For a lotta years, I was a single mom to my Junior Tribe Members. There wasn’t always enough of me to go around with the driving and cooking and working and supporting and talking and cleaning and all the other things that all mothers do every day.
One of my JTM was on a team with his best friend, B. They worked on projects together at school, and hung out with the same group of pals. They were good for each other. And B lived closer to the centre of all the action than we did.
B’s mom would pick them up from school and give them supper until the 5:30 practice when I couldn’t get there. When they had a project due at school the next day, my JTM would go to B’s house and they would work on it until bedtime, and my JTM would hop up on the top bunk which had his set of sheets on it to sleep, and she would make his lunch and drive them to school the next day.
B’s mom was a mom to my JTM when there wasn’t enough of me to go around. When I was off tending to other mothering duties and couldn’t be in two places at once, she filled the gap. And not just “good enough”, but lovingly.
My child became her child.
I will always, always be grateful to B’s mom for the mothering she gave to my JTM.
She is my child’s “other mother”.
When she and I went out West last fall to watch my child play college sport, she wore the “I’m a proud parent” shirt too.
Cuz she is.
When I started dating this winter and it got serious, and my now-husband asked for my JTM’s blessing, B piped in with his blessing, too. After all, I’m his other mother, and he wanted to weigh in on the decision–it was only natural. B had his own cereal at our house for when he came over on the weekend. I care about that boy.
Mothering is not a biological relation.
I have often given Mother’s Day cards to folks who have mothered me that have no biological relation to me. However, they have mothered me…been present with me, gotten to know and love me, have listened to my stories and let me know that my struggles aren’t uniquely awful. They have encouraged me, and shared their own stories of how they got through their own dark days.
Mothering is a relationship of connection and nurture.
Biology is inconsequential, I think, to mothering.
Sometimes, “Mom” is spelled: “m-e-n-t-o-r” or “f-r-i-e-n-d” or “g-r-a-n-d-m-a” or “a-u-n-t” or “t-e-a-c-h-e-r”, or even, “d-a-d”.
Mothering types come in all shapes and sizes and even genders. The tender, nurturing and caring that we as human beings need can come from the person who nurtures and cares.
For many, that’s a mother. For many others, when I ask who took care of their hearts, they identify someone else who mothered them.
Who mothered you? Who nurtured and cared for you? Did you have multiple mothering figures in your life?
I planned yesterday to write about my gratitude for the mothering that B’s mom provided to my JTM over the years.
I’m grateful that he was nurtured and cared for by another woman who is mother to him by relationship, not biology.
I love how blessed he was to have someone whom he could call mom when he was on the other side of the city. How blessed am I to have her son as someone who feels he also belongs to me?
I wanted to celebrate B’s mom in this blog.
This morning, I got a text from B’s mom.
B’s mom’s own mom died this morning.
She will have her first Mother’s Day this year without her mother. B’s mom had a mother who was a mama bear to her…she loved fiercely and protectively. Her laugh was big, and only eclipsed by her love for her children (…and possibly for A & W’s onion rings.) B’s mom was nurtured and cared for by her mother.
B’s mom has lost her mother, but I know that she is not yet done being mothered. The women in her village will care for and nurture her and her sisters in the coming days.
We will surround her and care for her, cuz mothering is in our bones.
When we see a child of 5 or 50 hurting, we hug and hold, listen and love.
That’s what we mothering types do. We are all mothering types…it’s in our DNA to love and be loved.
Who will you mother today? Who have you already mothered?