It’s the week of Mother’s Day, which is a surprisingly complicated holiday for it’s simple title.
You can correct me, but I honestly don’t know another day that can elicit such a variety of emotions in women- ecstatic joy for some, deep heartbreak for others, disappointment, happiness, a literal cornucopia of feelings. And I get it.
Usually Mother’s Day is specifically meant to celebrate biological/adoptive moms and grandmothers. And they deserve it! But aren’t there more “mothers” than that?
Who is a mother? Who mothers?
I watch my friend Katy be an amazing aunt to her brother’s kids. Katy mothers their little lives, alongside their amazing mom.
I watch as my friend Logan and her family invite single women in to live with them for seasons of time. Logan mothers those young women and those young women mother Logan’s kids.
One of my best friend’s daughter said to me, “you’re the best friend a five year old girl could ask for.” I’m not her mama, but I’m a mothering voice… and, apparently, the best friend a five year old girl could ask for. 🙂
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I’ve been thinking a lot about Mother’s Day and my single friends, and myself, who do not get to celebrate it. I popped on Facebook last week and asked what other people thought about the concept that it’s not just mothers who mother.
If you have time, click on those two links and read the over 70 comments. They are interesting and sweet and very telling- so many families DEEPLY love and appreciate the single women who invest in the lives of their children, and SO many singles get joy and life from spending time with families.
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It takes a village, right?
I know that was true back in the days when we were all actually living in villages, but I think it’s still true today. I see it in my own life, the way I can pop over to Luke and Heather’s house and play with the girls while Heather finishes up dinner, or how God uses Annie’s kids to remind me of how good my life is. About once a week I FaceTime with my friends in Texas and the little girls and I chat and play games while the parents get some minutes to talk like adults.
Life in a village isn’t just about helping the families.
Villages are built to help those with family
AND be family for those without.
I just wonder if this year, if Mother’s Day 2016, could be the year that you celebrate ALL the mothering voices in your village?… including the single women who aren’t mamas but have a mother’s heart, that haven’t birthed a kid, but birth joy and fun and rest in your home and in the lives of your children.
Who is she?
- Your babysitter?
- Your best friend?
- Your sister?
- Your next door neighbor?
- Your kid’s swim coach?
- Your kid’s teacher?
- The volunteer at church?
And what does it look like to celebrate her?
For my birthday this year, my favorite four year old dude drew me a picture. It’s me and a huge soccer ball (he knows me well), and my mama friend asked her son to answer a handful of questions about me. You know, one of those cute fill-in-the-blank things that every pre-school class does.
It’s super common, probably every mom has one, but I didn’t.
And it hangs in my office, proudly displayed. I love it so so much.
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In those two Facebook posts above, so many people listed ways they have celebrated or plan to celebrate the single women in their village- from sweet handwritten notes to flowers to maybe a little gift (we’ve pulled one together for you at Dayspring if that interests you). It doesn’t take much to put hope in the heart of a woman who wants to be a mom someday.
I don’t speak for every single woman and I am not the spokesperson for singleness. But please trust me when I say that for a family to notice you, love you, celebrate you as a vital part of their village? It matters far deeper than you can even know. My village does this really well for me- it has been insanely life-giving to be called “family” by kids AND parents that aren’t my biological family and to be included and celebrated in that way. I’m so so thankful.
Families have an amazing opportunity this week to offer HOPE and LOVE to single women who may feel a lack or heartache around this holiday.
So on Mother’s Day, will you please look around your village? Don’t just look up and down your family line (but definitely celebrate your mama too!). Look to the left, to the right, look all around your village for single women who are partnering with you and mothering your children alongside you.
Thank God for her, the one who stands by you and loves your littles and has the heart of a mama.
And in some small but special way, celebrate her.
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