The day is fast approaching, the annual event that shall remain nameless, in hopes of not hurting the infertiles out there that haven't yet been blessed with children. This will be my first nameless day. I have a feeling since my husband will be working, and I'll be taking care of our lil man and doing mundane chores that the day will pretty much come and go with no real celebration. And that is fine with me. I haven't ever celebrated this day with gusto.
My mother, lets just say, was difficult. I have since found out that she suffers from psychological problems. But a 5 year old doesn't know what that means. She has been referred to in my life as "the egg toter". She gave birth to me, but nurture me, she did not. That's where the "Other Mothers" come in.
I've had several that have stepped into the role of a mother over the years. The first I can think of is a blessed soul that I'll call, Spice. Spice is a lady that I met when I was about 4 years old. Her husband and my Dad worked together. When my dad expressed a need for someone to pick me up from school, she offered to help. This culminated into spending summers with her as well. We did everything together. We ran errands, went swimming in her neighbors pool, washed dishes, cleaned house, planted flowers, weeded the gardens. It was just perfect. Best thing was that she allowed me to do things that I'd never done before. It was always peaceful at her house. She had 2-3 cats all the time. I think I learned my love for the furry felines from her. It was a summer filled with everyday tasks, but for me, it was a window into the normal life that I didn't get at home. We cross-stitched and painted and napped when we wanted. She showed me how to do each task with the greatest of ease, and if I messed up, well that was OK. No need to worry, we'll fix it. Spice was a huge part of my childhood, and continues to be a best friend in adulthood.
I also had my Grandma, we will call her Sugar. She was a petite lady, 4 ft 9 inches, her stature said nothing for how large her heart was. She and my mother didn't get along well. But I always knew that she loved me. When it had been awhile, and she hadn't seen me, she would come over to our house, unannounced, and bring me a surprise. She drove, most of my life, a giant green 4 door sedan. Our drive way went right past a big window in the kitchen, so when she drove past, it filled the window with green. I'd see her and met her in the driveway. She would tell me that she was thinking about me and wanted to bring me something sweet. Usually, it was my favorite candy, Sk!ttles. To this day, I can see a bag and think of her. It wasn't about the candy, even when I was little. It was her way of connecting with me and letting me know that she was there for me.
When I was in my freshman year of college, I took a class (don't beat me up) called Mate Selection. Okay, I was taking a lot of science and math and I needed an easy A! So for the paper for the class, I had to interview a couple, and the couple I knew that had been together the longest was my grandparents. I learned so much in that interview. I learned that when you "find Mr Right, you just know. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise." At the time, all I wanted was a career. My grandma said,"One day, you will want a child." I said, "no I don't think so. Im not interested in being a parent." I was so wrong, and she was so right!
I also learned that a beautiful marriage was right before my eyes my entire life. The night before we buried my sweet Grandma, we were all in the visitation room. My grandfather held her hand, and we all circled around holding hands. There were some special prayers said and before we left the room, I looked back. My grandfather, being 6'7', leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. He said "Goodnight Sweetheart."
I found out after she died from a lady at church that she, and other friends, had prayed for decades for my father and I, that we would come back to God. She was a serious prayer warrior, her ministry. And although never pushy, she steadily prayed for most of my life for us to have a relationship with God. I can't explain how special that is to me. To know, someone never gave up on us. No matter how far we strayed, she never gave up on us.
My next two "other Mothers" go together. We'll say that they are "Everything Nice". I moved to a rural area, just outside my college town, when I was a sophomore. It was really so I could have room for my enormous pet collection. There I met two ladies, both near and dear to my heart. Mae was the first lady I met. She was in her seventies. She lived in a big old house close to mine. She raised goats, or they raised her. She fed, milked, vaccinated, wormed, trimmed hooves, and whatever else they needed. They kept her company and kept her busy. I met this lady and we became instant friends. I helped her with the goats, she mowed my grass. We always had this thing going that we never kept score. We were a team, a team of women that were going to get it done, just stand back and watch. She showed a city girl the country way of doing things. I am forever changed, a country girl at heart. In the spring, we planted a garden, and I promise, to this day, those were the best tomatoes I'd ever eaten. I ate tomatoes in the summer for every meal. She always had a bowl of stew or a banana bread for me. When she made one for her, she made one for me. She lost her beloved son to a virus that attacked his heart at about age 40. She also lost her husband. Now, she was doing it on her own. She was a remarkable lady, to say the least. The love we had for each other was the so genuine, like we were blood. I'd do anything for her, she'd do anything for me. It wasn't about the doing, it was about being together and enjoying life. Which we did, abundantly.
When my rent got too steep in the little house I was staying in, I met Mae's niece, Mary. And what a blessing. She had a small house on part of her property that she let me rent. We did much of the same things together as Mae and I did. Mary had a collection of random animals at her house as well. Guineas, pot bellied pig, chickens, cows. You never knew what she would come home with. Mary was always my rock. I think she was everyone's rock. She could pick me up from the darkest places. After my Dad died, there is a period of time that I simply cannot remember. I know I was at home in my little house with my animals. They were always fed, but I don' t think I ate. Finally, she broke me. She came to my door at 10:30 and said that I needed to come to her house for lunch at 11. She didn't give me a choice. I did and that started me on the road out of my cavern. She just knew exactly what I needed, when I needed it. I had grieved long enough, and I needed a swift kick in the pants!
One of my fondest memories is on our every day walks together, picking mulberries from the bushes and eating them right there. Our fingers and mouths were stained purple, but that fresh tasting berry was priceless. On our walks, Mary would tell me all kinds of stories and show me how to do things that I never thought I could. She gave me a place to stay and we etched a place in each others hearts.
All four women had a huge impact on my life. Interestingly enough, 2 out of the 4 didn't have children. But they were just as much a blessing in this young girl's life as anyone could be. It was the kindness and love they showed me. Not through expensive things, but through the little things. A hug or phone call, just being together doing nothing in particular. They all lifted me up, kept me feeling loved and were all true friends. All of them, "Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice", that's what this little girl is made of. A little piece of them is forever in my heart. They molded and shaped the person I am today.
Happy Other Mother's Day to all the beautiful women out there. Whether you gave birth to, fostered, adopted, snuggled, touched, loved, or adored a child, you are to be admired for your contribution to the beautification of a life.