As Mother’s Day approaches, I am thinking not only of my own mother, gone for well over 50 years now, I am basking in the calls and attention from those I have mothered. I am thinking of my role as the “other Mother” raising a child who had a mother, but it was not me.
Bouquets to all the “other mothers” out there whose warm hearts opened wider to bring in another child. I am sharing a poem written by my stepdaughter, Sarah Christine Mock, in 2007, two years before breast cancer ended her short life. My love for her was returned with gratitude and humor in this poem, describing both her love and remembrance of the exasperating days as well. One day she asked me what she could call me, as “Mom” was her real mother so that didn’t feel right. I told her that in many families of Irish heritage like mine, the mother was fondly called “Ma”. She immediately pronounced me her “Ma”.
You are my first Ma
My first bra
My first haircut in a real salon
My first purse,
And my first time I cursed (!)
And my first lesson in forgiveness.
You are my first Summer Camp
My first apple pie
My first Broadway show
My first fight
And my first night on a Ferry Boat
You are my first cookbook
My first paper dolls
My first walk
In the Smithsonian’s halls.
You are my first Christmas of threading
Cranberries and popcorn for the tree.
You are my first sewing class (and my last)
And my first look at History
Through the looking glass.
You have been many things to me
My teacher, my friend.
Today, you are my Ma,
And that is joy without end.
Sarah Christine Mock, October 6, 2007