This week, I want to give a big thank you to all the women who become our second mothers. I was lucky enough to be mentored, nurtured, and loved by many women as I was growing into a woman and mother.
The house I grew up in was on a cul-de-sace. Across the street, my godmother Mary lived with her two children. Mary gave me my first Lucky Charms and what my mother called “rubber cheese,” the Kraft individual slices wrapped in plastic.
Mary was a big woman with large burgundy glasses leftover from the 1970s and white pixie hair.
And Mary smoked. She was a real smoker with a leather case that held her Marlboros and a raspy laugh that turned into a cough when you really got her going. She kept a carton above the refrigerator. She also had a bag of a purse filled with anything anyone needed—scissors, gum, paper clips, glue, cotton balls.
And when my parents were busy or my sisters locked me out of their rooms or I was just pissed off, I’d go to Mary’s. It seems like she was always at her kitchen window, looking out to the street, ready to greet me. I would eat junk food, tell her about whatever had upset me, and then fall asleep on her couch. I don’t think I have ever napped anywhere better before or since Mary’s house. She never woke me, never rushed me. Mary never seemed to have anywhere she had to be.
She was a second mother to me. Her house was Ninja Turtles when mine was Sesame Street. She had Doritos! She talked to me like I was her equal.
I hope Mae will also have second mothers. Women she can learn different skills and ways of thinking from. Homes she can visit and feel safe and warm and loved.
So here’s to all our second mothers. Thank you for helping raise us, too. And thanks for giving our moms a break!
#tellamom today and every Tuesday. Or just share this post with your second mom(s).