Does the replicator make roses? And if so, can I transport them to my long-suffering mother in New Jersey? As usual, I waited until the last minute to get her a gift, and I can't use being stuck in the Delta Quadrant as an excuse.
Star Trek has always been a family affair, and plenty of parents passed down their love of Star Trek to their children.
For this Mother's Day, let's recognize a handful of instances of motherhood and the maternal instinct! After all, to hold one's nose at Mother's Day would be as inconsiderate as sneering at a Bajoran on the Promenade offering Peldor Joi at the Gratitude Festival.
The first biggie I can think of is Amanda Grayson, the Earth woman who married Vulcan Ambassador Sarek to bring us Star Trek's greatest creation, Spock. We meet her on the diplomatic “Journey to Babel,” an adventure episode that does, here and there, slip into a tiny bit of Mad About You-esque familial banter. “Why did you marry her,” Spock asks his father when the human among them accesses her emotions. “At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do.”
Like another mother on this list, Amanda Grayson extends her grace and love to raising Michael Burnham, helping her to embrace being a child of two cultures like her foster brother Spock.
The Enterprise-D's captain made his disassociation from personal relationships core to his character; Picard didn't ever want to see any snot-nosed kids on his Bridge. However, that was a rule he quickly broke when he made boy genius Wesley Crusher an acting ensign. But romance was something he kept at arm's length, which is probably why Counselor Troi's mother Lwaxana Troi got such a kick out of flirting with him.
Deanna was all about openness and expressing your feelings, but even she would blush when her mother, and her valet Mr. Homn, would pop by. Though the Betazoid Ambassador might have appeared flighty or embarrassing, the truth is that she was actually pretty sharp, and usually right. JUST LIKE YOUR OWN MOTHER THAT YOU TAKE FOR GRANTED! Even the mighty warrior Worf referred to her as “an admirable woman.”
Lwaxana's daughter Deanna Troi had her own child in the Season 2 opener “The Child.” She is impregnated by a glowy entity, quickly comes to term, and almost immediately thereafter her son Ian looks like he's ready for fifth grade. Do the math on this, he isn't staying til the end of the season. Soon, Ian sacrifices himself to save the crew, but maybe lives on as his original self, or a version of himself, which was an alien that wanted to “live through” a different life cycle as a human. It's a little confusing, but Deanna is very understanding about the whole thing! Personally, we think this whole experience prepares her for her future children, Kestra and Thaddeus, with her husband Will Riker.
Keiko O'Brien accompanies her husband Miles to Deep Space 9 after staring a young family aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. When the starbase didn't have an arboretum or a need of a botanist, Keiko opens a school for all the children living on the station, deeply invested in teaching her young pupils all sorts of knowledge. However, this was not an easy time for Keiko, or anyone really, as they found themselves in a tumultuous time period — what with the precarious situation with the Cardassians, the presence of Vedek Winn, the emergence of the Bajoran wormhole, the bombing of her school, oh, and yknow, having her body possessed by a Pah-wraith.
Despite all this, Keiko took every opportunity to build a stable and loving home on the station for her, Miles, and their two children Molly and Kirayoshi. She even invited a Cardassian teen to move in with them for a brief period of time. She also handled the situation as best she could after Molly fell into an energy portal, became a feral child in a prehistoric era, and then returned 10 years older. Typical mom things. Her flexible nature and dedication not only to her family, but her community ensures there was always someone present to make something good out of a not so ideal situation.
On Voyager, Captain Janeway worked hard to be a figure of authority, putting the needs of the crew and its mission, ahead of any of her interpersonal relationships. She had a love interest, but he was tidily back on Earth.
When Seven of Nine came aboard in the fourth season, that's where she was able to expose her maternal side a little bit more. Seven of Nine was an adult, but in certain matters, had the mind of a child, and Captain Janeway took personal responsibility in nurturing her intellectual and social development.
Her relationship with Seven would eventually nurture Janeway's role as a caretaker, raising the children aboard the Voyager in her own way, which extends to her hologram providing structure and support for a group of misfit teenaged stowaways aboard the U.S.S. Protostar.
Seven of Nine
The series pays Seven's development forward, of course, with the character Naomi Wildman, whose mother was often away on missions. The half-human, half-Ktarian child was the first born on Voyager and she looked up to Seven of Nine (and her Borg pursuit of perfection), who would take a few minutes away from poking around the Astrometrics Lab to bond and play kadis-kot with the lil moppet from time to time.
Now, let's not be so carbon-prejudiced. One of the most dynamic mothers in Star Trek, and certainly one of the ones with the highest body count, was the mother Horta from “The Devil In The Dark.”
As more and more people mysteriously die in the pergium mines of Janus VI, it took a mindmeld from Spock (and some medical miracles from Bones) to realize that the dastardly rock monster is, in fact, merely a worried parent trying to protect her brood! The next time you see silver orbs in a cave, leave them alone! Everything is beloved to someone, somewhere in the galaxy!
Who could believe the first Klingon in Starfleet, Worf, who is deeply proud of his heritage and values, was raised by two human parents, Sergey and Helena Rozhenko, on a small farming colony on Gault.
Following the Khitomer Massacre in 2346, where Worf, one of the few survivors, was orphaned, the Rozhenkos fought to adopt the young Klingon and raise him as one of their own along with their son Nikolai. Through Sergey, chief petty officer aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid, and his wife, Worf learned to balance his two cultures in a loving and supportive family unit who encouraged him in his academics, extra curricular activities, and career in Starfleet. Not only that, Helena took to cooking him his favorite Klingon meal, Rokeg blood pie, and embracing his culture as well. Worf's foster mom and father would go on to raise Worf's son, Alexander, when he suddenly finds himself a single mother. It takes an exceptional mom to raise not one but two fierce, honorable, and compassionate Klingon boys!
Captain Carol Freeman and Beckett Mariner would have preferred that the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos didn't know they were mother and daughter serving aboard the same starship; after all, the captain runs a tight ship and Mariner just so happens to be "the most demerited officer in the fleet." While their personalities often go together like oil and water, these two prove to be what the other really needs. After all, who else can Carol call upon for some "dangerous, half-baked solutions" and "off-the-books" missions when their second contact missions don't go exactly as planned.
Never believing her daughter takes Starfleet and her responsibilities seriously, Carol gets to hear from Mariner herself, via an interview with Victoria Nuzé, "Well, there's a family you're born into, right, and then the family you choose. I got both here on the Cerritos. If you're measuring by heart, this is the strongest ship in the fleet, because we've got the best captain at the helm, my mom."
Star Trek Mothers Know Best
We're going to leave out the Borg Queen on this list, but we invite you to make a case on social by tagging us @StarTrek!
With that, now, get on the phone and tell your mother (or a mother) that you love her!
Portions of this article was originally published on May 9, 2015.
Jordan Hoffman (he/him) is an entertainment writer in New York City, whose work can currently be read at Vanity Fair, Decider, and The AV Club, and is the current chair of the New York Film Critics Circle. He is the co-author of The Star Trek Book of Friendship and has moderated Star Trek panels in New York, London, Las Vegas, Chicago, Germany, and at sea.
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