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People are often confused as to whom I’m speaking of when I talk about my mom. It’s clear in my mind, but unless I use more defining terms, it isn’t very clear to anyone else. And so they ask, “Which mom?” I am blessed to have three women in my life I call Mom, and one whom I call RoRo – she’s also mom to me.

My Mom, the one who birthed me, raised me, loved me right out of the gates….she’s Mom-Mom. We didn’t have much growing up. My Mom-Mom made sure what we did have was enough. I’m sure I complained what she did for us wasn’t good enough. Teenagers can be beasts, can’t they? She made, or taught us to make, our clothes until we could afford to buy them again. She worked full-time, but still found the time to cook, clean, and take care of us. She had (and still has) a full garden. She cheered us on in our triumphs and comforted us when life went awry. Life handed her more than her share of lemons, but she survived it all. She’s one of the strongest people I know. We’ve had our moments….we are different people. But since becoming a mother myself, I’ve truly come to appreciate and honor all my mom has done for me.

When I was 18, my parents split up. It was rough, but not completely unexpected. Six years later, my Daddy married Mom-L. She is simply awesome. I’m sure my Daddy would not still be around if it weren’t for her. She just takes care of people. She has a way of making everyone feel important, comfortable, loved. She feels deeply. When I started bleeding during my pregnancy with Big Man and was admitted to the hospital, she sent my Daddy to me. He stayed for a week, spending hours beside my hospital bed keeping me company. I will never forget the look on her face the first time she held my precious baby boy, still wired up in the NICU. She has never, ever treated any of my siblings as anything other than her own. She’s not had an easy life either, but she handles it all with grace. I want her kindness and quiet strength. She helped me learn to laugh at myself. We’ve shared adventures. I am at home when I’m in their home.

Fifteen years ago, I married K’s youngest son. From the beginning, she made me feel welcome in their home and family. She has taught me so much. I want to be like her when I grow up. She has opened her home to us twice, the first time for the 14 months leading up to our marriage, and six months after, then again for eight more months – that time, with two toddlers in tow – while we waited for our current home to be built. She entertains graciously and with everything perfect down to the last detail. She inspires me to be a better mom to my babies just watching how she is with them. My children love their Bella! I love her too. She’s been there, right by  my side, through some of the most difficult and most amazing moments of my married life….when I was in the hospital, the day Big Man was born, the day we brought him home, the day Little Man was born, as the kids have played sports, earned awards, showcased their talents. We’ve cried, laughed, endured, celebrated, cheered together. Trust me, I know how blessed I am to have a mother-in-law I actually like, much less love.

My mom-mom has worked nearly all my life. When I was six weeks old, she had to put me in the care of another while she worked. That person is my RoRo. God blessed our family with that woman. She never married, nor had children of her own, but through the daycare she ran for years in her home, she has touched so many lives, helped raise so many children. I was at home in her home. So many of my childhood memories involve her, her home, the other kids she took care of. Every Sunday until we moved when I was 10, she would pick me, my brother and sister up, and take us to Sunday School and church. Every Summer, she took us to Vacation Bible School. She helped teach us to read. She took us on the train to San Francisco. She gave me a love for pasta, books, the Beatles, and movies. I remember riding in her car through San Jose, windows down, music up loud. From her, I have learned so much how to live even when life seems to suck. She has survived much, and yet continues on, ever thanking God, ever giving to others.

Four strong women have the moniker of mom in my life. I honor them this Sunday, and always. They’ve taught me much. I hope my children will someday say some of the same things of me as I say of them. Happy Mother’s Day!

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