Motherly Love

It’s no secret that I love my mothers. I post about both the wonderful woman who carried me into this world and raised me and the marvelous woman who joined in mothering me when her son and I became partners for life. No amount of Mother’s Day posts, no matter how heartfelt, can tell anyone who doesn’t already know it how important these two superb people have been, and will always be, in my heart and in my daily existence.

Even telling you that I had to compose this post entirely from scratch twice, thanks to the joys of hiccuping technology, and was still willing to do it, can’t convey the height and depth of my affection and respect, of my love for them both. Though, if you know how technologically inept I can be, the latter might come close.

I’m here, though, to say thanks not only to Mom W and Mom S, with sincere gratitude and delight, but also to the innumerable stars in the sheltering sky of motherhood. Those who conceived (with a bit of help) and carried (with, or without) children and raised them from infancy. Those who have raised, or helped to raise, others’ children. People of all ages and socioeconomic levels; the educated and the self-taught; the mild-mannered and the most colorful characters on earth. Nature doesn’t guarantee aptitude or attitude, nor does nurture: like many people raised by outstanding, wise, and loving mothers, I did not feel the call to motherhood as a biological imperative myself, and of course many who do are not granted the opportunity.

I think men can mother. Youth can mother age. Persons with no genetic or legal relationship can mother. Anyone with the commitment to bettering the lives of those around them who may have a moment—or a lifetime—of need may be motherly material. I think that the truism “it takes a village to raise a child” isn’t far off the mark, but might be interpreted more broadly than some would do. History has handed us so many examples of familial bonds and gifts that extend far beyond an individual marriage or household or lineage that it surprises me we don’t celebrate the motherly instinct in any and everyone who is willing and able to exercise it for the good of others in their life’s path.

So I say Thank You with my whole heart to my beloved mothers. And I must add my deep appreciation, too, to every next-door mom, teacher mom, sports team coach mom, lady at the local convenience store mom, psychiatrist mom, librarian mom, delivery truck driver mom, classmate mom, and dive bar mom who ever counseled, taught, comforted, held, humored, read to, chastised, fed, and showed patient kindness to the rest of us when the time arose. My “village” has been a grand one, and good mothering is one of the best reasons it is so.Photo: To Mothers of All Kinds