Besides being a proper-noun, “Mother” is also both a noun and a verb, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found my definition of mother has broadened. I choose to include all the strong women I know and admire who provide love and guidance, support and encouragement, all to help make this world a better place to be.
We all have our own lists, on mine are Linda and Jeanette, the crossing guards in my neighborhood; Carol, Cathy, Jan, Katie, Katherine, and JoAnn who are in education; Denise, Ginny, Suzanne, Vicki and Vickie all work in medicine, and Barbara, Carla, Lisa, Kate and Nancy who are some of the many, many who extend themselves in volunteer and public service capacities.
Being colleagues with Elaine, Ellen, Evelyn, Ingrid, Irene, Louise, Nancy and Sarah later grew into deeper relationships when I lost my own mother in 1981. Barbara, Lucy, Phyllis, Rosemarie and Rosina were friends’ moms who included me in their circle, and by marriage I am lucky enough to be related to Ann, Barb, Denise, Janet, Leslie, Lisa, Meg, Peg and Sally.
Christmas of 1992 was when I met Doug’s family for the first time. As I realized on my own, a number of years later, it was also the first holiday season Doug’s family went through after the sudden passing of Jim, Doug’s dad. Jean, and Stella, my future mother-in-law and grandmother-in- law selflessly had put their sadness aside and welcomed me without pretense, just happy that Doug was happy.
Among other things, by example, my own mother taught me about the importance of family and service, and similarly, I will never forget how much fun things like making cookies or playing rummy 500 for a nickel a hand was with my grandmother, or that it was she who finally got me to understand how to tie my shoes, using a shoelace and an upside-down green cardboard fruit tray.
Some of the women I’ve listed are parents, others are not. But to me, all are due, and I thank you-Happy Mother’s Day!!