The Many Faces of Mothering

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This Mothers Day Weekend, I have been musing about motherhood in all of its forms. On this special day, we celebrate our mothers.  As I look back through the years, I was extremely fortunate.  My mother was loving, gentle, and kind, and she lives on in my heart, though she has been gone from my life for sixteen years now.  However, I was also blessed with a grandmother who lived with us and cared for me with deep love, and an aunt who was always a “second mother” to me.   How much more love and security can a young girl need?

I also began thinking of the women throughout my life who also “mothered” me.  As a young woman, a close neighbor provided much support through difficult times, and even though time and space separated us, when she died last year at 95, I felt like I had lost another mother.  A woman who had never had children of her own — who had spent her life with no inclination towards motherhood, became a close friend and mentor to me when my children were older.  She often told me I was the daughter she would have liked to have, and I still remember her special caring and support as a form of mothering.  As we age, our daughters often begin to “mother” us — I can feel this happening already with my own daughter as she watches out for her father and me.

As I write this today, I am thinking not only of my special mother, but of mothers everywhere — those who give birth to children, those who adopt, those who mother step-children and neglected children and the children of friends and family, those whose hearts break over babies lost and children who died much too young, and those who pour their love out to pets and abandoned animals.

Mothering does not necessitate giving birth to a child.  There are mothers all around us who don’t fit the traditional definition of “mother”, and yet their love, support, and gentle guidance have made the world a better place.

Happy Mothers’ Day to ALL Mothers!!!

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