Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I remember the first time I saw my foster son Alex. He was ten years old at the time, and he showed up at the door wearing white knee socks, shorts, and a Trailblazers basketball jersey. At the time, I was working part-time as a volunteer at a youth center. He was assigned to me that afternoon. There was something about him. I will never be able to put my finger on it exactly. But I loved him right away. And six months later when his mom went back to smoking crack and drinking, I became a foster mom to Alex and his nine-year old brother Nate.
Even though Alex and Nate went back to their families eventually, they remain my sons, and I will always be their mother. Granted, they have had several mothers now. But I am still their mother. Period. That’s how it works. If you care for something, if you love it, it becomes yours. Forever. Sure. Alex and Nate no longer live with me. And I haven’t seen them for five years. But we still love each other, and we bonded over that period in our lives when we all lived together and formed a new kind of family. A family that cared about each other. They are still mine, and I am still theirs.
This is what motherhood is. It does not matter if you love and care for a child, an animal, a garden, a home, a building, a friend, a forest, a park, or a river. If you love it and you care for it, it’s yours. If you make something better because you love it, it’s yours. Forever.
On Mother’s Day, I fear too many women are not recognized for what they love and for what they do, and they are left out of celebrating a day of caring and nurturing.
I spent Mother’s Day writing my girlfriends who have not given birth, but who are stepmothers, animals rescuers, pet owners, teachers, counselors, social workers, foster mothers, small business owners, and gardeners, and I thanked them for all they do in the world, thanked them for the support they gave me in bringing my boys into the world. They cared for me and they cared for the boys. And without these women, I would not be a mother. And so I told them: You belong to us and we belong to you. Thank you for caring. And Happy Mother’s Day.