When I sit and think about all of the women who have nurtured me and raised me to be the awesome chick that I am today it does not stop with just my mother. I am a product of MANY mothers. You see, throughout my life there have been many women who have voluntarily stepped in to mentor me, to guide me, to protect me and even to just listen to me. I call this group of women my “other mothers”. None of them carried me in their womb, but each of them treated me as if they did. From Aunts, to GrandMother’s, to my friend’s mothers or just older ladies that I have worked with, there is a specific group of women that continuously let me know that my well being matters.
1. “Ms. Beverly” (An older co worker)
I was new to Atlanta and I remember one Christmas my husband and I were having hard times financially. We had a house full of kids and he had lost his job. We were SO broke that we didn’t have money for Christmas gifts for our kids. It was “Ms. Beverly” who showed up OUT OF THE BLUE with gifts for our kids on Christmas Eve. She did this without being asked because that’s what Mothers do.
2.“Aunt Shirley” (My God Mother)
To me my Aunt Shirley was the most beautiful woman that I had ever seen. She was and STILL is a go getter and a consummate business woman. Always well dressed and on the go. A female entrepreneur back in the 70’s with beauty shops, thrift shops and candy stores. She bought me my first bra and also gave me my first job. She never had children of her own but she was frequently known to take in kids and raise them if they needed it. Why? Because that’s what Mothers do
3. “Ms. McDonald” & “Ms. Ceola” (BFF Mothers)
These are the Mother’s of my best friends. (Yes the insane chicks that know the real me and still want to be friends.) GRAND DIVAs they are. Prepared at all times to advise. These ladies welcome me with open arms whenever they see me. They helped raise me by being there for me and advising me on things that I might not talk to my own mom about. “Ms. McDonald” advised me on single motherhood and responsibility when I was in my 20’s and “Ms .Ceola” advised me on marriage when I was in my 30’s. Whenever I travel to Indiana to go home I try to make them my 1st two stops. Everyone else can wait. They’ve always treated me like a daughter. Why? Because that’s what Mothers do.
4. “Maxine” (My Step Mother)
There was a difficult set of circumstances that brought me and this lady together. Namely, she was my father’s former mistress and new wife. I was 11 years old. Already angry and already bitter. To put it simple I was down right evil and I wanted nothing to do with this lady. During weekends with my father he was known to disappear and leave us alone with her. I wouldn’t speak to her. I wouldn’t eat her food. I hated her for my mother (my mom is not a hateful person by the way, but this was my way of protecting her). This lady never told my father about this behavior and continued to not just tolerate me but to treat me with nothing but kindness whenever I was in her home. Why? Because that’s what Mothers do!
5. I think about my college roommate’s mother who would also send me a care package whenever she sent one to her own daughter.
6. Or “Ms White”, my son’s grandmother who would buy gifts for all of my kids, even the ones who weren’t fathered by her son.
7. Or my “Aunt Joyce” who taught me how to DIY and NOT to depend on a man.
8. Or my beloved Granny who showed me that you must do all that you can for your children. I could go on and on… but I won’t because you get the gist.
Now that I am in my 40’s, I find myself looking after and seeing about my much younger colleagues. Yes, I will call, tweet and text them to see if they are ok. If we are working an event, I will ask them if they’ve eaten. I will offer them food if they haven’t. If they need a ride. Done. If they need to talk? All they have to do is call. I try to listen to them without judgement and just be a good and trustworthy figure to them. I try to be a good Step-Mother to my Step-sons. I encourage younger girls and boys by making sure that I tell them that they are beautiful/handsome…because I know that they will remember my words. I’m just trying to pay it forward. I am who I am not just because of my mother, but because of the many Mothers who poured themselves into me, freely and unselfishly.
Even though I may never measure up to the high standards that they have set, I try to live my life in a way that reflects my appreciation for these women. Why? Because they are all my “Other Mothers”
Who are the women the that have impacted your life besides your mother?