I had all of these great ideas for posts for Mother’s Day, but alas, life got in the way and I didn’t have much time to write. This post is dedicated to my mom and all the other moms like her that chose to take care of someone else’s children. Yes, ultimately we who are mothers have chosen this lot in life. Whatever circumstances that surrounded our pregnancy, we chose to give birth to our children, and that makes us mothers. It is no small task carrying children for 9 months and then giving birth, but I can’t imagine the sacrifice that comes with taking care of someone else’s children.
Let me be clear I have a mother who did take care of me as a small child. I respect and love her for this. When I was 16 my dad married the woman I call “Mom”. Unlike my mother, she made a choice to become an active part of my life. She sent me care packages when I was in college, called me and wrote me letters of encouragement, and continues to do so almost twenty years later. She was 40 when she married my father, her first marriage, and had decided to not have children of her own at that point. Of course I can’t blame her, she inherited a 16 year old, 15 year old, and 12 year old. Within 4 years her first grandchild Persnickety Ballerina was born and they have a very special bond that she nurtures. It’s an anomaly to me when I see her with the babies, especially Baby Persnickety. She never really was around babies and will tell you she hasn’t a clue how to care for them, but that doesn’t keep her from trying and asking questions. She made an effort to be a part of our lives, and never tried to take the place of our mother. She is my mom because she has had a profound influence on my life. She has taught me about the importance of a good savings plan (she retired before 60!) and a good education (she has a few degrees to her credit!)among many other things about life. She was the type of person I wanted to be before I had children, an independent professional woman. She has taken good care of my dad and he is a totally different person than he was when I was a child, because of her. Is our relationship perfect, of course not, none are, but we love each other and support each other. She is my biggest cheerleader when I take on a crazy new project. No matter how outlandish she doesn’t discourage. I remember a number of years ago there was a song on the radio I think Brad Paisley sang it “That He Didn’t Have to Be”. Basically the song was about a man reflecting on the fact that he hopes he is half the dad that his stepdad didn’t have to be. My mom didn’t have to be a mom to my brother, sister, and myself, but I am thankful that she decided to be. We kids were old enough that she didn’t have to focus on having a relationship with us, but it was important to her, and I am thankful.
There are several moms like my mom that choose to be moms to other people’s kids. They can be adoptive parents, stepparents, grandparents, aunts-anyone that chooses to take care of a child they didn’t give birth to. They are a special kind of person and they deserve to be acknowledged on Mother’s Day. Theirs is a love and generosity different from birth mothers. As a birth mother to 3 children, I have a special physical bond with my children as well as emotional just because I carried them in my womb for 9 months. These mothers have no physical or emotional bond, if they are to have a relationship with the child they must forge this bond from nothing. Sometimes this relationship must be forged in spite of a resentful child’s behavior or only seeing the child on holidays or during summer vacation. This can’t be easy. As a birth mother you know that your children will always love you because of that unbreakable bond. They may not like you, but they will love you and seek your approval, whether they admit it or not. However, when you choose to raise someone else’s child, there are no guarantees that you will ever be liked or loved and most of the time they could care less if you approve of anything they do, yet you still accept the task of doing your best to change the relationship for the better.
Please do not mistake me. I am not belittling birth mothers in any way. I am one, and understand full well the positives and negatives of parenthood. All mothers should be celebrated on Mother’s Day. I have been fortunate in my life to have two mothers, a mother who gave birth and cared for me when I was young-I will be forever grateful and have a special connection; and a mom who chose to help me through those awful years of young adulthood with love and encouragement because she chose to be a part of my life and love me. I honor them both on this holiday by taking the lessons I’ve learned and the best traits from each one and passing them on to my own children. Happy Mother’s Day! Even if your mom isn’t close by or even if you aren’t close, remember to say Thank You in some way!