I have several “moms” in my life and sometimes that makes Mother’s Day a bit difficult or maybe complicated is a better word or perhaps it is both. However, what I do know is this: I would not be here, as who I am, and Whose I without each of them weaved into my life. I believe instead of an either or kind of life; I found joy that comes when you replace either-or with the AND that God puts there.
I was adopted at 13 months AND have an adopted mom who taught me to work hard, sit up straight, say please, say thank-you, honor my obligations, and tell the truth. She taught me to cook and to clean and to figure it out many things for myself rather than have someone do them for me. She made sure I was dressed for church and to never sit around when others were working. She taught me to not interrupt when others were talking, be respectful, and to do “something” when someone was hurting. She taught me to persist and to problem solve. I learned that getting dirty was ok, but going to bed that way was not. AND I love this mom.
I was also born on a winter day in December AND have a first mom who I met for a few moments then and then again when I was 24 years old. She has my eyes and my smile and we share the same stands on equality and justice and that everyone should have a voice around the table. We are fiercely independent and while some may say stubborn; we both say we are determined. She breathed into my life the love of learning and willed me to pursue higher education and inner strength and non-conformity. She, too, loved me from the moment she saw me and still does 47 years later. She gave me love of open spaces and movement. She helped me see that change is always ok and learning should never ever stop and that I can always learn from someone else’s point of view AND I love this mom.
AND I have another mom who is married to my first mom and I met her, too, when I was 24. She is kind and smart and funny. She is caring and loving and determined. She has shown me that connecting is what matters and will travel the world to be with family. She shows up when you ask. She supports and she fights to be stronger and better AND I love this mom.
I met another mom when I was 12 and she taught me how to love unconditionally. Listen endlessly. She showed me how to grow my faith and also how to grow me. She taught me to rely on the One who made me and loved me from the moment He knew I existed. She cheered me on through rough middle school years and told me I could go to college. She believed I could do anything. She also cared enough to tell me things I didn’t always want to hear. I married her son and I wound up in their family AND I love this mom.
AND I have one more mom and I don’t even know her name. She is a between mom. The mom who took the infant me from the hospital to her home knowing someday she would have to let me go. She fed me, bathed me, changed my diapers, taught me how to talk and how to trust the world. She taught me how to begin to heal from what must have been a brutal separation from my first mom and what would be another horrific separation from her as my second mom. She taught me to crawl and walk and to somehow help us both say goodbye when I was adopted at 13 months. AND I love this mom.
May this Mother’s Day begin to show us all; a whole lot more ANDs, fewer either-ors, and gigantic hearts to allow for zero fences and a billion and one bridges.
Happy Mother’s Day!