Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a wonderful, loving and supportive mother. I know this is not to be taken for granted. When I was young, I thought that everyone had a mom who was always there for them. Who supported their hopes and dreams, encouraged them to be their best self and believed that they could do anything they wanted if they put their mind to it.
As I grew older, I discovered that not everyone in this world was so fortunate. Some people lost their mothers at a very young age and had to grow up without that maternal figure. Some were estranged from their mothers or simply never felt loved by them. And some never knew their mothers at all.
I not only had a mother, I had one who supported and even encouraged my relationship with other moms growing up. I call them my "second moms"... the ones I could confide in and tell my most deepest secrets to. The ones I would sometimes share my worst fears and concerns with because I didn't want to worry my own mother. The ones who allowed me to just vent and complain because sometimes you have to vent and complain to someone outside your own family! I consider myself blessed to have these other women in my life because they all have different personalities, life experiences and perspectives and it's always helpful to hear different advice when I'm really "stuck" and don't know how to move forward.
I didn't realize until very recently how difficult it must have been for my own mother at times to see these relationships of mine blossoming. Did she think that she wasn't enough for me, I often wonder? Did she ever feel jealous because I confided something to one of those other women that I maybe didn't tell her? Because I realize now that as a mother, you want your own daughter to feel you are their everything. That they can come to you with every problem, concern, issue, and fear and you will be there for them. I certainly never thought I couldn't go to my own mother with anything I was dealing with. But I appreciated having other women in my life who loved, supported and encouraged me just like my own mother did. It felt wonderful to be loved by all of them and to have all of them rooting for me.
My own daughter is just a baby, and she splits her time between my house and her father's. My greatest fear when that happened was that my daughter wouldn't know who her mom was, since her father shares a home with another woman. I worried that she would get confused, because I wasn't with her seven days a week. If I'm perfectly honest, I didn't want her to love anyone else but me or to see anyone else in a mother role.
But as I reflect back on those special women in my life who have loved me and treated me as a daughter, I realize that what they gave me was a gift. But more importantly, what my own mother gave me is the real gift. She never made me feel guilty for having close relationships with other moms. She never felt threatened by my love for these other women. And I hope that in her heart, she always knew she was my #1. Even though we are very different people, even though we sometimes fight, even though we don't always see eye to eye, nobody will ever take her place.
So, as Mother's Day approaches, I want to salute all of the women out there who have taken someone in who is not their own daughter and made her feel loved. I want to acknowledge my own mother for her grace and generosity in supporting these important and crucial relationships in my life. And I want to release my own daughter from the binds she may feel one day that she should only be loved by me. I know that the bond she and I share is unbreakable and I wish for my precious daughter to be as lucky as I have been and have the good fortune of being loved by many women as she travels this difficult road of life... Because we can never be loved by too many people in this lifetime.
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