Dear Loved Ones:
I want you to know that when you were growing up, I always got a knot in my stomach when Mother’s Day was coming up. On that Sunday every year when I yelled and prodded and threatened you if you didn’t get ready, my mind was kind of hoping we would be too late to make the church services.
Because the male speakers always had angel mothers! Their mothers always listened, nursed scrapped knees for months and sacrificed every thing in their life for their children. I would sit in the pew and look over at you (sleeping, eating the babies Cheerios, reading a book, picking the scab off your knee because I forgot to buy Bandaids, or writing on your sibling’s arm) and think, “I wish my kids could have had his mother.”
You see, I loved and love you enough to want the very best for you in life. I never wanted to be his mother; I just wanted you to have the experience of someone that would devote their lives and every waking moment to you. Because my idea of mothering was not to make you dependent on me, but to make you independent of me. My goal was to hurry and get you raised so you could go out and make a better world.
The other reason I dreaded Mother’s Day was because I felt like I was celebrated under false pretenses. Sure, I had the opportunity and fertile eggs (and your father’s willing sperm) to deliver children but I could never have raised you without the influence of many, many wonderful people who did not use their ovaries to create you. Sometimes a birth mother is only a vehicle to get a spirit and body here to be loved by others.
Loving and nurturing do not automatically belong to only those who have given birth. Aunt Liz and Aunt Lucy helped build your character and shape your personalities. They adored you on the days when I couldn’t stand you. I saw the now and they saw the future.
I look at our immediate family and see what unconditional love the aunts and uncles give to the cousins. I defy anyone to say that anyone could care more about their nieces and nephews than Debbie, Emily, Faith and Andy. Em shared one day that she felt sad that she had not given birth to her step sons. I say hogwash! Not only hogwash but Pshaaa! The love connection so far transcends the birth canal.
You know, your Dad was practically raised by his mom’s Aunt Merle and Uncle Maurice who never married but lived at home with Grandma Ashe. Uncle Maurice taught him to love the outdoors and to fix cars. Aunt Merle thought he walked on water and bought him butter for his sandwiches when it was so expensive and his parents ate only margarine. It was his aunt who taught him to read.
Grandma Helm’s mother was Sarah Elizabeth and she was one of six daughters. Only three of the daughters ever married, but the others were teachers and entrepreneurs and had their own homesteads. They taught, loved, corrected, guided, bankrolled, bailed out, clapped for and all the other things proud parents do.
So, on this Mother’s day, I want you to know that while I was not the perfect Mother and you were not the perfect kid, I am sure glad we connected. You have turned out to be wonderful human beings in spite of, or because of, my mothering.
The very best gift anyone can receive in this world is the knowledge that they are loved and accepted. Thank you.
I treasure you and yours forever.
PS: You need to call or email the people in your life who have helped you to become the fine person you are. A thank you from a former student or relative will make the day for someone feeling less than on this commercialized day. Trust me.
PPS: Our very best mother is Mother Nature. So go for a walk today and really, really look at all the beautiful things we have been given and be grateful you are a part of it.
PPS: Yes, Andy, every moment is a teaching moment! So thanks for letting me share my heart with you.