Saturday, May 12, 2007

Other Mothers

I write a fair amount about my outrageously fabulous Mom here (bless her memory), so I'd like to use some space today to talk about my two "other Moms" - two women who had substantial roles in my upbringing , and who were welcomed by my Mom as lovely additions to my life.

The first was Leona D., the mother of my best friend. Leona passed away over 20 years ago, but her presence is vibrant in memory. She was a force of nature. She had been raised on a farm, and had all the practical earthiness to go with it. When my overprotective Mom did not want me to have a two wheel bicycle because she was afraid I would get hurt in traffic, it was Leona D. who taught me how to ride one in secret. I was so afraid that my Mom would be upset, but Mrs. D said, "*I* will deal with your Mother." And so she did -- my Mom would get a stubborn streak on that no one could break -- except Mrs D. Within days of her visit to my mother, I had my very own aqua two wheel Columbia bike. It was Mrs D who put a copy of the biography of Margaret Sanger into my hands when I was 14. Her daughter Sandy was and is my best friend. We met at age 5, and recently celebrated 52 years of friendship. In our growing-up years our mothers were interchangeable. Mrs D taught me about courage and taught me the joy that can be found in being shockingly honest at just the right moment. She was feisty on the outside and soft as satin on the inside. She noticed what my Mom might have missed or couldn't do. And her heart was deep as an ocean and just as strong. Woe betide anyone who crossed her beloved family. She always made me feel welcomed, loved, safe and of worth.

Then there was Barbara B, my high school English teacher and dear friend. We kept in touch until she died -- two weeks after my mother did. Attending her funeral was agony, but I would not have missed the chance to honor her. She saw the writer in me and nurtured that - showed me resources that my Mom didn't know, cultivated my love of reading, my passion for language, my love of wit. There was a small group of us -- the nerdy, brainy English-major types -- that used to visit her home up in the country where we would be treated as family -- for many years after high school. When a high school friend of mine from that nerdy gang had gone on to college and had a falling out with his (alcoholic) family, Barbara and her husband Larry took him in. That was where Marty went on holidays and over the summers. She was just that kind of gal.

And, bless her, my own Mom, who knew that all kids need a few extra adults in their lives to round out their upbringing.

So here is to The Nurturers in our lives, the ones who step up to love a child or for that matter an adult -- at just the right time, with just the right idea. Whether its taking off our training wheels or introducing us to Winnie the Pooh -- they make our lives richer, more whole, happier. Bless them all.


Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

beautiful - and anyone who makes an introduction to pooh bear should indeed be blessed

2:42 AM  
Blogger Jayne said...

Indeed, they should! And blessings to you this day Mata... what a mother you are to so many. :c)

6:36 AM  
Anonymous songbird said...

Having personally known your wonderful mom, I can only say, she was there when I needed her, was always there when I needed her and every now and then she would write to me and say "we who have been neglected still love you" God has Blessed Francis D. and all who had the priviledge to know her.

12:01 AM  

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