What It Means to be a “Mom”

After reading Maria Shriver’s touching Mother’s Day tribute I began to reflect on what, exactly, “Mother’s Day” means in the year 2016. I think we could all agree that the days of June Cleaver and the nuclear family have evolved into something much more complex. Today, we have single moms, two moms, dads acting as moms, and women who don’t have children but are considered a mother to many. Regardless of how we define this relationship, the love between “mother and child” is deep and unconditional.

With this last description, I think mostly of my Aunt, Gertrude Barber. Although she never had children, she saw herself as a mother figure to hundreds of children who passed through her doors at the Barber Center. Certainly, Mother’s Day had a special meaning for her.DOC120114-12012014143523_003

Long before Ryan, my own mother always surprised me with a Mother’s Day gift because I was helping so many children. I’ve continued that tradition with Aunt Jeanne, a long-time friend and former colleague who has been Ryan’s special aunt and advocate since the day he was born.

I know we all recognize that it’s not the card or the gift that makes Mother’s Day special for each of us – it’s the love that we share with our children.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

PS – Ryan’s 2015 mother’s day poem still brings tears to my eyes! I read it each year!

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