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by Carolyn Primm
With Mother’s Day approaching my mind and heart travel to memories of my own mother. I was truly blessed with a fun-loving, kind, and hard working mother. She had a delightful sense of humor. We laughed so much together. More and more I hear how like my mom I am, and I can’t think of a greater compliment. But, today, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for those mothers who weren’t mothers.
My first memory of a mother who wasn’t is of Lucy. Lucy was a dear friend to my mother, and since she had no children of her own, she allowed us to play that role. Lucy did many of the things for me that a mother did. First of all, she enjoyed me. I can see her standing at the door smiling widely, welcoming me in. After a proper amount of chit chat, Lucy pulled out cookies or homemade bread. On all those special occasions in life, my graduation, my wedding, and the birth of my children, I could count on Lucy celebrating with me. My success was her success. Lucy was the kind of person who gave unconditional love. Lucy was a mother who wasn’t.
Thelma was a mother who wasn’t when I was raising my own young children. Thelma took great delight in watching my children in programs. She always shared how well they did, even when they didn’t. Thelma took in children as a foster mother. She educated and loved those children into their adult years. Thelma was a mother who wasn’t.
Then, there was Kathleen. Kathleen was our next door neighbor in Colony. What a gift her calm acceptance was to this young mother. She always appeared happy to see me, then, me and my children, one, two, and three, at her door. As I relaxed on her couch, she listened without judgment. Since she was on our party line, Kathleen listened to many of my conversations, and kept track of what happened in my front yard. Yes, she was a bit of a mother hen, but that told me that my welfare was important to her, as much so as if I were her own child. When Kathleen took our little brood to Sunday dinner at the Golden Bell, she always introduced us as if we were her family. Kathleen was a mother who wasn’t.
Then, there is Chrissy, the gentle precious woman who everyone knows would make a perfect mother, but she isn’t. Though she longs for children; has prayed for children, she has none. Chrissy serves as a kind, fun-loving counselor at camps. She is an advocate for children who need special attention and acceptance. Chrissy teaches young children at school with the warmth and genuine caring that only a mother can give. She acknowledges that not all children are easy to love, but she is up for the task, because some children need “extra mothering.” For those children, Chrissy is the mother who isn’t.
One need not bear children to be a mother. Accepting the role of nurturing and supporting young people is the qualifier for that title. This mother’s day, I am thankful for my biological mother, and for all the mothers who weren’t.