Nearly everyone has another mother. Not the woman who raised them, bathed them, punished them, or made their birthday cake. I'm talking about the other mother. The woman who lived next door or across the street. Your best friend's mom or mom's best friend. A favorite aunt or a kind teacher who took a special interest in you. The Other Mother.
I have been very lucky and blessed to have been the beneficiary of several Other Mothers. Some have come and gone in my life (we moved a lot as I grew up), there for a particular time or purpose when I needed them. Others have been lifelong Other Mothers that are now Other Grandmothers to my children. Every one of them have taught me something about what it means to love a child and what it means to be a woman.
My Other Mothers have taught me to cook, listened to secrets, driven carpool, let me hang out in their homes, corrected my manners, indulged my strong personality, and blasted favorite Madonna songs in the car. My Other Mothers weren't perfect. They weren't a replacement for my mom. They weren't necessarily women I aspired to be, but they all loved me, looked out for me, and made me feel safe and secure.
One of my Other Mothers recently passed away. It's been 20+ years since she was a regular part of my life. I went away to college, moved across the country, got married and started a family of my own. It hasn't been until I became and adult and a mother that I really appreciated everything she did for me those four years she was my Other Mother. I'm sure I drove her up the wall and was ungrateful, taking advantage of/for granted her hospitality and generosity. In recent years, I have begun to appreciate all of the sacrifices that she made for me, on top of what she did for her own kids, family, job, and life. I am afraid I never properly thanked her for everything she did for me. I wish I had.
I hope my children are lucky enough to have Other Mothers as wonderful as mine have been. I hope that when a child I know needs anOther Mother, I'm wise enough to fill those shoes. I hope I do as good a job for them as all my Other Mothers have done for me.
Thanks to the Other Mothers out there, both mine and everyone else's. Your fingerprints and legacies will live on in our hearts and lives long after you have left us - or we have left you.