I’m one of the lucky ones who has a superb biological mother as well as a slew of “other mothers” who keep an eye on me throughout the year. Some are aunts and some are friends of my mother’s, but I have a special relationship with each. These women don’t wait until I ask for help. They send flowers after surgery or I’m-thinking-of-you texts the morning of procedures. I run by their home to drop off a platter my mother borrowed or a Christmas gift and before I realize it we are sipping coffee at their kitchen counter and talking for two hours. When I leave they hug me (I’m Southern) and say they love me, and I know they mean it.
So this morning I woke up thinking about my mother, and then I started considering my surrogate mothers. It didn’t take long, however, for my mind to turn towards all the people in my life who act as “mothers,” even those who might be practically my age, or younger! I have sisters and friends and cousins who fill that maternal role from time to time, stepping in and caring for me (whether physically or emotionally) while loving me unconditionally…I think.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that no, we don’t all have a solid relationship with the woman who birthed us, but we can find mothers in many unexpected places. I’m not writing this post to simply brag about that fact that I am surrounded by strong women who not only stand on their own and accomplish amazing things, but help me stand when I’m not feeling so strong. Anyone with a chronic illness or in chronic pain needs a little more ________ than the average person, whether you want to admit it or not. A little more help, a little more patience, a little more whatever word you want to choose…I’ve probably needed it!
So if you feel like you don’t have a great role model of a mother, just look beyond your immediate family and expand your definition a little, because on this day of celebrating mothers it’s important not to overlook anyone who fills that spot in your life. Even if the woman who is your mother is all you could ever wish for, don’t cast aside or diminish others who do a pretty damn good job, as well.
Whoever it is, make sure they know you are grateful for all they give throughout the year, not just today. (And while you’re at it, thank your “fathers” too. We ask for a lot, so it’s probably wise to cover your bases!)