Mom and I had recently had one of those conversations that a single daughter dreads having with her mother: “I’d really like to be a grandmother while I can still enjoy it,” she said. Since dating wasn’t a usual thing in my life, kids were even further out of the picture.
So, that Mother’s Day, I decided to deliver a Hallmark card to my mom in a different way.
At that time, my job was best described as acting “Mom and Manager” to about 36 college students every year. I bought them clothes, got after them about their grades and gave them travel allowances, just to name a few of the motherly roles I played in their lives. Since my “kids” were going to be giving a concert close to my hometown right before Mother’s Day, I had them hand deliver her card. That night, she got 12 instant grandkids all hugging her and asking her if she could help them pay for college! I hoped it would squelch the grandchildren discussions for at least a little while.
When I was the age of my “kids,” I projected that at 30, I would be married with a family and possibly teaching math. But God had slowly redefined family for me. My “kids” were all 18- to 22-year-old college students. And I got a new crop of them each year. They could make my day or break my heart (and still do – Facebook keeps us connected). Simultaneously, my mom was also redefining family. Over the course of many years she babysat a total of 13 kids while their moms taught school. Even in to her 80s, she never missed their birthdays and graduations. She was also a sounding board, encourager and prayer warrior to many of their parents. She prayed for years that one dad would accept Christ and become the spiritual leader his family needed. He eventually made that decision.
Both Mom and I were made richer for the relationships God put in our paths even if he had to redefine family to do so. In years since, He continues to redefine family. College students became partners in ministry and the new “kids” are often team volunteers and more high school musicians.
This Mother’s Day, I am thankful for the mom he gave me. I’m also thankful for several other “moms” in my life. So to JoAnn, Erma Lee, and Naomi, thanks for being there when I wanted to quit or just needed someone to lean on.
Who looks to you as their “other” parent? Whose life is richer because you are in their life? Don’t underestimate the impact you might make upon this and the next generation!
Happy Mother’s Day!