Mother's Day is coming and we'll all take time to celebrate our own mother's, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, and in turn be celebrated by our husbands and children. I could write several lengthy posts about how wonderful my mom is. But right now, I want to remember the second mothers in my life, and the mothers who don't always get the recognition they deserve.
In high school I had a funny, warm, and loving English Lit teacher. I gave her a book that I'd loved and we've been friends ever since. After my first year of college, I came home for the summer. I was in the middle of a horrendous break-up from an emotionally abusive relationship. My best friend was getting married (Yay for her, and she was still a wonderful friend, but it's still hard for that relationship to change). I didn't fit in with the local student branch and my ex-boyfriend made sure in his own manipulative ways that I was ostracized further.
It was hard.
This old teacher became my new close friend. I would go over to her house Sunday nights and talk for hours, or eat dinner, or watch fun old movies. She'd send me home with books and shows. My mom encouraged the friendship knowing I needed it. She really helped me through a tough spot. I will always love her for that. And all the visits we've had since.
She never married and doesn't have any children. But I consider her one of my mothers.
Here in Merced, my kids have fantastic woman who has opened her heart and home to us. Never married, and without children of her own, but she is changing the world and I can't think of a better role model for my kids. They love her and get so excited when I announce we're getting together. Today we saw her at lunch and Max picked up his plate to go sit next to her, calling her "the nice lady." We certainly love this mother in our life.
The mothers without children. I have several friends either in this category or who were for several years, and I know how hard Mother's Day can be. But I want you to know that I see you. I see you aching and hoping and waiting. And I see the way this part of your life has empowered you with greater empathy for those around you. I see your mother heart and the way you reach beyond yourself. You inspire me to be better.
The mothers who have lost children. My heart has been heavy for the few mothers I personally know who have lost a child recently. I want you to know that you are a mother with or without a child in your arms. And this week (and every day really) I think of your sweet babies. Their names and your own run through my thoughts and prayers. Their short lives have impacted my own in meaningful ways. Your hope and strength in the face of unimaginable heartache is amazing. I can't not think of you this Mother's Day.
My mother mentors. These are my Village Green ladies. Those of you who would step outside your home every day and talk with me, or let me spend hours and hours on your couch (looking at you Steph.) Those who visited me in the hospital, comforted me and in turn allowed me to comfort them when it was time. I was just a brand new mom then and I learned so much from all of you. I still do, even if it is from far away on Facebook. What a wonderful community of women we had. I miss that. Our late night walks, and our endless rounds of baby showers. I'm thinking of all of you this Mother's Day.
All the women in my life who have loved and nurtured my kids. You know who you are. The ones who babysit at the drop of a hat, always have good things to say, are welcoming, and kind. The women who encourage me to be better, who talk to me of their passions and dreams, and of my own passions and dreams. The ones with big ideas and big hearts, in the middle of the community, sitting around my kitchen table, making so much with so little. I have so many "second mothers" here.