Mother -- A woman who conceives, gives birth to, and raises a child.
Mother’s Day was a holiday I used to dread. I used to see and hear about all of my friends’ days with their mothers—their blood mothers. On social media, posts about how “Mom has been number 1 since day 1” made me happy, yet they made me sad. It made me happy seeing how happy everyone was with their mothers. The genuine smiles in their pictures made me feel warm inside; however, it made me feel more down than on most days. Why? Seeing those relationships made me jealous—I wanted that, so badly.
For the last 19 years, I haven’t had my blood mother in my life. Other people, both men and women, assumed a motherly role they didn’t have to take on. From my father, step-mothers, grandmothers, my friends’ moms or close relatives, I could never find full satisfaction with my situation—especially on Mother’s Day. I desperately craved this mother-daughter relationship that couldn’t be broken. For the longest time, I believed birth was the true binder between a mother and child. Mothers who describe their pregnancy say that the bond that develops during pregnancy is one that cannot be felt with anyone else. Since there was no possible way to obtain this relationship, I beat myself up over it. When I went to my friends’ houses and saw how their mother and them were so close, it tore me up on the inside. I was so happy to see that there was a happy family, but as I said earlier—I didn’t have what they had. I accepted my situation, but I didn’t approve. I never showed it, though. I continued wishing women who were important in my life a happy Mother’s Day and let them know how much I appreciated them.
Recently, however; I have come to a realization about motherly relationships. I am currently in one of the most important phases of my life that basically dictates my future. Stress is almost overbearing while reality gives me slaps in the face daily. The age I’m at right now requires a lot of support, love and encouragement to get by. These are the things that most people get from their mothers, and what some get from other figures. With that being said, I realized this—Maternity does not determine a motherly relationship; unconditional love does.
I have made countless mistakes, stupid decisions, and been selfish on multiple occasions. I have done things I am not proud of. However, the women who supported me most were the ones who didn’t even give birth to me. After everything I have been through, these women were not critical. They were compassionate and provided me the guidance I needed to persevere through my situations. No matter how many errors or successes that followed, they still had my back. They expressed love to me like a birth mother would do to their child. When I faced hardships, they were the ones to tell me everything I needed to hear—things that need to be heard from a mother’s perspective. (No offense, dads.) No matter what I have done or said, they never failed to acknowledge the good qualities I possess. To this day, they still support me in all of my decisions and are a part of both my successes and failures.
Therefore, it’s hard for me to agree with the definition of “mother” at the beginning of this article. It says “by birth,” however, if my own birth mother can abandon me, that shows that a mother is not determined by maternity. The women who play motherly roles in my life did not give birth to me and had a choice to have a relationship with me—and they chose to. They invested so much time and effort into me—sadly, I have to admit I can be a difficult person to handle at times. Since these women stuck by my side knowing my flaws, that shows that mothers are truly defined by unconditional love—this unconditional love.
To those who are blessed to have amazing relationships with their blood mothers, never take that for granted. Don’t get me wrong; blood bonds most definitely exist. I’m saying that they aren’t required for a successful motherly relationship. To those who don’t have their blood mothers in their life for whatever reasons, don’t take for granted the women who try to be motherly figures. It’s difficult not having that blood bond sometimes -- I completely understand. In some cases, it can leave someone feeling broken, abandoned, or gloomy. Those women who try to be mothers to you want to heal you. That’s what mothers do, so embrace that blessing in your life. I get it won't be the same, but I promise you it will still be great.
To whoever your "mother" may be -- your birth mom, grandmother, step-mother, aunt, sister, friend, friends' moms or a close family friend, I want you to squeeze them tight the next time you see them. At some point, I want you to tell them you appreciate everything. Tell them everything -- how great they can cook, clean, give advice, shop, joke around, wipe your tears and be there for you through it all. These amazing women deserve to know they're amazing, and it would mean the world to them to know how great they really are. After all, everyone needs a mother of some sort. Vice versa, you're their child in their eyes. Don't forget -- they need you just as much as you need them.
One day, I can't wait to be at least half the woman that these women are for us. I can't wait to nurture someone and provide them the love and affection that was provided to me. To all the mothers out there, we thank and love you.