When we think of mother, we think of pregnancy, raising an infant, toddler, adolescent, teenager, etc. But what about the women out there who give their time, energy and love to other peoples’ children? Teachers perform a certain type of mothering, so do nurses, nannies, and of course, aunts, older sisters, the list can go on and on. So this post is to honor two women in my life who never had children of their own, but cared for and loved me every bit as much as my biological mother.
First there was my aunt Louise (ok, she wasn’t technically my aunt, she was my mom’s first cousin, but my grandparents raised her. She and my mom grew up together like sisters, so…). She was the epitome of a Country woman. She was a school teacher (I’ve sen her teach in one and two room school houses) and she was married to a typical good ‘ol country boy. She taught me how to plant and care for vegetables so there was always plenty year round, how to clean fish and fry it up so it melts in your mouth, she taught me how to bake biscuits using real lard, and she cooked for me whenever “I” decided I was hungry, not necessarily when everyone else thought it was meal time. She also gave me the down payment for the first house I ever owned. I was honored to hold her hand while she cried for Jesus to come take her because she was tired of being sick and bed ridden, and I was the one with her when He did come for her.
Then there was my mom’s BFF and our next door neighbor, Loretta. Her parents were WWII immigrants from Italy and she was a typical Italian lady. She taught me how to start with olive oil and fresh garlic and end up with spaghetti sauce hours later (although mine never tasted like hers), she taught me how to raise beautiful flowers inside and out, how to raise Love Birds, and she was there for me in the middle of the night when I awoke extremely ill and home alone with my small toddler. She came in the dark of night, carried me to the car, drove me to the emergency room, took care of my daughter until I was released hours later, then went to buy my medicine and bring me food. Her death rocked my world. She was the one person I never considered might cross over before me and leave me here without her.
Both of these women were never pregnant nor had any children of their own. Yet they loved the same as my biological mother, they had and shared the gift of motherly love with me just like I belonged to them.
So this Mothers Day, let us also remember and honor the “other mothers” who have cared for and loved us, who have given of themselves to make better the lives of children everywhere.