I am a barren woman. Wow, that sounds dramatic & maudlin, right. But, it is just a fact. For whatever reason, I was not blessed to bear children of my own. Don't worry I'm over the regret, the yearn, the feeling like an incomplete female thing that you would guess comes with 'barreness'. I've truly reconciled with my fate. I've also accepted that every year on the 2nd Sunday in May, no gifts or cards will be coming my way. It's a day of giving for me, but not receiving...and that's okay. So you can imagine my surprise at being the recipient of several homemade cards, poems and words of appreciation this past Mother's Day.
I've truly enjoyed being an Aunt to my sister's & brother's children. My state of being as freed me up to be available to my siblings in caring for their children at some of their most precious moments of family life. My time with them as allowed me to use my own mothering gifts to support them at crucial occasions. Like the magical time I spent with my sister's oldest, the day after she was born. She was bottle-fed and we spent the whole night together. I got to feed her, watch her little personality emerge even then, I sang her silly songs and soothed her gas-filled belly; while my sister got some much needed rest. Another time, I helped to ease her frightened toddler heart when her Mom was in the hospital giving birth to her baby sister. I bought her, her own practice baby sister and talked in toddler-speak to help prepare her to meet baby, Hannah. I had the awesome opportunity to spend time as baby-sitter for my brother's oldest daughter Gracie (I even had a small role in naming her). Gracie & I had many wonderous moments of play-time, especially when Care Bears ruled the day. And, don't even get me started on my nephew, Ethan, the lady-killer who strangely worships the ground I walk on (sorry I don't get to spend more time with all of them).
All these wonderful beings celebrated me on Mother's Day. Without a prompting from their parents they made cards & poems (which is fabulous for me being a poet myself) and I've never felt so loved. Along with them I got messages of love from some of my spiritual daughters, that I've mentored this past year. My favorite comment came from Samone, a beautiful Mother in her own right, who wished me a Happy Mother's Day and when I replied, "I'm not a Mother," she simply retorted, "Oh yes YOU ARE!"
I think the moral of this story for me is this: all women have been gifted, in various ways, to nuture, disciple & help raise our fellow humans. Some of us are blessed to give birth to them, some through family relations and others by walking alongside the orphans of the world. In whatever way it comes, the gift of motherhood is a powerful & enriching role for all of us who choose to live it out.
As for me, I'm satisfied that for my 10 year old niece, Hannah, I am her Aunt and as she wrote, "there's no other one I want to take your place/not out of the whole outerspace." Quite a distinction indeed!