THIS YEAR IT occurs to me that although I was blessed with a high concentration of motherly love over the years - something that continues even now - it comes from more than one source. I tend to already consider myself an amalgamation of the best parts of the best people who have entered my life, but it's worth noting that there are people who have contributed to certain areas in specific ways.
I'm talking about the people who have nurtured me and taught me the best ways to nurture others.
mother is an old school mom, and those of you who have met her know
this to be true. She is the youngest of nine children, and her nickname
was "Baby." She comes from a day and age when women wore dresses
everywhere and married early and embraced a role as homemaker without
hesitation. But she was also a pioneer in that she was renowned in her
family for being very well educated and getting good jobs at local
colleges and buying a home when she was still in her twenties. She was
at once traditional and progressive.
She was and is
musically talented. She began playing the church piano at such a young
age, family referred to her as having "the Gift." And everyone loved
her. It's pretty common knowledge that amongst her nieces and nephews,
Aunt Bessie was their favorite aunt.
My mom has been
many things to many people: daughter, sister, aunt, wife, lover,
Minister of Music, friend, and more. But if you asked her, she'd say the
most important role she's ever filled is that of mother. And she
certainly gave it everything she had, plus some. In reflection, I'm
often astounded at the lengths she went to in order to provide for her
She's a great mother. But she didn't raise me alone.
of becoming an adult is recognizing the humanity of the people in your
life, including their shortcomings. My mother was not perfect by any
means. She made mistakes and miscalculations in judgment like any other
person. It could even be said some of the qualities that made her such a
wonderful, beloved person also led her to make some spectacularly bad
decisions over the years.
When I think of these areas
where I might now be missing critical knowledge of how to deal with the
world - and myself - because it wasn't available from her, that's when I
become grateful for the other mothers in my life. The ones who filled
in the gaps. The ones who nurtured me without even realizing they were
I have a lot of mothers.
THANK YOU to all the mothers in my life. Those of you with both literal
and figurative children, who contribute regularly towards making those
around you better people. THANK YOU.
There are so many
specific people I want to pay tribute to right now, I think my fingers
would bleed to the bone before I could finish typing it all. I don't
want to sound facetious, but honestly: you all leave your mark on me all
the time. I see your hard work. It doesn't escape me; it never has.
don't know if I'll ever be a parent myself, but if that should happen,
the combined lessons of caring and selflessness and patience that I've
received will be passed on. In the meantime, it's my goal to nurture my
family and friends with the same dedication I've received.
the mothers (and fathers doing the work of mothers!) I know, and to all
the women and men who've allowed me to live in their village while the
job of raising me continues...
...Happy Mother's Day!