Being a mom has nothing to do with having birthed a child. The same can be said about being a father. There are women and men that have children together, and they are not mothers or fathers. Being a mother or father is something that you already are, whether you’ve had children or not; however, having children or having someone dependent on you to be that mother or father figure brings out what has already been in you.
I think back to when I was a member at a Bally Total Fitness that was in the next town over. There was a young man that was a personal trainer named William. I scheduled a free personal training session with William and enjoyed that time. If I could have, I would have hired him to be my personal trainer because we had a great chemistry; we got on right away. At the end of it, I remember this thought passing through my head: “He’d be a great father someday.” Now William wasn’t much younger or older than me at the time, but I saw something in him that said “father”. Being a father isn’t something that you become; it’s something you already are.
Likewise, I have a friend Katie that is finally with child after quite a wait. I remember her venting to me with frustrations about not having her own children, and how she would wonder if it would happen. Needless to say, I was overjoyed to the point of tears when she made that announcement.
Katie is younger than me, and has been a mother for as long as I’ve known her, well before she married her husband and became pregnant. She has dutifully raised her nieces, who look to her as their mother, and love being with and around their “Aunt Katie”. When she lived in an apartment, she helped a grandmother that lived down the hall with two of her granddaughters. Even in those times when she was wanting her own children and didn’t know if that would happen, she availed herself to those that needed the care and nurturing of a mother; after all, that’s what she has always been.
Mother’s Day is coming up, and when people would wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day” in church, my heart would drop to my feet and shatter. I would cry uncontrollably because I wanted to be a mother and had no children to show for it. Now I understand why people were doing it; just as I saw a mothering spirit in Katie and in other women that I know (even before they had children), they must see it in me.
They can see who I am, and what I always was.
I can’t promise that I won’t cry this Mother’s Day, but I must remind myself that being a mother has nothing to do with having birthed children. Rather, it has everything to do with having the spirit of a mother. When I think back on it, I’ve been doing this since I was in high school with my friends. They didn’t take it well, but a mom has always been in me. I was much rougher then and could have stood to not be so brash with my words, but I bore no intentions of being mean. I said certain things because I cared about my friends, and wanted what was best for them. Just like any good mother would.
Happy Mother’s Day to all my childless mothers. Your influence can still leave a legacy for children that need a mother like you.