Although my mom is amazing (see my Mother’s Day blog) I feel the need to give a shout out to the other important “Mom’s” in my life because who says the only Mom you have is the one who gives birth to you?
From the day I was born my Auntie Verna has been a constant in my life. My mom and Aunt had kids right in line with each other (pretty ideal for all of us cousins) and we all grew up within walking distance of each other. My fist sleep over was at her house, she always made us take 3 bits of everything on our plate (even if it was nasty canned green beans smothered in cream cheese) and she punished me just like a mother would (hello wooden paddle that sits on the ledge of the wall just taunting us). My Auntie Verna is the next best thing when my own mom isn’t there to comfort me. I know I can rely on her for anything and is the first to step up when I need an extra pair of arms around me.
My best friend Krystal’s family took a chance on me when we were in High School, inviting a girl they knew little about to tag along with their family to Hawaii for a vacation. I am not sure if they decided to keep me around of if I just refused to leave, but Cheryl (K’s Mom) took me under her wing and never let go. Over the years I know she grown to love me as much I as love her. On occasion she refers to me as one of her kids, and to be honest, it has never crossed my mind to correct her. Even Cheryl’s parents have accepted me as one of theirs. I visit them every summer on their amazing homestead and when they make their way into town I am part of the family time, Christmas celebrations and birthday dinners.
When I was in high school there was this woman at church Monica, or Momica as we loving called her while she was our fill in mom during mission trips. Monica to this day is one of the most important non family members in my life. She successfully raised 3 fantastic boys, is so talented in the world of weaving/ textile art and always has a listening ear to offer. During my teen years, Monica was a person I could go to when I needed motherly advise and didn’t want to go to my family. If I am going to be honest at 27 years old, she is still someone I turn to. Over the years we have developed a beautiful friendship, deeply rooted in faith, love and tons of fun. From slinging mud together in Mexico to teaching me how to use a sewing machine, she is so much more to me than I think she will ever know.
Maybe the most unconventional mom figures in my life are my older sister Nora and my cousin Stephanie. Although I wouldn’t say I was raised by them, they had a huge role in making me the person I am today. As a child Steph (or Sissy as I like to call her) made sure we were dressed properly (and by properly I mean, she dressed me, my sister Tray, my cousin Mel and my cousin Val all similarly), hair pinned pack in a side pony and was the leader of the pack when all of us kids were together. She was one of my first babysitters and as we grew older, someone to look up to as she started her own beautiful family. My sister on the other hand didn’t dress me, or fix my hair. No, my sister taught me how to punch someone, introduced me to the best of 90’s R&B and paved the way as a successful career woman. She was the first in our family to graduate college, traveled the world and carved out a path for the rest of us close on her heels. She is the one I confide in, the one I go to for life advise and the fist one I call when I am excited about something. Although Nora has a tough exterior, she is the one who talks me down when I get wrapped up in a problem, shares in my joys and helps me learn from my failures. She may not be my mom, but one day she will be a great one, after all she learned from the best.
Being a mom is so much more than having a child. It takes patience, kindness, discipline but above all else, it takes love. If your “Mom” is a grandma, auntie, family friend, dad or just someone who took time to invest in you, be sure you tell them how much you appreciate them.
Don’t forget to show your “Mom” you love her not only for Mother’s Day, but every chance you get.