When I’m playing around at my laptop, I have this weird habit of looking up words that I already know the definitions of. It’s interesting to see the official meanings of words and how they change as society evolves and we change our behavior and views of the world. So, as I was thinking of Mother’s Day and how to pay tribute to the women who cared for me, I checked the definition of “mother.”
Funny enough, Merriam-Webster has multiple definitions for the word mother. There’s the noun defined as ‘a female parent.’ There’s the adjective, which means ‘relating to or being a mother or bearing the relation of a mother.’ Then there’s the verb, which means ‘to give birth to, to give rise to or protect like a mother.’
We all know you can only have one mother—the noun. My mother is Jena. She gave birth to me, played referee in way too many fights between my sister and I, and made sure I reached adulthood in one piece. My mom now believes she can follow my life in real time on social media, so she’s taught herself to use Instagram at the tender age of 73. She’s the first woman in my life. And as I walk down memory lane, I realize that in addition to giving me life, through my mother I’ve had so many other women who helped raise me and produce the human I am today. That’s the definition of mother as a verb.
The following isn’t a list of everyone, but some honorable and light-hearted mentions of how I always will remember these dynamic women:
There’s my mom’s sister, Aunt Jeanne, who used to live with my family when I was a little girl. I think she was partly responsible for encouraging my mischievous personality and some creative writing. She was single when she lived with us, so I used to pretend to write her letters from a secret admirer. I even left the letters in the mailbox to make it seem more authentic. She always knew it was me, but I know deep inside she got a kick out of it because she never told me to stop.
Then there’s my firm yet sweet Aunt Eloise. She would lovingly torture me as a young girl when I would stay with her by placing my glass of soda in the middle of the table where I couldn’t reach it until I ate everything on my plate. I don’t even drink soda anymore, which makes me think that was her plan all along—to get me to stop. I might have also learned to be more patient and less greedy at the same time.
Grandmommy Jessie taught me the importance of sisterhood with her ties to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She was already a teacher by profession, so she taught me a lot. But besides being Grandmommy, we were sorors. When I crossed, she sent me a box of her paraphernalia that was just notebooks and knickknacks. Nothing expensive but a valuable lesson about passing on tradition.
And trust me, my Auntie Sharon—one of my mom’s other sisters—is reading this like a hawk, waiting for her name. She also lived with us when I was a young girl. She was often my babysitter who always told me “No,” but I didn’t listen. I thank her for nurturing the rebel in me because, to this day, I still don’t listen to her or my mother, and it drives them crazy.
To all the women in my life, I love you and thank you for all of your mothering!
Who are the other mothers in your life? Give them a shout-out in the comments!Leave a Comment