One of my son’s favorite books to read (well, be read to him) is Are You My Mother? It’s a story of a little bird that is looking for his mother. He bounces around from animal to animal asking, “Are you my mother?”. He gets the same reply from all of them – no. He finds his mom at the end of the story, thank goodness!
As I was reading this story to him the other night, I started to wonder what defines a mother. We devote a whole day to celebrating mothers, but I’d like to give my opinion on what defines a mother in the eyes of important mothers in my life.
Currently, my role is that of a biological mother to my son. I grew him in my body, birthed him, and am raising him. I think about him constantly, worry about him, and plan for his future. He frustrates me. He cuddles me. He hits me, He smothers me. I give him baths every night. I rock him when he is scared and cheer for him when he is proud of himself. I’m his mother!
My mom has passed the young-mom phase of life and has moved on to being a mother of a different kind. She thinks about her kids constantly, worries about them, and plans for our future. We frustrate her, hug on her, and get our greatest pats on the back from her. As soon as I called my mom to tell her I had lost my daughter, she was in the car within 10 minutes driving to comfort, console, and love on me. She loves my son perfectly. She sacrifices her time, energy, and retirement to help her adult children learn to adult without going insane. She is my mother!
A dear friend of mine lost her child while in his infancy. She grew him in her body, birthed him, and raised him. She thinks about him constantly, worries about him, and looks forward to the future. She shows her constant love by writing notes to him, serving others in his memory, and loving his father. She loves him perfectly. She is his mother!
My friends who struggle with infertility are mothers. They love, the serve, they sacrifice. They find ways to fill their lives with joy while they wait for their own child to love! They think about their unborn babies constantly, worry about them, and plan for their futures. They love children that aren’t their own. Many of my friends have found their babies through adoption! One speaks often about how sure she is that her daughter was meant to be in their family. She is her mother!
There are so many other women I consider mothers! My sisters that are waiting to have children when the time is right. My friend that is expecting her first child. The teachers I worked with as an elementary teacher. My single friends without children that love their nieces and nephews as their own. The kind woman down the street that brings us fresh bread and toys for my son.
Whether you have one child, no children, a house full of children, or an empty nest, you are a mother when you sacrifice, love, and serve a child. A heart of a mother isn’t confined to the traditional mother. Think about the women in your life that should be recognized on Mother’s Day! Whether they are the traditional mother or not, send them some Mother’s Day love!
How do you define a mother?
-Michelle Donner from Poppies and Peonies Floral Design