To the mothers of others

Every year on this weekend in May we celebrate Mothers Day – a glorious day that I look forward to each year. The definition of Mothers Day according to wikipedia (which I value and use more then any other reference): a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May.

To many people the common meaning of “mother” is a woman who has given birth to, or who has raised, children. Having done both myself, I understand the challenges, the physical, and sometimes emotional, pain involved in both, and I appreciate the special treatment on this day each year. However, I believe there are a large number of women who do not always get the recognition due them for their mothering – those being the mothers of others.

There are countless women who, by my definition, are definitely mothers but are not always recognized as such. These women are the mothers of others. I can think of many of my own friends and family who have not actually given birth, but who definitely qualify as mothers. They are mothers through their nurturing, their kindness, unselfish giving of time, guidance, cooking, sewing, financial assistance, listening ears, open hearts and arms, etc.

I can think of numerous women who are there at the drop of a hat for their “children”, young or grown, in sickness and in health, who give, not expecting anything in return, simply because they love “mothering”. We all know women who feed other women’s children, clothe them, offer them money, shelter, or guidance.

We all know teachers, aunts, or friends who have filled in as the mothers of younger friends whose mothers are far away or who have lost their mothers. A personal example of this is my dear friend Carol who has taken it upon herself to fill in for my mom as she has slipped further away into the hold of Alzheimers. The daily calls I use to get from my mom I now get from Carol. She has added me to her flock and treats me as one of her own, as has my own dear mother-in-law. To both these women I am forever grateful.

Thinking of my own sweet mom, I remember how she was often the mother of others, feeding anyone who ventured into her kitchen. I remember the chest of drawers in our hallway that was full of hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves that she would offer to neighborhood children on cold winter days if they stopped by with a bare head or hands. She was always there to listen, offer a hug, a couple of bucks, and always had a well-stocked fridge and cupboards, ready to soothe any grumbling tummy.

Mothers Day for me shall always be for ALL women because an innate part of who we are by gender (and that being by birth or by choice) is being a mother, a naturally nurturing loving soul. So today, and every day, Happy Mothers Day to all women, and most especially to the mothers of others.

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