Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day is Not Just For Mothers

by Leann

Today is when we take time to honor one of the most important people in our lives--our mom. We all have or had one, after all. But for some of us, mom wasn't exactly of the storybook variety--all warm and loving and wonderful. I used to read about moms like that as a child and wish. Oh how I wished. But that's history. Over. My mother has been gone for 33 years.

Yet, there was a woman who made all the difference for me as I grew up--my mother's half sister. My beloved Aunt Ruth. She loved me with all her heart and I knew this for as long as I could remember. White haired early in life, pointy chin and always dressed like she was going to church. Not a hair out of place, not a ragged fingernail, not an unkind word for anyone.

My Aunt Ruth hand-painted flowers on a dresser for me, she made me a ballerina costume for Christmas that sent me over the moon with happiness. And cook? That woman could cook. She was the one who gave me a bridal shower with beautiful flowers, chocolate-dipped cookies, finger sandwiches and lots of hugs. She also was my "mother of the bride" and her husband, Uncle Bob, walked me down the aisle. My parents just couldn't make the trip from their home at the time in Brazil. Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bob carefully transported a spectacular wedding cake in their car from Niagara Falls where they lived to Syracuse where I was married. And who was my very first babysitter after my son was born? You guessed it. Aunt Ruth. She was the one who I sent flowers and cards to on Mother's Day. I miss her to this day.

I was lucky to have my aunt-mother. So very lucky. It's not always the title, but the person who made the difference that counts.

What about you? Your mom may have been the special one she should be, but for those of us not so lucky, who was your mom-not-really-your-mom?