It's only a day after Mother's Day, so I figure it's okay to still be in the Mother's day mode. Especially since I just read an article titled Other Mothers.
The writer, Anne Lamott, claimed she would have "forever been a doomed and bullied girl if it hadn't been for my three Other Mothers. A lot of us had Other Mothers, who functioned collectively as an exquisite and warm shawl against the prickliness and cold of the world."
While I never worried about being a doomed and bullied girl-and I have a wonderful mother - I'm not that up till now I've ever thought about the Other Mothers who have enriched my life.
It's easy to pick one of my Other Mothers, because she was my friend's mom. Only it was more than that, because our families were friends, too. And we were together a lot as I grew up. "Come over for coffee" or "Can you all come for supper on Sunday?" was a common refrain from both sides. Ione was a great cook, and there was always plenty.
While the adults lingered over coffee at the table, we kids were off playing somewhere in the house or maybe outside in the playhouse. One night as we played dress-up and I hurried down the steep steps from the second floor of Ione's house to show my mom my lovely outfit, I tripped on my long skirt, tumbled down the stairs, and surprised both of us as I landed practically at Ione's feet in the kitchen.
Like my mom, Ione was a farm wife, the kind of steady and stable Norwegian who you could always count on for good sense as well as good food. Even when I married and had a family, I'd take my kids to her house for a visit and some of her kringla. She never gushed or openly fussed much over anyone that I know of, but she was as welcoming as a warm quilt on a cold winter night.
Ione was about the age I am now when she passed away suddenly more than 25 years ago. I still miss her.
I have had some Other Mothers, too. Some have just kind of passed through, filling a need for a while, and others have lingered-Sunday School teachers, 4H leaders, fellow writers, the local librarian, the neighbor around the section. All these mentors have left a mark. As Lamott said in her essay, "The love of these women gave me to myself in certain ways, helped me become who I am. Because they were Other Mothers, they did not have to be anxious about me. They found me delightful and thought I was a beauty."