Every one of us comes to a point when we realize we were raised by more than one woman.
We peek around the corner of this idea while we are young, when we choose to keep secrets from our own mom but exchange discrete whispers with an aunt. When we go to bed early or stay up late in our room, yet casually linger in the kitchen at our friend’s house, drying dishes while chatting away with her mom.
We swallow the It-Takes-a-Village truth first hand when our own friends and family and community fill in, transform, and become the Other Mothers for our children and we become one for theirs.
Mother’s Day celebrates the woman who raised us, yes. But there are Other Mothers, too.
Other Mothers encourage, pour into, love on, laugh with, cheer up, and pray over children not their own.
Let’s acknowledge the deep impressions made by our Other Mothers; those who’ve helped round, ease, and nudge us into the adults we are today. And the Other Mothers who come alongside us now—those who help mold and press and guide our children—one’s for whom we are so grateful.
To the mothers of our friends — who fed us, let us run away to, and listened without comment during carpool confessions. To this day, they offer advice so gentle and kind. They make us feel special as a guest and simultaneously exactly like family, part of the fabric of their history.
To the friends of our mothers — the ones who know her heart and hold it safe, in turn, knowing and keeping us, protected in their own. Because they love our mom, they never stop. They cleared a corner of their heart for us long ago. They are proud, Like most of our Facebook statuses, and never forget where we came from (even if we do).
To Coaches — who help us stack blocks of drive, determination, hard work, long hours, and true friendship. Because of you we know what goals, perseverance, and teamwork looks like and can produce.
To Teachers, academic and spiritual — who offer their souls in their time and commitment, showing what a women is willing to do to—is capable of doing, to educate the next generation. They come early or stay late. Dive (or chisel) into our brains, hearts, spirits, wanting—urging us to use what we’ve been given. They show us true wisdom is more than head knowledge; their lessons are seeds which blossom years after we leave the classroom.
To our Mentors — who show us the ropes, give us the scoops, set us in our right crowd, wanting nothing more than to watch us fly.
To the Birth Moms — There are many emotions here, but one thing is for sure: Thank you.
To the Step-Moms — who stepped in, stepped up, even if (when) they got stepped on (at least in that tricky part in the beginning). You grace our lives and give of yourself, offering a special kind of Mother-love, along side your friendship and support.
To the Aunts — who love us like your own, but in a special way (probably because we aren’t your own) and often look more like us than the one who gave us life (Your daughter is beautiful./Thankyou!). Whose patience runs long and criticism stays short. You have our like-a-daughter love and gratitude for your open arms, open homes, and open heart.
And to those very extra special Aunties, you know the ones — (I wonder if this day is extra hard for you?) For you do so much mothering, yet never get breakfast in bed. You are the extra special Other Mother. You (and you alone) contain reserves to love differently, to supersede our expectations with your fun and laugh and Momdoesn’tletmedothisness. Without your own kids, you pour into us all that you can, filling up our cracks. You offer your best and send us home before we ever get close to seeing your worst. You deserve our love and gratitude and the acknowledgement of your heart’s rich and fruitful work in our lives.
For those of us finding ourselves as Other Mothers in other children’s lives – let’s take this job seriously (and remember, there isn’t a ton of responsibility … they aren’t ours! And we can always send them home! Yay!)
To all the Other Mothers, past and present, Happy Mother’s Day.
And thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
If you have an Other Mother you want to thank, consider sending them a card (I hear Hallmark has all sorts), give them a call, or forward them this post!