Some of the best mothers I know have never given birth to a child, haven’t adopted children, and no one will ever call them “Mom” …
I’d go so far as to say that, with maybe the exception of Mommie Dearest—who, for all I know, displayed superior motherliness with … oh, perhaps, groundhogs—I believe every woman is a mother.
If we use the word ‘mother’ interchangeably with 'nurturer’, which is what a mother is to me, maybe you’ll agree.
My dog taught me so much about being a mother. You have to be selfless to pick up poop, that’s just a fact.
It’s in our nature to take care of things, whether it be a friend, a pet, a niece or nephew. We’re wise, bossy, like to be needed, and have unfathomable endurance.
My parents talk about my grandpa taking me fishing when I was just tiny. I caught a fish, but when I saw its blood, I cried all the way home. My grandpa put the fish in the bathtub and I remember it swimming around in there. I was so happy when he took it back to the lake. Another time I saw a struggling baby squirrel. My parents (God love 'em) heard my tears and we took the squirrel home and fed it with a bottle until it was healthy enough to run wild again. Now that I know how many diseases squirrels carry I’d never do this again, but that’s beside the point. I’m also FINE with catching fish now, so apparently that little sliver of my nurturing side is gone. Also beside the point … I’d like to think I’ve grown, but…
I was 13 when my first nephew was born and while I loved to hold him when he came over, I sure was glad when I could send him home. When the second one came and was colicky, I paced the floor with him and cried while he cried. I wasn’t so sure I could ever cut it as a mom, nor did I know if I wanted to. I didn’t even necessarily like kids. I babysat a kid for a while who was not even 4 yet and he had broken his mom’s nose twice, throwing a fit. His parents would call me when they were at their wits’ end. Babysit enough kids like that and it will put you off of brats for a good long lifetime.
So I understand it when people don’t want kids. I can relate. I completely respect the fact that some people are wise enough to not have children. I’d much rather that than the alternative: a rejected child. And beyond that, there are plenty of people who would make wonderful parents and they still don’t want any kids. More power to them! I look at them enviously half of the time!
I can also relate to wanting a child so badly and not getting one. I do have two happy stories, but I also lost three babies. Besides the hormonal disaster a miscarriage creates on your mind and body, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. There are no words to properly describe the pain.
Even if I didn’t have children though, I’d still be a mom. I can’t not be, just like I can’t not write. Sorry about the double negatives, but I don’t know a better way to say it. I have some good mom moments and some really wretched ones. Love hard enough and people can forgive a whole lot, especially kids. I’m certainly no Mother Teresa, but good lord, that woman was the ultimate mother. If we could all be half as loving and giving as she was, we’d be the best moms ever.
Whatever your story—whether you have children or you don't—thank you for your part in being a mother. I celebrate all of you this Mother’s Day … this Nurturer’s Day. There’s a huge need for every single one of you in the world. If you don’t believe me, go volunteer at a middle school. Some of those kids might appear abrasive, but most will soak up any attention like a starving kitten.
Speaking of Mother Teresa, she said: If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.
Each one of us matters. Do your part and know that it counts.