Last Father’s day I purchased a remote control boat for my husband. His daughter is grown and married but last father’s day we had found out we were pregnant just weeks prior. We were settling in on the idea of a new baby. I wanted to bring some joy into the house to mix with the bittersweet news. The boat is now tucked away in the closet of a back bedroom. Every time I open that closet and see it sitting on a shelf, I can’t help but think about the fact that there is no cute baby boy or girl to play with it.
On Mother’s Day of last year I was pregnant. I didn’t know it yet. This year I’m not. And I’m also not a mother. I won’t ever be one in what we think of in the true definition of the word. Part of that was by circumstance. And now part of it is by choice.
But in many senses I do think of myself as a mother. Even though I won’t get any mother’s day cards, no one will bring me breakfast in bed on Sunday, and I’ll be sending out greeting cards and preparing gifts for the mothers in my life, I know that I am like a mother to many.
I married a man who raised a beautiful daughter. I’m her step mother in a technical sense, but I didn’t help raise her.
But we are great friends and we seek out one another for advice.
My two nieces bring so much joy to my life. They are full of energy and pizzazz and they are so much fun.
I love being their aunt and can’t wait to be by their side as they grow up.
Many of my best friends have beautiful children and I’ve been there to celebrate their entrances into the world. I enjoy my time spent with them (almost) as much as time spent with their mothers.
It is a gift to watch them grow and see how their mothers are shaping their personalities.
I am not a traditional mother. I’m not a mother. But I have a mothering instinct and I love providing motherly care to the precious living things in my life.
For many years after losing Kevin, I was devastated by not being a mother and not being a parent with him. As other widows with children exclaimed how they “couldn’t live without their kids” it made my life feel even more worthless. I hated knowing that I would never see Kevin’s image in another person.
But now I get to see my husband’s image in my stepdaughter and her joy and care for life, like her father’s. I get to care for other littles and pets as if they were my own. It’s going to be a bittersweet day, but I know in my heart the care I have for many living things even if they weren’t birthed from this body.