. We're talking A YEAR AND A DAY OF STIRRING A FRICKING POT ON THE STOVE. It'd turn Cinderella into a bitch. So we kind of have to forgive Ceridwen for getting so mad at Gwion Bach that she ate him. (Besides, it's not like he was dead forever. He got to be reincarnated as some totally famous bard, which was cool for him and which just goes to show that bad mommy moments are not irredeemable.)
Ceridwen reminds us that mothers can't solve everything, even when they're goddesses. Mothers can point us toward paths, but they can't choose them for us, and they sure can't strap us on their backs and make for the horizon.
Channel this goddess: Usually around science fair time, but you'll know when else it's appropriate.
Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Tell me what you need in the comment section and I'll see what I can find.