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Mother’s Day is this weekend, which has got to be the most emotionally tangled day on the calendar. It touches such a tender spot in many of us, both good and bad. I want to name that and to acknowledge it, especially for those of you who are in a raw place this year.
I also want to share where I am this year. In this season of life, my main feeling about Mother’s Day is gratitude. Mother’s Day makes me feel extremely grateful, because I really lucked out in the mom department.
First there is my own mom, who is awesome. She is a stereotypical mom in the very best sense: gentle, nurturing, and believes in me to a degree that has no relationship with reality or my actual abilities.
Then, somehow, I won the lottery and acquired a fantastic mother-in-law. She is super laid back and helpful, and an AMAZING cook. Best of all, we get along great.
I know how lucky I am to have both a great mom and mother-in-law. I mean, we once went on a cruise with our moms–they even roomed together!–and NO ONE KILLED EACH OTHER. It was actually a lovely time! You don’t have to tell me how unusual and fortunate that is.
That’s why Mother’s Day always fills my heart with gratitude. I have two great moms in my life.
However, this year, I want to widen my net of thanksgiving. As excited as I am to celebrate my mom and mother-in-law, they aren’t the only “moms” in my life. There are many others, some of whom hold Hall of Fame status in my heart.
Number one on that list is Sandi, who watches Isaac three mornings a week. Sandi is basically his adopted third grandmother. She loves my son like he is her own. She pours into him, invests in him, and teaches him things I would never think to teach him myself. She also loves Jesus and is molding Isaac’s little heart in the love of the Lord.
Sandi is one of THE greatest blessings in my life. I tell her that constantly—like, to the point that she’s probably getting weirded out–but I can’t help myself. Until I had kids, I never realized what a gift it is when someone outside your family invests in your child. There are few things I value more highly than people who love my kids well, and they deserve just as much fanfare on Mother’s Day.
Earlier this week, Annie Downs wrote a blog post about celebrating the many women in our “villages” (i.e. the communities that help us to raise our kids). As a single woman, Annie pointed out that when you include singles in your family, the blessing goes both ways: “Villages are built to help those with family, and be family to those without.” She then encouraged people to celebrate ALL the mothering voices in their lives, including the single women who are so essential to the big work of mothering.
I love that idea, which is why I want to honor Sandi here. Sandi is helping me raise my kids, which is an influence without measure. I also want to honor the single women out there who are unofficial mothers and grandmothers–the ones who are intentional with our kids, the ones who love and invest and influence them. If you are an unofficial mother, a “grafted in” mother, your impact is forever. It is precious. It is one of THE greatest gifts you could give. Your time and attention and presence in our families is the greatest treasure, and I really can’t emphasize that enough.
I suspect some families are hesitant to include single people. They’re afraid single people don’t want to deal with the cray-cray of their children (and maybe some of them don’t). But I bet most single people would love to be asked. As Annie said, a village is both a help and a blessing to everyone.
So Happy Mother’s Day to all you women with mother’s hearts. All you honorary mothers and grafted in mothers. You have an important place in our families, one that deserves to be celebrated with all the bells and whistles. I honor you this Mother’s Day, and I thank God SO LOUDLY when I remember you!
Happy Mother’s Day!